Mom wanted to try Nada on Friday for our weekly happy hour dinner. I’ve been there twice now, but it was her and David’s first visit. We came in at 5:15 and though the bar was packed, we did not have a problem getting a table. Everything started picking up around 7, when I saw everyone from families with children to diners on their way to a show filling up the tables.
The view from our table
Mom and I chatted and waited for David to get there after I ran around taking pictures. I’m getting a lot less shy about it.
A section of Nada's floor is clear. Not sure how that works out sometimes--The hostess kept walking over it wearing a very stylish black dress.
Supergirl is crying because she has to watch people eat delicious food all day
I looked over the drink menu and chose the Sangria Blanco, with white wine, triple sec, peach, apple and grape Juices. ($7.00) I try and avoid tequila at all costs, it usually ends badly. I thought the Sangria was very tasty.
Our drink server recommended a Caipirinha ($8.00), a simple drink with muddled limes, Cachaca 51 and raw sugar. My mom really liked hers—she had two.
As an appetizer to share, we chose the Queso Fundido ($7.00), with Choriso, Rajas, pickled onion and Chihuahua and Jack cheeses.
Queso Fundido is served with soft flour tortillas, and I imagine the most common way to eat this appetizer is to make a mini queso fundido burrito.
No so for us, though. My Mom is gluten intolerant, so flour tortillas are a no-no. Not a problem for Nada. They have both corn tortillas and corn chips. We got the corn chips, and I really liked them with the Fundido—so much, in fact, that I ignored the flour tortillas entirely. David ate them, though.
David ordered a Suprema Margarita ($14.00) and picked out his entrée. He wanted to try the Sopes— Masa Boats, Short Ribs, Cotija Cheese and Pickled Onions.
The rest of us were a little unsure about what we wanted to order. I was leaning toward the Sliders, but the Crispy pork belly tacos also looked delicious. Our server, Jennifer, was very knowledgeable about the menu—she had some great recommendations and was always able to answer our questions. I was tempted to try the Mexican Mac N Cheese ($8.00) with roasted poblano, but that will have to wait until next time.
Jennifer gets an A++ from us
I had the Nada sliders ($9.00) my first visit. Nada sliders include ground tenderloin, steamed onions, queso and jalapeño —I remembered they were very good. Of course, I’d been drinking at the bar for a few hours with some friends from work, so that may have effected my perception. I decided to get them again to test them out. Consistency is important.
I chose a Mojito, ($8.00) for my second drink, which had just the right amount of mint in it.
My mom was eyeing the Cazuela, including pork green chile, chicken and braised lamb shoulder. We decided to go with a sampler including all three ($26.00). All are served over poblano rice. They are kind of like little Mexican meat stews.
Mom contemplating the Cazuela
We placed our dinner order and resumed looking at the menu. I think Nada has created a nice Mexican fusion menu combining unusual ingredients, such as pork belly, with more traditional and familiar fare, such as tacos. There are lots of vegetarian options on the menu, including salads and vegetarian tacos, macaroni and cheese, chips and salsa. Each dish has a variety of interesting ingredients the complement each other, but not so much that it is overwhelming.
David enjoyed his Sopes, I tried them and liked them as well. I also liked my Nada sliders—they were as good as I remembered. The Cazuela’s were an excellent choice. We all concurred that we liked the Pork Green Chile, made with with Roasted Chiles and Salsa Verde, the best. It was followed by the Chicken, prepared with Spicy Tomato, and then the Lamb, with Mint and Oregano.
We had an unexpected visitor—a mysterious man in a suit stopped by to ensure that we were enjoying our dinner. We were, immensely. Jennifer had asked earlier what all the pictures were for and I told her about Cincinnati Nomerati—so it was either that or the fact that I was still taking a lot of pictures that tipped him off.
He said he read all the food blogs. I’m not sure if he was a manager or someone else. He politely declined a picture. Before I could tell him how nice our server was, he disappeared. My Mom really got a kick out of it. Blogging has really exploded in the past few years, and I’m starting to realize what a nice food blogging scene Cincinnati has. With Urban Spoon taking off the way it has, user and blog reviews of restaurants are becoming even more important.
David and I talked about it on the ride home. 5 years ago, if a server had walked back to the manager and said that they had a blogger, they probably would be asked if they needed a mop.
From what I’ve read of Nada and Boca, the service there is usually exceptional. Our visit was nothing less. I was very impressed by the attention and attitude of all the people we encountered on Friday.
The damage for our wonderful dinner was about 112.00. I don’t think that is unreasonable. When you go to Nada, you’re not just going for the food—you’re going for the service and atmosphere as well. Bad service and a bad atmosphere can bring down the best of restaurants.
Well done, Nada. I’ll be back for the Mac N Cheese.