Anyone been to Nini's Bistro in New haven?
- geminigirl Apr 25, 2010 12:57 PM
This has been on my "to try" list and i'm wondering if anyone has feedback, good or bad? thanks
I admit that it's been a while since we've gone (having a toddler has cramped our style in this regard) but we always thought Nini's was one of the best restaurants in New Haven... wonderful food, very reasonable prices, and, if she's still working there, one of the best waitresses around, Laurie...
Nini's remains one of our "go-to" restaurants in New Haven. Chef Stu (a frequent poster here) comes up with interesting menu choices and does them very well. Not only is it a relative bargain, but the fact that it is BYOB only enhances the experience, as it allows us to bring bottles from our collection that we would never order at normal restaurant mark-ups.
I also like Nini's. The menu changes every couple of weeks, so we like to peruse the Web site every so often and see what's offered. If we're intrigued, we go.
The manu is eclectic for sure, with some Asian-influenced dishes combined with brasserie-style fare and steaks. I especially like the fish selections, sometimes including some species I've never tried before.
The portions are on the small side per plate, but there's many courses available, so it's good for volume eaters. The dishes tend to be rich, so it's good for people who like to taste lots of different things. The BYOB option is great, as others have mentioned. We also like the fresh-baked bread and the leisurely pace of the service.
My one criticism is that most of the offerings tend to be very rich. I just can't eat like that anymore. So I don't drop in on a whim as often as I used to.
food was excellent. Portion size was very good. I was full when I left, always a good sign. Service very attentive. Down point, if there had to be one, would be that who ever takes the reservations over the phone should be more customer friendly. Just a note for ya, this is the first impression that the customer has. I think they also do some off premise catering. If I'm wrong then correct me. I attended a wedding last summer and someone said that they catered the event.
So we tried Nini's last night, and overall very good. The menu has been changed but not posted. For apps we had a thai peanut chicken on skewers with fiddlehead salad - very good and I never had fiddleheads and really liked how they served them. Also app of scallops wraped in bacon with a parm/egg custard - just so so. Entrees were a veal chop with a cajun red beans and rice - very good. Also a grain dish (similar to risotto) with ramps and wild boar sausage - also very good, and very filling! For desserts we tried the carrot cake - just so so , and a sponge cake with an orange sauce - excellent. We really liked the atmosphere, staff was very friendly and service was excellent. We look forward to another visit. Only complaint, they gave us a parking validation, but then at the lot the attendant (the corner lot) would not accept it...
We went over the weekend, too - this thread reminded me to try it.
The major disappointment was that the menu on the website was not the menu when we arrived. If you're going to change your menu every couple of weeks, you'd better be sure to update the website every time! Also, that website is a major draw for repeat customers - if you're like us, you go if something catches your fancy. It's a bummer to get something completely different when you get there.
That said, we had a very nice time. The satay with fiddlehead pickles was wondferul, as were the scallops and the sweetbreads. (It's nice to see organ meats on the menu!) The minestrone was very hearty and tasty, as were the fat, juicy asparagus spears.
For entrees, one diner with us who's a picky eater loved the strip steak - he passed around tastes for us all, and we agreed. The pike with seafood sauce was just OK - the fish is very mild, and it needed more zip from the sauce. The guy who got the seafood fra diavolo was disappointed - there was some dark-meat swordfish flavor in there, and he thought the sauce was too thin.
For dessert, we each tried something different and shared. The almond sponge cake was the favorite.
I think this place attracts early diners - when we got there at 7 the place was in full swing. The service is very friendly and accommodating (subbing out one side dish for another), if a bit neglectful when we first arrived, because almost everyone in the joint was getting their entrees by then.
A little wine whine: When we've been in the past, the waitress always opened our wine (there's a $3 corkage fee) but this time, she did not make a move to do it, so we did it ourselves. The place had no ice buckets for the white wine.
So, overall, we'll go again for sure, but we'll make sure to ask if the menu online is the menu they're actually serving when we go!
Just joining the chorus--Nini's is great, definitely our go-to in New Haven, and well worth a try if you haven't been.