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Nido in Oakland?

Since my visit to La Poblana, I’ve discovered that Nido in Oakland serves cemitas at lunch time. The photograph on its website doesn’t look promising. But, I still wonder, has anyone tried it?

http://www.nidooakland.com/#!lunch/ck50

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  1. 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.

    1. 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!"

      http://www.nidooakland.com/#!dinner/cm1a

      1. 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.

         
         
        1 Reply
        1. re: drewskiSF

          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
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/886108

          Luke Tsai did a thorough look at Nido this week but he didn't report on the sandwich.
          http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/jac...

        2. 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.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hungree

            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,)

            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              I saw that on the menu, but got water without asking.

              My server must have been a trainee ;-)

              1. re: drewskiSF

                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.

          2. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hungree

              I gotta admire that you've come back to revise your opinion upwards.

              Have you tried the cemita?

              1. re: hungree

                Was wondering when you'd notice. :) I was suprised to see such a new place hit the list.

                There's a discussion in progress about that list on the Food Media board.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/897990

                1. re: hungree

                  I don't want to get into the T&L best-this-and-that imbroglio but having eaten at Topolobampo, the two belong in distinctly separate discussions.

                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                    Of course. I was just making a joke/reference to Bayless' claim that all we have in SF is taco and mission burrito places.

                2. 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."

                  1. http://www.sfchronicle.com/restaurant...

                    Paywall.. ugh

                    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.

                    1. 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.

                      2 Replies
                      1. 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.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I found a very appealing photo of Nido's huarache Distrito Federal in the Berkeleyside.com Nosh column:

                          http://www.berkeleyside.com/2013/10/2...

                          photo by Samayou Kodomo on flickr:

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/samayouk...

                      2. 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.

                         
                        1. 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.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mdougherty

                            Parts of the menu have changed again. We thought we were ordering our usual coctel/ceviche (we didn't call the dish by the exact name when we ordered) and an aguachile verde showed up. What a pleasant surprise! Limey and spicy with plenty of fish. I still miss the version from Marino that closed in Hayes valley, but it's kind of apples and oranges because Marino's was shrimp and not fish.

                            Haven't had a chance to try the other one I am curious about made with wild nettle masa, but soon....

                          2. Bay Guardian just reported that José Ramos, one of the founding chefs at Nopalito and has been at Nido in Oakland of late, has moved to Sabrosa (3200 Fillmore, SF. www.sabrosasf.com):
                            http://www.sfbg.com/2013/11/19/sabrosito

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jaiko

                              Right, Ramos left a couple months ago. So it's good to see Nido reports from September forward after the change.

                              Sabrosa
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/924230

                              1. re: jaiko

                                Speaking of changes, Pietisserie moved out in August and is doing pop-ups while working on her own space.

                                http://www.pietisserie.com/store

                              2. 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.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: felice

                                  I finally made it last night.

                                  We started by sharing a huarache. Delicious - the house-made chorizo was the star,and the huarache itself had a good texture.

                                  I had the fish special, which was a Veracruz style, and was excellent. The delicious broth even permeated through to the middle of the potatoes.

                                  Flan - wow, it may have had the best texture of any flan I've ever had.

                                  Service was great. Our server was a sweetheart with a great sense of humor. For such a busy place, things were remarkably under control.

                                  Wine markups seemed very high for the list they have. Not a place for a quiet romantic chat, either. It had to be amongst the top 3 noisiest restaurants I've ever visited.

                                  Can't wait to return!

                                  1. re: lmnopm

                                    I'll definitely add the huarache to my list of items to try - we keep returning to the same items which leaves less room to branch out more. Our latest discoveries at Nido are the veggie quesadilla (better than the chicken) and the chicken tostada. The veggie quesadilla has a great vegetal savoriness that is well-focused, whereas the chicken quesadilla is more predictable. The chicken tostada did not seem Italian-like to me, but perhaps I eat more Mexican than Italian. I enjoyed the flavor of the chile morita in the chicken tostada. The arroz a la tumbada from November uses the same chile, so it turns out I am a fan of this chile.

                                    1. re: lmnopm

                                      I liked the huarache's flavors, especially the chorizo, as Imnopm mentioned. The sliced, boiled egg gave it a brunchy feel.

                                      For mine, the masa layer was pretty hard. My knife "snapped" through it.

                                       
                                  2. The hominy in the pozole are made from purple corn. Their waxy snap reminded me more of a fresh plant than the overcooked, sometimes mealy, stuff that is more common.

                                    The huarache was firm, and had enough elasticity to suggest it was made to order. Something was missing from the flavor though. Even still, this was much better than a dry and rubbery one I had at Huarache Loco yesterday.

                                     
                                     
                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                      I had the Huarache the other day. It was very good but I thought the Masa was missing the toasted Flavor from a hot Plancha.

                                      1. Had a couple of new-to-me dishes the other night. Pollo sobado rests in a complex dry rub for a long time before being roasted, served with a couple of miniature enchiladas suizas. Calabacitas were a mix of two or three kinds of summer squash with roasted tomatoes and I'm not sure what else. Both were as good as the best I've had in Mexico, would not have seemed out of place at, say, Lu in Morelia.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          This place is "on the list" for our next trip. I may try to make the pollo sobado at home in the meantime, since the recipe is in the Chron profile that Robert linked to on May 8. Likewise, happy to see she is doing baked chilaquiles, even if they are red instead of my favourite, green :-).

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            I think the Chron recipe might have been a bit simpler than what they make in the restaurant. Tasted to me like a more complex blend of chiles.

                                            I ate the leftover squash for lunch. It also included fresh favas, cotija, and I think some herb I couldn't identify.

                                        2. Their summer menu is here and wow! The elotes and summer fruit gazpacho were both great. I think I've been here enough and tasted enough of their menu to feel confident that, in my opinion, this is the best all around Mexican in the Bay Area. There might be a few standout dishes at other places, but after more than 10 visits I am still impressed by the flavors the kitchen produces.

                                          Grayelf, for your next visit I would say that their chilaquiles, while very good, are on par with other good chilaquiles in the Bay Area. I tend to lean toward their other appetizers which are more special.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: felice

                                            I had dinner there the other night and agree, it is great.

                                          2. I had a cemita with chicken in mole coloradito. The chicken mole seemed a bit bland at first, added a little salt and lime, then it was great. The bun wasn't particularly interesting, I would have liked the dish better with tortillas.