Holiday shoppers are in countdown mode and as that shopping window gets narrower, the stress level rises. No, we can’t tell you where to find the best “ugly sweater” for your Uncle Bob or that special Star Wars Lego set for your little boy. But we do know a terrific place where you can duck in, eat, drink, and temporarily escape the mad scramble for gifts: Nordstrom Grill, in Nashville’s Green Hills Mall.

Yep, the famed department store has a surprisingly top-notch eatery on its lower level, guided by a creative chef. Florida native Shawney Severns came on board the Nordstrom team in 2014, and assumed the position of executive chef of the Nashville restaurant two years later, when it rebooted.

The menu is a meld of contemporary American dishes, fair in price and long on comfort. There’s also a full bar, with a promising selection of craft brews on tap, so you’ve got more than good eats to take the edge off.

Start with the short rib sliders. Prepared in a black pepper-honey braise, the meat is juicy and satisfying, and comes stacked on small brioche buns with white cheddar and roasted garlic aioli. Severns adds a wee pile of frisee dressed in Dijon vinaigrette to the plate, which she encourages you to add to each slider. Indeed, that bit of salad adds welcome texture and bright, bitter crunch.

Or, maybe you want one big sandwich. Get the Crispy Chicken. With twelve herbs and spices in the batter, and brushed with a honey chipotle glaze, the breast fillet packs both heat and flavor—distinctly different from Nashville Hot chicken. The apple slaw, a rustic chop of Granny Smiths and red onion, accompanies the sandwich, along with your choice of a side. Want fries? Get ‘em here—hot, crisp, and sprinkled with herbal salt (parsley and rosemary.) Even better—ask for the sweet potato fries, which were accidentally omitted from the menu, but always available: they are some of the best we’ve had.

For a substantial entrée, we love the Halibut and Chips. The fresh, sustainably sourced fish is cut into meaty planks, and dipped in an ale-laced batter before frying. With fries, slaw, housemade tartar sauce and a pint of Tennessee Brew Works’ Southern Wit, you’ll be fortified for the next round of gift-seeking. Or, post-Christmas, the dreaded gift-returns!

Nancy Vienneau is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee.