Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nai Tapas Bar

On a beautiful June evening I was fortunate enough to attend a press dinner at Nai Tapas Bar. I had actually been on a Tapas kick for a while so any opportunity for small plates was welcome. 

The decor was tasteful with a mix of high and low tables. The back of the main dining area looked like the perfect place for a group dinner and the front was meant for catching up with friends or lounging casually. I was thrilled that the chef wasted no time getting our first course out. Esterificacion de Aceituna. 

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my life long battle against olives. I just can't understand the appeal of working so hard for such a tiny bite. So you can imagine my skepticism when an olive was the first thing to arrive. Not just any olive though. It was an emulsified recreation of an olive. It was the perfect solution for someone like me. A deliciously tasty treat without the pit or any of the hard work traditionally required with olives. Since the meal started with such a delightful surprise, I was excited to see what the rest of the night would hold.

The Mini-airbags of manchego foam were an unexpected treat. The crunchy pocket created a nice contrast with the light airy manchego filling. As we moved through the meal we were able to sample several proteins. My two favorites were the Tostada de Lubino (Chilean sea bass) and the Aguacate Relleno. 

The sea bass was rich in flavor but light on my tongue. The asparagus was well flavored to complement the orange emulsion and balsamic reduction. The Aquacate was a welcome change from most tapas restaurants. It essentially tasted like a sushi roll! Since I was on a strict no sushi diet, this was the perfect way to get my fix. I'm convinced Chef Ruben grows his avocados out back because they were incredibly fresh.  

We also sampled a tapas classic Gambas al ajillo. 

Anyone who has tasted this treat knows that the sauce is the secret. I begged for bread so I could dip it in the sauce! The Pollo Ahumado was a heavier protein for anyone who is really hungry. It was more than I had room for that evening but after a couple of bites I got the sense it wasn't your run of the meal chicken dish and I gobbled it all up. By the end of the meal, I didn't have room for much else but when I was told there were two dessert options, my stomach quickly opened up. 

The pear cotton candy was an unexpected treat. Sweet but not overly sugary. The chocolate filled churros were out of this world! I would go back just for those! 

Overall Nai was a lovely dining experience. A warm atmosphere with delicious eats. Highly recommend the olive, Tostada de Lubino and the Aguacate. 

Hungry yet?