Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Back to Nightshade Noodle Bar: More Excellence

I recently dined at Nightshade Noodle Bar once again, and my experience was equally as delicious as my first visit. Check out my initial impressions of Nightshade Noodle Bar and now I'll add some additional commentary, discussing some of the additional dishes and drinks that I enjoyed. 

The Coconut Margarita ($14) is made with reposed tequila, smoked vanilla, lime and salt. The ample salt on the side of the cup was actually spicy, adding some intriguing heat to the tasty combo on agave and coconut, with a hint of smokiness. The cocktails at Nightshade have all been well balanced and not overly sweet. 

We also ordered a bottle of wine, the 2020 La Kiuva Rouge de Vallée, an Italian wine from the Valle d'Aosta. It is a blend of 70% Picotendro (a local Nebbiolo clone) and 30% of Gros Vien, Neyret, Cornalin and Fumin. It was a lighter red wine with a relatively complex taste, a melange of bright red fruits (especially cherry), but with hints of leather and earthiness. Intriguing and delicious, it paired well with a number of the dishes we enjoyed. It's also available by the glass (for $12). 

The food menu changed a little since my first visit, adding some new dishes. We ordered a few dishes we'd enjoyed during our first visit as one of my dining companions had not been to Nightshade before. The Curried Beef in Betel Leaves, Homemade Egg Noodles with Shredded Beef & Mushrooms, and the Dungeness Crab Fried Rice were just as delicious on my second visit as they had been on the first.  That consistency is very important in restaurants, and I'd highly recommend all three of these dishes. Each dish excels in flavor and makes you crave another bite, and then another. 

One of the Snacks & Bites was the Warm Sesame Olives ($5), with Southeast Asian aromatics. It seems such a simple dish yet was quite delicious, and would be perfect for enjoying with a cocktail at the bar. The warm, tender olives with the crunchy white and black sesame seeds, were enhanced by the subtle aromatics. I'd like to replicate this dish at home for the holidays. 

From the Small Plates section, the Wild Bluefin Tuna Tartare ($16) is made with tomato water, nuoc cham, tomato ranch aioli, grilled dilly beans, and is topped by a crispy rice paper (which you can see in the first picture). Silky, rich pieces of tuna lay in an intriguing and umami-rich sauce. 

The Nightshade Lobster Roll ($16) is made with local lobster and lemongrass cajun butter, sitting in a homemade brioche. The sweet, rich lobster was enhanced by the slightly spicy and aromatic butter, and the soft, fresh roll was a fine vehicle for the lobster. A decadent treat.  

The Chili Crisp Cream Cheese Crab Dip ($12) is accompanied by a toasted demi-baguette. Although I'm not usually a fan of cream cheese, this dish was compelling and delicious, in large part due to the spicy chili crisp atop the dip. Although the creamy and tasty dip was very good, the chili crisp elevated this dish to another level. And the baguette was hot and appealing, perfect for any bread lover. A perfect dish for sharing. 

As for decadent dishes, the Gratin Dauphinoise ($36) hit that mark! It's made of "fancy scalloped potatoes with fancy af gruyere" and a ginger scallion vinaigrette. It was then topped with Black Perigord Truffles, although you could also opt for White Alba Truffles (for $98). The cheesy potatoes were excellent, but of course the truffles were the star and the potatoes were an excellent framework to showcase the taste of the truffles. It's not a large dish, but there's an ample amount of thin truffles slices. If you want to splurge, this is a well worthy dish. 

The Garlic Noodles ($20) are made with angel hair pasta, confit garlic butter, candied lemon, and fennel pollen. You could also get it topped with lobster for an additional $14. The perfectly cooked pasta was topped by an almost creamy sauce, with a tasty blend of flavors, from the acidity of the lemon to the garlic and fennel. 

On my first visit, I didn't get dessert but did so this time. First, the Dessert Menu has eight after-dinner drinks, from Amaro to a Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer. I opted for the Thai Tea ($7), which is a tiny Thai Tea Mai Tai, and it was excellent! Refreshing and delicious, the tea notes went well with the usual Mai Tai flavors. It wasn't overly sweet and I craved a second one after I finished this one, although I didn't order another. I would enjoy this cocktail during my meal as well, and not just after dinner.

Only one Dessert option was available, the Chocolate Mousse ($10), made with Valrhona Caraibe 66%, china-china and sea salt. What a rich, creamy chocolate with a subtly complex taste with hints of citrus, dried fruit and spice. The sea salt was a fine accent to the sweet chocolate and this is definitely an excellent way to end your dinner. 

Once again, Nightshade offered a top-notch dining experience with some incredible and flavorful dishes. Service was excellent as well. I'm eagerly looking forward to dining there again later this week. 

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