Back in the middle of the semester a friend and I decided we missed the restaurant life back in our respective homes too much and decided to whack our wallets and try the (supposed) best that Durham has to offer - Nana's Restaurant.
We decided to go for the 5-course tasting menu (did I mention I missed the restaurant life? Summer was a pampered, glorious time.) They apparently switch it up periodically, and for better or for worse (undecided), they changed it just a few days before we went, so this was their tasting menu for October.
Foie Gras Torchon with 7 Seeded Wheat Bread & House Jam
Now the name sounds a lot fancier than what it is, which is basically a slice of something pate-like a few thin slices of bread, and jam that tasted like pureed caramelised onions. I was hoping that the wheat bread might have been toasted really crispy, but it was just somewhere in the middle, which didn't do much for me.
Pan Seared Coastal Grouper over Roasted Cauliflower, Pedron Peppers and Local Fairytale Eggplant finished in a Sungold Tomato Brot
Once again, very fancy, long name. (On the other hand sometimes I go to restaurants who list their dishes like "nuts, seeds, pheasant" and I'm equally confused) The fish was well cooked and came apart nicely, but in my opinion the plate was a bit too oily.
Risotto of Slow Cooked Veal Breast, Local Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet English Peas finished with Parmesan Reggiano
Generally I don't eat a lot of risotto, but this year I've been having more of it, and every time I come across it, I grumble at how difficult it is to take a nice photo of a lump of mushy rice. Nevertheless, nice consistency, loved the sliced parmesan.
Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib over Broccolini, Balsamic Red Onions finished with a Roasted Garlic Sauce
I quite like my meat, and obviously this turned out to be the best dish of the night for me. Slow cooked beef. Three amazing words that taste even better in your mouth. Meat pulled apart gloriously and just melted in your mouth. Broccolini was a disappointment though, it barely helped the dish (more to its detriment in my opinion), though the baby potatoes were good. Either way, considering the kind of overcooked, dry meat I've been receiving in my dining hall, eating this was like drinking the ambrosia of the gods. I'm not kidding.
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse with Saffron-Pistachio Brittle & Smoked Sea Salt
I was kind of hoping for a more spectacular and aesthetic dessert, so I was quite disappointed when something as blunt as a ramekin full of chocolate mousse topped with a dash of powder came out. But there are two kinds of desserts - the kind of delicate, flavourful, surprising combinations that are often arranged in a manner worthy of a museum; and there are the old favourites that just pander to your sweet tooth. And this is the latter. The mousse was amazing (if you've tried the one at Vin Rouge, Nana's is much better) and smooth with enough cocoa (so not too artificially sweet), and the sea salt... When I got the first crystal of sea salt the taste lasted in my mouth for at least 20 seconds. Worked amazing with the chocolate. Finished the whole ramekin. Would have ordered seconds had I not just had three courses before that (and house bread).
Considering the fact that the five course meal was $55 (+ tax + tip + uber fare), it was a decent price to pay for a night out to just forget the fact that I'm In College And I Have No Idea What I Am Doing and to attempt to relive my glorious foodie days of summer. (Also taking into account the fact that having a honestly mediocre crepe and soup at Rue Cler for lunch cost me slightly under half the price.) Although, in my opinion, it was a bit disappointing considering its touted on TripAdvisor as Durham's number 1 restaurant.
2514 University Dr #104
Durham, NC 27707