Nido in Oakland?
Tonight was my second dinner there within about two months - I always thought the place was like a Pier One imports store when driving by, and finally realized it was a restaurant. Duh.
Everything I have tried has been fantastic, but I thought I would mention a few highlights:
Coctel/ceviche: normally I fish out all the seafood and leave the liquid. At Nido I want to drink every last drop of the liquid, and soak my tortilla chips in it. It is incredibly well balanced.
Arroz a la tumbada fish special: described by RL already below, the chili based broth was also good to the last drop. Just perfect.
Flan: I am a fan of flan, and this one had the most incredible texture. It is dense and smooth and like a soft butter. I think the best way to eat it is to put a piece in your mouth, and spread it all around the mouth using your tongue the same way you would spread butter on a piece of bread. And then enjoy and let it melt until it is all gone. I guess the process is similar to the process for eating good chocolate. This is easily my favorite version of flan.
Had a great meal here last week. The menu has definitely moved into fall, lots of winter squash and braising greens. We had some quesadillas to start, which were great. My companion enjoyed the posole, and I had the pork chop, which was excellent and worked very well with the almond mole and the braised greens. The old-fashioned was also very tasty.
I haven't gotten to try the Cemita.
The second time I went, they had the bread, but were out of the Chicken Mole.
I asked if they would make it with one of the other meats and was told no, which didn't make much sense to me, but it's not my kitchen.
Got 2 tacos. Barbacoa taco was very good, moist and well seasoned. Muslito de Pollo Asado (grilled chicken thigh) was tasty, but the meat was on the dry side.
Had a great meal last night.
Totopos adobados ($6) are tortilla chips tossed with guajillo sauce and sprinkled with cotija, crema fresca, onion, and cilantro, really delicious though too big a helping for two.
At first I thought the posole ($5/8) was underseasoned, but when it cooled a bit I decided the broth was fantastic, though the chicken was a bit bland. Corn texture was good though as almost always around here it was missing that special sour masa flavor it has in Guadalajara.
Chicken quesadillas with red mole ($9), also great.
Taquitos dorados de pollo ($7), good though I thought a little bland, could have used a little more something. By this point the flavors were reminding me so much of Mexico that for a second I was worried about the shredded lettuce on the plate.
Salad of Little Gems, cucumber, avocado and pepinos ($8), good but seemed a bit underdressed to me.
Rice pudding with strawberry and walnuts ($6) was quite good, not very sweet, nice texture, very adult dessert.
Thanks to the totopos that was a very filling meal for two.
Had glasses of Blue Plate Clarksburg Chenin Blanc ($8) and Viñas del Vero Garnacha Blanca ($9), both delicious and well-matched to the food.
I was curious about the Fernet-Vallet, so asked for a sip so I could decide between a shot and a cocktail. Went for the Oscuridad Verde ($10) made with fernet, green Chartreuse, and lime juice. That's a really excellent drink in the Last Word / Corpse Reviver #2 vein. Very dry and refreshing.
Great addition to the local scene.
re: Robert Lauriston
The second time around the totopos adobados didn't seem like too big an order for two.
The huarache Distrito Federal ($16) had beef, chorizo, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, a great green salsa, probably forgetting a few things. Relatively modest size compared with the ones at El Huarache Azteca.
Chicken tinga tostada ($6) tasted vaguely Italian due to the combination of smoky tomato and Parmesan-like aged cotija.
Fish special of the day was arroz a la tumbada ($22), a filet of rock cod, half a dozen mussels, two huge head-on prawns, and rice with a seriously spicy red sauce.
Great meal, I'd order any of those again. They really get the balance of flavors right, reminds me very much of eating in Mexico.
re: Robert Lauriston
I found a very appealing photo of Nido's huarache Distrito Federal in the Berkeleyside.com Nosh column:
photo by Samayou Kodomo on flickr:
edit: Use the link from Bauer's twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelbauer1/sta...
Bauer loves it - "straight into the hall of fame." Glad to see a good review. Only thing I disagree with is that the tortillas are bad. I like them. This is definitely my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood and if I need a pick me up the one place I will always default to these days.
Michael Bauer/Inside Scoop (SFChron) on Nido's cocktails:
"I’ve had some of the best cocktails lately in some of the least likely places. For example earlier this week I went to Nido, a small Mexican restaurant in Oakland and was impressed by the selection and the care that was taken, including large cubes for the Old Fashioned ($9). The margarita was fine, but the Old Fashioned variation was improved with Old Scout Smooth Ambler Rye, bitters and a touch of maple syrup."
