out at nada

I cannot tell you how many times I have played the top five game. Name your top five favorite pizzas. Top five favorite beers. Top five favorite brunches. And then there is the ever-evolving top five favorite restaurants. And even though that last list can tweak and change, I can tell you how many times Nada makes it for me. The answer is every time.

And because Nada is one of my favs, I was beyond excited to receive an invitation to make a date and experience it in an inviting new way. With that, Kenny and I made plans with some dear friends (sup Kramer and Kel!) to put ourselves in Nada’s hands. We wanted to show up, sit down, and have them take it from there. Because we love everything, and trust anything that comes from that kitchen, we knew this would be an absolute blast.

Now before I get into the bragging about the food, I need to do a quick rundown of the libations. I think Rachel – our amazingly unreal server – made it her personal mission to make sure every different kind of margarita made its way to our table at some point. We went from Nadaritas to Supremas to Cerveza Palomas. There were also Chili Mango Margs and Aqua de Rosas and that evening’s special, the Batista. I thought the sheer mixing of margaritas would surely put me six feet under, but I wasn’t in as bad of shape as I thought I’d be come next morning. Again, I went in for the experience, laying myself at the feet of the alter, so a night of tacos with an onslaught of ‘ritas is the only way it could have gone. I am just glad I lived to tell the tale.

As the show began, we were served the staple O.G. Guacamole and a trio of salsas. Nada’s guac puts guac on the map, and while I’ve had the salsas before, I didn’t realize how much I would like the habanero “kreeper” one. The sneaky kick of that one was very manageable and I liked it so much because it just tasted so refreshingly fresh, like the green vibrancy was flavor enough. It was killer.

The pre-appeteaser was followed by another appetizer round of Nada’s Mac and Cheese and Tinga Quesadillas. Like the guacamole, the mac and cheese is quite the O.G., with roasted poblanos and jalapeños, so I was happy to have it make its way to our spread. The Tinga Quesadilla was a new one to me, with chicken, chorizo, ancho chile, pico de gallo, pickled red onion, chihuahua cheese, and crema. This one had all the right combinations and touches, making it stand out as some serious mexi soul food.

We were then served the Sweet Chili Glazed Nada Fries, which hit a savory-sweet note that never fails to satisfy. This was paired with the Mexican Poutine, a combination of crispy red potatoes, barbacoa, charred tomato salsa, scallions, and cheese sauce, all topped with a fried egg. As I’ve mentioned before, if something is finished with a fried egg, I am going to be interested and all in. Check yes for both those points with this one.

Our main course was, of course, tacos. Rachel delivered me my absolute favorite (Hongos – balsamic grilled mushrooms + guacamole + black bean purée + chihuahua cheese + poblano rice + pico de gallo) and then treated us to the Grilled Salmon (chipotle crema + jalapeño corn pico + cilantro) and the always classic Al Pastor (chili-marinated pork + white onion + cilantro + pickled pineapple). Even though I’ve never not ordered the Hongos while dining at Nada, it is safe to say the Al Pastor gave my most favorite a run for its money. The sweet of the pineapple with the spice of the chili-marinaded pork was just so dang delicious. I might have a new mistress at Nada…

And then even after all that indulging, we all, somehow, miraculously had room for dessert. There was the Caramelized Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, with red berries and sorbet, as well as the Warm Chocolate Tarte, with bananas foster gelato and salted caramel. Both were sweet and dense and creamy and cold, all perfect touches to round out an evening of spices and salts and sours and salsas.

To the surprise of no one, Nada was amazing, is amazing, and always will be amazing. I have always been into Nada, and while I usually make my reservations knowing exactly what I am going to get, this experience proved to me and those I dined with that you can simply throw a dart at the Nada menu and you’re going to end up with something awesome. It is just that good.

Nada, you are THE BEST. Thank you so much for having us!

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