Late last week the wife, a friend and I met up outside the wife’s work and walked the few blocks over to Nada. This Boca group restaurant that replaced Bella is in about the hippest spot in downtown and while the ultra-trendy (by Nati standards) feel is not my thing, I can appreciate that it is very popular and I am for any popular place making it in downtown. The architecture is fun–with an open kitchen, two levels of bar and dining, and an ‘I’m ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille’ staircase. The decor is bright and warm. And the staff, well, everyone we talked to was very nice if not alternately overattentive and vacant. Also, and this really does not matter, but it was a funny anecdote from our lunch…The first word out of each of our mouths–but my wife said it first–as we left Nada was nothing concerning the food or drink or even the architecture. Instead it was this: Boobs! We were sitting at the bar, and all three of us were constantly lifting our heads and then averting our eyes. But no matter; let us talk food.
OK. So everyone I know who has been to Nada likes or loves the place. I don’t know if the like/love is for the food or the feel, but regardless, I have heard nothing not positive. So here is something not positive–my food was terrible. Since it was the first time going to Nada, and their lunch menu is very small, I kept it simple. We shared chips and salsa to start and then I had chicken tacos with a side of rice and beans. The chips were deep-fried tortillas laced with sea salt. The taste was actually decent, but they were uncomfortably greasy. I would eat a chip, wipe my hands on my napkin for a couple of minutes, and then go back for another. The salsa was fine–not real spicy, not real sweet, nothing special.
My tacos were where things really started to go downhill. The tortillas were rubbery (read: stale). The black bean puree was scant. The chicken was decidedly under-seasoned. The pico de gallo was fine. The guac was good, but nothing you couldn’t make at home with a couple of fresh avocados. And then there was the chihuahua cheese that topped the tacos. The first odd thing was that my wife ordered the same thing and her cheese was not melted, while mine was, leading me to believe that something happened in the back of the house. Something like they forgot to make her tacos and left mine sitting under the lamp for too long. The second odd thing was that they dumped an entire bag of the stuff on my tacos. The final part to this whole cheese debacle is that chihuahua cheese is an especially oily cheese that when melted, separates. The end experience was eating an oily, rubbery tasteless chicken taco. The thing sat in my stomach, without moving, for hours. Oh yeah, the beans and rice were fine.
So everyone else likes Nada. I am willing to accept that my terrible food was a one-time incident. I will try Nada again and hope for the best, but until then…