Peaceful pleasure. That’s what I feel when I have the gift of enjoying a beautifully presented, expertly prepared farm-to-table meal.
I had such an experience last week at Nectar in Mt Lookout Square. As a starter, I had Carrot Gnocchi with caramelized fennel, golden raisins, pine nuts, mascarpone, preserved lemon and Pecorino. I have made, and do make traditional gnocchi. It’s an easy preparation, and lends itself to many iterations of sauces and finishes.
The beauty of a great dish is that, no matter how complex, it’s made to look simple and elegant. The mastery is in having a skillful, fundamental frame of reference for the qualities and tastes of food items, then having the courage to align them in a dish where they complement one another. Such is the case with Nectar’s carrot gnocchi. The slight crunch of the fennel and the warmth of the preserved lemon pop with the subtle carrot flavor of the tender gnocchi.
American paddlefish is seldom seen on restaurant menus. Paddlefish is a dense, meaty, mild white fish with a sturgeon-like quality. Paddlefish are farmed locally at Big Fish Farm, and paddlefish caviar is served in some of the city’s best restaurants.
Chile-Dusted American Paddlefish was served with a barley miso sauce, and Asian vegetable salad in a Kombu ginger broth. The convergence of creativity and outstanding ingredients. The dish was simply and skillfully presented. The many tastes were bright and distinct.
A couple of glasses of wine and Lookout Joe’s French press coffee.
Nectar’s menu changes frequently, and their local providers are showcased on the menu. A farm-to-table meal can be as memorable when dining alone as it is when it’s enjoyed with a friend or guests. The chefs and servers make the meal memorable through their dedication to quality technique, ingredients and service.
Nectar, 1000 Delta Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208, 513.929.0525