Something very awesome is happening at Nido. They've made a lot of adjustments it seems and are hitting some really high notes. The "Al Pastor" skewer is like tacos el gordos adobada but on your plate. Really enjoy both the lunch and dinner options. Seems like they listened to early reviews and have continued to revise the menu. Been back twice this week---starting to love this place.
Don't like it, way overpriced. They really harp on having local ingredients but that isn't tough to find around here. We've been three times and each time leave disappointed. The portions are small, which wouldn't be that big of a problem if the prices weren't high even for regular size portions.
The chips and salsa/guac is good but there isn't enough chips and they'll charge you more to get more chips.
The tacos are not that flavorful. The chile relleno is good but both times we ordered it came out cold and like 10 minutes (not joking) later than the rest of the food.
They won't give you water unless you ask. They also may or may not give you water even after you ask.
The soup is actually pretty solid, as was the salad we tried. I liked the beans and rice, but there weren't enough chips to enjoy it.
Basically this restaurant would have been great if it opened 5-10 years ago before "local" and "sustainable" became something people expect.
Also the cutesy dishes and glass mugs they pour wine in can be chipped at times.
I like the pie made by the place sharing the space much better than Nido, in fact.
Had high hopes, and there are really not any good mexican spots in the JLS neighborhood, but I don't like Nido. Would rather drive 10-15 minutes to Cactus.
Just don't consider Nido a typical Mexican restaurant -- Their flavors are good. The facility is very cold (even the kitchen staff was wearing hoodies last Thursday evening!). During this frigid weather almost every restaurant I've been to this weekend has had problems getting thermally hot food to the table. By the way, the menu warns that water is not automatically presented,)
re: Stephanie Wong
Yeah, there are still service kinks. First visit, front of the house partner was our server during soft opening and gave/got lots of feedback); not so the second time and there were some minor issues (not wiping up the hot water spilled while trying to pour hot water for tea -- what is it about water? LOL!). That said, we'll still return. Should be a good when weather is warmer. Want to try brunch.
I stopped by for lunch last week. At 12:30 they were out of the bread for the cemita so I had the tacos with the same chicken in mole Coloradito sauce that goes with the lunch cemita and a "cup" of the pozole.
The pozole "cup" ($4.50) is a decent sized bowl and comes with a garnish bowl of lime wedge, cabbage, radishes, avocado, onions, and jalapeño. The wrapped up thing in the picture is one of their handmade tortillas. The soup is very chunky filled with hominy and tender chicken and is mildly spicy. Some of the hominy was undercooked and hard.
The tacos ($8.50 plate of 2) came with housemade potato chips which took me a little by surprise as I was expecting corn chips. It doesn't look like it from the pic, but there was almost too much meat for the tortilla's size making a cylinder when picked up with the tortilla edges barely touching. The chicken meat was juicy and the mole was rich, just slightly sweet, and moderately spicy.
Definitely worth a return trip, imo.
What doesn't look promising from the pic? I've never had a cemita before.
The sesame bread looked too crusty to me. But I've not visited Puebla to see the original, so perhaps that's a variant. And I would have liked to see some cheese and greenery besides cilantro.
La Poblana lonchera
Luke Tsai did a thorough look at Nido this week but he didn't report on the sandwich.
Larry and I have been twice for dinner during their soft opening (grand opening 1/18 to kick off Oakland Restauranr Week.
We loved the pork chop and chile re llano, quesadilla was okay. Fish taco special was good but not as good a value unless one remembers as their menu says, "**Without sounding preachy, we would like to point out that Nido's menu supports responsibly sourced ingredients as often as possible. We are currently proud to be working with Happy Boy Farms, Allard Farms Organics, Swank Farms Organics, Preferred Meats, Monterrey Fish Market, & Petaluma Farms. Please feel free to email us with any questions or feedback that you may have. Buen Provecho!"
I stopped by for lunch several months ago. I'm afraid I forgot what I'd ordered, but I enjoyed it. Food was fresh and well prepared, and the service was friendly. I've been meaning to stop by again. It's kind of an out-of-the-way location on the outskirts of Jack London Square, just before the freeway.