Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sweet Nectar

We'd been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Nectar. I first heard about the restaurant through a friend currently enrolled in the Culinary program at the Midwest Culinary Institute. Excited to hear that it would be opening on New Year's Eve, I kept a watchful eye on the location but was disappointed when nothing new came on the scene. Soon enough though, the dumpster went out front (strangely closer to Millions than I'd anticipated) and the paper on the windows and paint indicated some activity inside the tiny store front. When I finally read that the restaurant was opening, I couldn't wait to try it and put it at the top of my list. With a great location and great chef, I knew this restaurant had much promise.

The night we were there the restaurant fit the bill perfectly. Having worked far too much at my day job in advertising, both my husband and I were in desperate need of both some alone time together and some nourishment beyond pizza and Rice Krispie treats. After one glass of wine on our porch, we decided it was the perfect evening to try out a new restaurant. Nectar was full of other patrons, but not to the point that it was overflowing or that we had to wait for a table. Our service was prompt and cheerful, and I was delighted to see that though the wine selection was limited, every offering was available both by the glass and in full bottles. The warm rolls and marinated olives quickly disappeared from our tabletop and I had to use every ounce of willpower to refuse seconds.

I began with the bibb lettuce salad, a starter I chose largely for the salty, crunchy marcona almonds mentioned in the description. The dish did not disappoint, with a very well-balanced, not too acidic vinaigrette and just the right amount of seasoning. For my entree I chose the healthier-sounding escolar, served on a bed of le puy lentils. The dish was rich and flavorful and the fish was seared to perfection--crispy on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside.

We were enjoying everything so much that there was no way we could pass up dessert. To be extra indulgent, we chose the cheese course and a fried banana concoction, not to mention dessert wine, which we hardly needed after 2 other glasses of a yummy, crispy white wine. The cheese course gets especially high marks for its the presentation complete with membrillo (quince paste) and Fourme d'Ambert , which we recently learned about on Bravo's Top Chef. Is there any better way to end a meal than cheese?

The decor is a bit stark and lacks personality. Some wall hangings could help to really cut down the ambient noise for a more pleasant dining experience to match the refined food. This is really a minor criticism to an overwhelmingly positive special night out.

The damage: about $70 per person, for three courses each plus 3 glasses of wine each.

Watch out for: it's loud in here. Also, there is no bar or waiting area, so call ahead and make a reservation .

Food: 3.5 out of 5 forks

Romance: 2 out of 5 kisses (it's so close in here there's not much privacy, but the lighting and atmosphere are nice).

1000 Delta
Mt. Lookout
(513) 929-0525

1 comment:

Julie W said...

I recently went to Nectar also and quite enjoyed my meal. Although expensive, quite delicvious. We had the scallops appetizer and then shared the beef and the risotto cake entrees, and of course a niced bottle of crisp white that I can't remember the name of.

Long live the bloggers!