Black rice risotto with gorgonzola cheese and chestnuts - or slow cooked lamb thigh?
Whenever I visit a restaurant for the first time, I start a hidden dialogue with the menu. 'Surprise me', I say. 'Give me your most interesting offer.' But this time, Nana's menu challenged me right back. Almost every dish on it seemed intriguing. Enticing descriptions made me want to order everything on the list. Mushrooms in spinach, spice herbs and white wine with Ricotta cheese, served steaming hot, wrapped in paper – or maybe scorched eggplant tortellini and goat cheese, over tomato coulis and lavender? Black rice risotto with gorgonzola cheese and chestnuts - or slow cooked lamb thigh? It was hard to make a decision.
Eventually, after long discussions with a very tolerant server, we decided to focus on the crowd favorites, and so started with liver Pâté Crème brûlée: a Pâté with a twist of a hard caramel layer, where the sweet cover complimented the soft Pâté. In the salad section, the people's favorite is endive and Roquefort salad, which harmonically balances the endive bitterness, Roquefort spiciness, lettuce freshness and pears and raisins.
In-between bites, we sipped on some cocktails, original, of course. A lightly green cocktail consisted of fresh cucumber, stoli apple and midori, and another cocktail was spicy, sweet and fruity with a combination of blueberry vodka, mint and Russian.
Although my partner and I managed to reach an agreement on our starters, when we got to our main courses, we started to pull in different directions: I took the fish, which he does not like, and he took the pork spare ribs, which I avoid eating. So we separately indulged on our respective food while giving out reports to the other member of the party. He marked his dish, which was glazed with balsamic vinegar and lemon and served with fresh asparagus, with an 'A'. I recommend my delicate Corsica-styled dish: firm, juicy trout that had been grilled without any of its fishbone, and then filled with Barocco cheese with spinach and chestnuts that melted by the heat of the fish, in a wonderful combination of flavors. All this greatness was served with potato gratin and a green drizzle of mashed spinach that beautifully decorated the plate.
We took our time, to be able to absorb all the flavors, and enjoy Nana's special atmosphere. Nana is one of Neve Zedek area's first restaurants. It started out as Nana Bar and gradually expended. Today Nana offers three separate areas: a specious bar (including a very nice alcohol collection, especially local boutique wines and cocktails); a well-kept garden; and a private room, reserved for special occasions. All of these are decorated with beautiful utensils, pictures and ancient objects that were carefully collected throughout the years.
For dessert my partner ordered his usual Crème brûlée. But as nothing is "usual" here, his order turned out to be an upgraded version of frozen brûlée and crispy filo layers that were served with berries.
Soon, it is expected, Nana's fall menu will be launched. Here is something to wait for.