I was excited to try Nada because it’s from the restaurant group that owns Boca in Cincinnati, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the Midwest. I would call Nada modern Mexican cuisine—a menu that is heavy on tacos of varying flavors, with a few other appetizers and a couple of larger main dishes. There are lots of tequila-based cocktails and several beers. As for wine, it’s house white or house red.
We walked in during the IU/UK March madness game so the bar was heaving. And loud. And so not surprisingly, it took a bit to get our drinks. I ordered the blood orange margarita ($10) and hubby their version of an Old Fashioned, the “Anejo Fashioned,” made with tequila ($12). Both drinks were quite tasty. Not being a Bourbon fan myself, I liked the play on the Old Fashioned. For a second round later, hubby tried the top shelf margarita ($14) and I had their regular house margarita ($7). The top shelf was definitely smoother and more refined than the house, but honestly, they were both very good. Not sure it’s worth twice as much. But hubby may disagree.
The interior is nice-it feels very modern and is bright and colorful. A nice ambiance. Strangely, it has a lot of large tables (several sat empty much of the night) and less options for say, a party of 4. I wonder if they will seat smaller parties at those larger tables.
We started off with chips and salsa (we had the fire-roasted tomato ancho salsa) ($2) and the “Mexorean” fried chicken ($9). The chips and salsa are very good. I love the thicker, freshly fried chips that are nice and crunchy and clearly freshly made (the layers of them start to split when they’re cooked). The salsa was also nice—the roasted flavor gave it some depth. I would certainly get chips on a return visit again—maybe try the salsa sampler or the guacamole sampler.
Unfortunately, the fried chicken was disappointing. It was three really huge pieces of boneless breasts that were fried in a very delightful, and apparently flour free, batter. Super crisp on the outside. The chicken itself though was so large and so tough it wasn’t worth eating. Only one of the pieces, which was cut a little thinner, was even worth a couple of bites. It’s really too bad that they don’t use thinner pieces of chicken, or even better, boneless thighs, which would keep their tenderness better. The crust and the sauce (which was slightly sweet and slightly spicy) were both good. As it is though, I would not recommend it at all.
The slow drinks were unfortunately just the precursor to what was a bit of a cluster with the service for the rest of the night, which really took a turn at this point. Apparently our order got mixed up with the table next to ours—so they were served our entrées and we were served theirs about 10 minutes later. And while the men at both tables had ordered the same thing (the pork belly tacos), when hubby got his, one of the pieces of pork belly was completely missing from the taco. So both tables had to send almost everything back and they had to start over. Our server, who was very nice, was completely overwhelmed. The whole time all this fiasco was going on, none of our appetizer of empty drink glasses were cleared and our table became increasingly cramped.
We shared our tacos once we finally got the ones we ordered. As I said hubby had the pork belly tacos ($13), with a nice, crisped slice of pork belly, wonderfully cooked and not at all gelatinous. The pieces of pork sat on top of guacamole and a bit of pickled pepper and onion and some salsa. We also exercised the “add an egg” option and they added a lovely sunny egg on top of the middle taco. A little challenging to split it among the tacos, but the results were very good once you did.
Sadly the shrimp tacos ($15) that I chose were not so great. There were several small shrimps on each taco that were topped with a LOT of arugula, some queso fresco and a avocado lime dressing. The shrimp were kind of blah, and I was really hoping for more acid then was there. There were some hunks of avocado on there, but I didn’t get much from the dressing. And there was so much arugula, it almost tasted like it was more of a salad. I would pass on these next time. I am quite intrigued by the “Senor mu shu” tacos they offered. They sounded interesting. Side note: their tacos all seem to come in flour tortillas, which I guess may stand up better to some of the heartier fillings, but I still like the lightness of corn best.
At this point we decided to leave (and we weren’t offered a dessert menu anyway) and I thought it was very good form that the manager came to our table and comped all our food (as well as the table next to us). It definitely lessened the blow a bit. And about ½ of the food, and all of the drinks, were very good.
I will certainly go back, but may wait a bit to see the kinks worked out a bit more. And I hope you guys have some suggestions for which are the best tacos.
11 West Maryland