By Stephanie Wilks
April 19, 2012
the not too sweet passion fruit margarita
You’ll find a wide selection of delectable margaritas here, mouth-watering double fried chips and guacamole, delicious gourmet tacos, and many regard it as one of the top places to “see and be seen” in Cincinnati. Know what I’m talking about? If you guessed Nada, on the corner of 6th and Walnut downtown, then you guessed right.
At first glance you might think Nada is successful because of its fortuitous location—situated across the street from several popular bars and directly next to the Aronoff Center. Locale certainly provides for a steady stream of diners, but there’s more to this restaurant than that.
Perhaps it’s the atmospheric play of raw elements that set Nada apart. The rustic wooden outdoor benches and tables, detailed metal exterior, tall polished vases, and deep gold lighting transport me to the deserts of Arizona. Or, maybe it’s the staff—stylish, imperturbable, and always on their toes. When I asked to be seated in the bar by the window, rather than in the dining room, the hostesses didn’t hesitate to accommodate my request.
And then there’s the food to consider.
The gazpacho available in the spring and summer months isn’t your average chilled tomato soup. It’s made with fresh beefsteak tomatoes and a slice of pureed French loaf to add depth and texture. Greek yogurt is portioned on top of the soup, and it’s finished with corn and cucumber salsa, tiny fried croutons drizzled with olive oil, and habanero tomato vinaigrette.
the delightful ceviche
One of my favorite starters at Nada is the ceviche. The fresh scallop, shrimp, and squid are marinated in a citrus tomato salsa and placed in a tall cocktail glass, served cold. And if you haven’t already taken a swan dive into a Dos Equis or fresh fruit margarita, Nada’s drinks accompany any appetizer or meal quite nicely.
Nada’s tacos are indisputably some of the best in town. It’s not necessarily a complex concoction of spices that make them so flavorful, but rather, the preparation. The shrimp tacos, for example, are slowly poached in a butter salsa verde sauce before added to the dish. The crispy pork belly is braised in the oven, sliced and flash fried to order. The carnitas taco consists of pork shoulder braised in chicken stock and a little orange juice with chile de arbol. Let’s not forget about the baha fish taco—savory white fish lightly battered and fried for a crispy, yet soft and silky taste
Beyond the menu, “waiter-ing” is of equal importance to achieving a superb dining experience. Walking that fine line of engagement isn’t always easy, but for the waiters who’ve mastered the skill, as your patrons, we want to thank you. Sure, we like you interested in our meal but not so much so that we can’t enjoy it. By valuing the customers—with timely served courses, knowledgeable staff, and eager to please attitudes, we come to value the restaurant all the more.
So, if you’re looking for a place where the food and cocktails are reliably delicious, the location is popular, the atmosphere refreshing, the crowd stylish, and the service impeccable, then Nada is the place where “nothing” means everything.
P.S. Nada is hosting their annual Cinco de Mayo bash with house DJs P-Tuck and Matt Joy on May 5th. To see last year’s review of the party on iSPY click HERE.to top ↑