I have been back to Nada a couple of times since I last wrote—once for dinner and once again for brunch. If my son gets to choose a brunch or lunch place, he inevitable chooses Nada. He is obsessed with their chicken tacos. So when we had something to do afterwards downtown, so we decided it was a good choice. We started with their queso ($7), which is pretty much a requirement at this point. I do think they have some of the best queso in town. There are smooshed black beans on the bottom, and when you stir them all in, they have a lot more flavor than most. You can also order several other additions if you want, but I recommend against it. You really don’t need it. Also, I think they have some of the best chips in town—they’re clearly freshly fried, and just nicely layered tortillas. They come across light and salty and delicious. The dinner that is included in this post was with 3 friends who had never been and all loved the chips. Also, you need a side of guacamole. They do a very nice job with it as well—nice and bright and acidic. Do yourself a favor and get both. For our brunch meal, my kids both had the chicken tacos, which have chicken, guac, cheese, and pico de gallo ($9 for 2 tacos). These make them very happy and I think that’s great.
Hubby and I split one of my all time favorite brunch dishes, the chicken goetta-dicta ($12), which is their version of eggs benedict made with a muffin, a layer of goetta, avocado, poached eggs, and Sriracha hollandaise. It was delicious and it always is. Goetta is a patty made with oats and sausage and is nice and crunchy and meaty at the same time. It’s perfect in this dish with the creamy avocado, perfectly poached egg, and hollandaise. We decided to share this but take the opportunity to try something new as well, so we ordered the “Mex’orean” fried chicken buns as well. Now as soon as we ordered them, we remembered back to the first time we went to Nada and got the “Mex-orean” fried chicken appetizer and were decidedly disappointed. The chicken was s super dry that time. But I am happy to report that the chicken was much, much better. They serve them on soft slider-type buns with pickles and a lightly spicy mayo type sauce and they were actually very good. I love the whole pickle thing on Asian-style buns, and these were no exception. Good to know they continued perfecting the chicken, because the super light crust was very tasty and the inside remained moist. We would get them again.
The other meal I had was fun because we all got tacos and traded around so I got to try several (each order comes with three tacos at dinner). There were fish tacos ($15), mushroom tacos (“hongos”) ($12), fried avocado tacos ($11) and mu shu ($13). Actually one of my top choices was the mushroom version. I was surprised at how much I liked it and how much flavor it had. There were balsamic grilled mushrooms, guacamole, black bean puree, Chihuahua cheese, rice, and pico de gallo. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but there was just enough of each of them. The mushrooms still were the star though and were very tender and flavorful. Next, I really enjoyed the fish tacos, which are battered and deep-fried pieces of hake with guacamole, lime marinated cabbage and avocado. They were tasty as well. The cabbage could have been shredded a little finer maybe, but they had a nice bright lime flavor. The fried avocado also had chipotle bean puree, pickled cabbage, maple, pickled red onion and pepitas. This one was good, and I liked the crunch from the pumpkin seeds, but even with the pickled items just seemed to need a little acid. My least favorite was probably the mu shu tacos, which were made with pork marinated in beer and ginger, and topped with sesame, hoisin, lime cabbage and avocado. They were a little dry and the flavor was a little too sweet and one dimensional for me.
All in all though, Nada has really grown on me over the years (particularly brunch). I think they have made improvements over the years. I do wish you could mix and match your own tacos, but I guess if you go with friends, you can always make that happen yourself.
11 West Maryland
Noise rating: 2 bells (out of five)
Noise rating: 2 bells (out of five)