After trying NAHA for the first time during restaurant week last year, I bought the Groupon for NAHA ($40 for an $80 credit). Boy, did time fly! The last day to use the Groupon was last Tuesday, September 7th. Fortunately, an amazing friend was on top of her game and scored some last-minute reservations – 9:30 pm on a Tuesday! Apparently, a lot of Groupon owners were in the same spot because the lounge was packed with people waiting to be seated. We agreed to take two tables right by the entrance rather than wait another 20 minutes for a table.
My dinner date and I shared the scallops to start things off.
To be honest, ordering scallops makes me nervous. I feel like they are a high-risk, high-reward menu item. I should be able to trust nice restaurants to cook their scallops properly, but I must have had a horrible experience with rubbery, fishy tasting scallops because I still approach that first bite with apprehension. After that dramatic intro, these were quite delicious. As you can see from the photo, they were draped in prosciutto, adding the perfect amount of salty flavor. As they should be, the scallops were cooked perfectly – the knife easily sliced through the crisp outer layer to reveal the icicle-like meat within. The little cubes on the plate were something like yellow watermelon. I did not really see how these added to the dish, but they were interesting nonetheless.
If I added something more to the title of this blog entry, it would be “NAHA: Where Adjectives are in Quotations”*. Exhibit A: the descriptor for the entrée I ordered: A Farm Plate of Roasted Quail, Crisp Kurobuta Pork Belly and a Coddled Duck Egg “enrobed” in La Quercia Prosciutto with Scallion Jam, Lacinato Kale, “Duck Fat” Fried Rose Finn Potatoes and Thyme. Who knows why these things are in quotations, but it works – I mean, who wouldn’t order something described as “enrobed in La Quercia Prosciutto” or “duck fat fried”. Hello?!
If I did not have a photo to show you, I would have described this dish as though a farmer painstakingly assembled his pride and joy on a plate to create a “find the pork scavenger hunt” just for me, and me alone. Fortunately, I also have a photo:
So you’re probably thinking, “The meat is right there, you idiot! Why the ‘scavenger hunt’?” Yes, you can see the lovely quail and the coddled egg in the prosciutto, but on the other side of that, there is a hash of purple potatoes. Along with that, there are thick pieces of pancetta that conveniently look just like the potatoes. Between the salty pancetta and the soft potatoes, you just never know what you’re going to get. Either way, it’s a marvelous surprise. Aside from the “pancetta surprise”, the egg “enrobed” in prosciutto was my favorite part of this dish. Salty, gooey, warm perfection. I have trouble making my way through meat on the bone, so the quail was a struggle for me to eat gracefully, but it was very good. There was also pork belly on the plate which was salty and rich but a little too fatty for me. I know that pork belly is fatty by its very nature, but I don’t think the fat was cooked down enough to be a cohesive element of the meat.
If you’ve read my reviews of Blackbird and Girl and The Goat, you’ve come along with me on my journey exploring cream corn desserts. Welp, the third time is not a charm, folks. We ordered the pave of almonds and blueberries with white corn ice cream and kettle corn.
It was pretty good, but not great. The ice cream, which was the corn component of the dessert, was deliciously creamy and rich. However, the “accessories” of this dish that you see floating around – the blueberries, the kettle corn and the candied almonds – were just strange. The blueberries are juicy and tart and burst in your mouth, the kettle corn is dry and light and melts in your mouth and the almonds are salty and sweet and crunch in your mouth. Three tastes and textures don’t compliment each other like they should. Oh well, I’ve had fun exploring corn-themed desserts, but I think I’m ready to move on. Sigh…
After the second time around, I can safely say that I am very happy with NAHA. The service is good, the food is delicious and I think their semi-steep prices are justified by the quality of what they serve. The ambiance is nothing unique, but it is a classy restaurant perfect for a special occasion (wouldn’t recommend sitting by the door).
Stay tuned for a review of The Purple Pig!
*This phrase was coined by the lovely Katie L.