Ben and I started our weekend with a nice dinner out to celebrate my new job! We had been wanting to try out the new Culinary Institue of America restaurant, Nao, at the Pearl Brewery. It’s motto is “New, World Flavors.” It had a soft opening at the beginning of summer, but the grand opening was just two weekends ago. I was worried that would mean we would have a hard time getting a reservation, but luckily, they had room for us on Saturday. We started off with a couple of drinks, Ben with a spicy rum drink and I had a mango tequila drink. After reading the menu about 5 times, and asking several questions, we were ready to order. We chose a pre-fixe menu that came with one cold appetizer, one warm appetizer and a main entre. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the names of these dishes, but I kind of remember what was in them!
I started out with a fish ceviche in a pool of spicy green sauce and wonderful veggie relish.
Ben had a sushi-style crab roll with Peruvian potatoes as the shell with avocado garnish.
Next up were the warm appetizers. Ben enjoyed the Tyaluda, consisting of rotisserie pork shoulder, onion, tomato and spinach on a dark, rich mole sauce. The pork shoulder was so tender and was perfectly marinated.
My warm appetizer was a yucca roll stuffed with duck confit – so awesome!! I tried not to eat them all to save room for my main dish, but I could have had about 20 because they were so good!
Steak with tamal and spinach salad was Ben’s main dish of choice. The steak must have been great because I didn’t get a chance to try it before he ate it all! I loved the tamal (corn cake)!
I had a divine red snapper fillet on a bed of nopales. Red snapper is one of my favorite types of fish! Nopales (prickly pear cactus) are growing on me, but they have to be prepared just right.
At this point, I was so happy with everything. The portion sizes were just perfect and I was just full, and so amazed at the quality of all of the dishes. I want to go back every weekend and try everything on the menu! We didn’t really need to get dessert, but when a chocolate mousse filled chocolate cake with a side of chocolate sorbet is on the menu, you just go for it!
We ended the evening watching the sun go down at a park a few blocks away from our house. It was the perfect way to celebrate my new job and perfect way to start our Labor Day weekend.