Monday, April 18, 2016


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
Indy 46204


  1. Similar experience. Hit & miss on the food. Service; they brought our entrees without any utensils! By the time those arrived, we had already picked at the food which had turned cold. Has potential but probably won't head back.

  2. This. Is from a critic in Tampa.

    Same Boca group? I tried to confirm but could not.

    The restaurant’s chalkboard makes claims as you enter from the valet parking lot. At the hostess stand, a cheery board reads, “Welcome to local, farm-fresh Boca.”

    Brown butcher paper tops tables and lettuces grow along a wooden wall. In a small market case, I see canned goods from here and produce from somewhere. Check the small print: blackberries from Mexico and blueberries from California.

    With the tagline “Local, simple and honest,” Boca Kitchen Bar Market was among the first wave of farm-to-table restaurants in Tampa Bay to make the assertion “we use local products whenever possible.” I’ve reviewed the food. My own words are right there on their website: “local, thoughtful and, most importantly, delicious.”

    But I’ve been had, from the snapper down to the beef.

    Parent group BE-1 Concepts has rolled out two more locations since the Tampa one opened in 2012, with two more set to open in Sarasota and St. Petersburg. The restaurant group continues to make bold claims about the provenance of food on its menus, chalkboards and website.

    Many of these claims are not true.

    In February on the Tampa location’s chalkboard, Captain Kirk Morgan was listed as a supplier of red snapper and grouper. When we contacted the St. Petersburg commercial fisherman, he said he had never sold Boca any fish and that he only catches sheepshead, mullet and jacks. He remembers exchanging business cards with a chef several months ago while selling mullet at I.C. Sharks on Gandy Boulevard, but the chef was disappointed when he learned for which species Morgan fishes.
    When confronted about this on Feb. 19, the following exchange took place with Boca’s executive chef Matt Mangone:

    Times: It says on the Tampa chalkboard that you buy red snapper and grouper from Capt. Kirk Morgan. How did you get his fish?

    Mangone: “I met him at I.C. Sharks and we bought from him a couple times.”

    T: He says he’s never sold fish to you and that he doesn’t catch grouper or snapper.

    M: “Well, we bought it through a friend of his.”

    T: He has no knowledge of that. Why is his name on the chalkboard then?

    M: “I guess the board needs to be updated.”

    In a similar vein, we asked Mangone what they buy from Long & Scott Farms (listed in February on the chalkboard at Boca in Riverview, it is the producer of Zellwood corn, Florida’s most prized corn).

    M: “In the summer we get corn.”

    T: But it’s on the chalkboard now. What are you getting now?

    M: “Nothing right now.” (On Feb. 16, Long & Scott’s Bill Olvey confirmed that “there is no corn available now.”)

    The Tampa menu claims two different brand-name naturally raised chickens, Joyce Farms and Tecumseh Farms. Boca’s Tampa chef Sandy DeBenedietto said they buy both from Culinary Classics in Orlando. On Feb. 16, Dave Abdy at Culinary Classics checked records and said yes on Joyce, but no on Tecumseh.
    DeBenedietto said the menu’s advertised Florida pink shrimp are purchased through Halperns’ Steak & Gary’s Seafood in Orlando. Halpern’s sales manager Richard Starke checked sales reports on Feb. 8 and said no Florida pink shrimp have been purchased through them in this calendar year.
    As of April 5, the Boca website listed vendors King Family Farm and C&D Fruit & Vegetable Company, both in Bradenton. King Family has for months been listed on Facebook as “permanently closed” with the phone disconnected. Leanne O’Brien of C&D said on March 4 that they do not sell anything to Boca.
    The Riverview location’s chalkboard lists Seminole Pride beef. The Seminole Tribe’s Michael Sauceda said on March 9 that he has sold to Boca in the past and hopes to again in the future, but at the current time, is not supplying Boca with any beef.

    1. Different Boca. I'm speaking of the one in Cincinnati

  3. Sounds like you really hit a rough night. I've always sat in the bar area (lunch 2x & dinner once) and have actually had pretty good experiences. It seems the tacos are paired with flour or corn based on their flavor, though I wish they called it out on the menu. My shrimp taco didn't have the crazy salad on it you had, but was quite nicely proportioned, just needed a good squeeze of lime and some of the habañero salsa -- however, I was definitely disappointed in the size of the shrimp and probably won't order again.

    The fish taco, Salmon taco & the Durango BBQ "Pastor" were all really good. At lunch, they come with a nice little cake-y donut hole which is a nice finish. Also, the side of Nada fries has been tasty too.

    Agree on your margarita thoughts, they are definitely serviceable and I'm tough to please on margs. For $7, I add a few more squeezes of lime and I'm pretty happy with it.

  4. Went to Nada today for a work lunch and got seated right away. Our server was excellent and we always had full glasses. I thought the food was outstanding. We tried the guacamole trio - highly recommended. The pork belly tacos were delicious. My colleague got the Senor MuShu tacos and said they were really good. Hopefully they have worked out some of the service kinks since they opened. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other yummy-sounding items on the menu.