Friday, February 26, 2010

RW Day 6: Dinner at Naha

My one absolutely must-go-to restaurant during RW this year was Naha, especially after reading about Chef Carrie Nahabedian and her Mediterranean and Californian influences. When I saw Naha's RW menu, I was impressed by its seasonality and number of options listed per course.

I arrived early so I decided to have a glass of wine at the bar while waiting for the rest of the dinner party to arrive. It took a while to get the bartender's attention so I didn't bother asking for a wine list and assumed that whatever cabernet Naha serves by the glass must be spectacular. At $14 a glass, it did not disappoint. The lounge/bar area is chic yet friendly. The energy is lively but not too loud.

After we were seated, we decided to choose a wine for dinner. In an effort to clear out wine cellar inventory, Naha is offering several bottles in $30, 50 and 70 categories. The server recommended two wines from the $30 section. We felt a bit scoffed at but understood that most people coming in are probably there to take advantage of RW prices and are not going to splurge. Instead we chose a bottle of Syrah (need to call Naha to find out the name). It was a bit young but opened up quite nicely. Heavy on fruit, not very peppery, but full bodied.

We placed our food orders. I asked about the cheese offerings of the day. I responded that I love both of the cheeses, he seemed extremely pleased that we actually knew our food. Overall, he was nice and mostly attentive, albeit a bit distracted due to the packed restaurant.

Shortly after, my rich cremini mushroom soup, foraged winter mushrooms and moroccan argan oil “cappuccino” arrived and it did not disappoint. It was a chilly day, and the soup hit the spot; it was rich but not heavy. I was extremely pleased. 

I was eager for the divine sounding entree to arrive. Cannelloni of acorn and spaghetti squash with "Sylvetta" arugula, buttermilk ricotta and seckel pears and spaghetti squash, apple cider, and chervil. The cannelloni was light and airy. The argula added a peppery zing and the buttermilk ricotta added saltiness, both a nice complement to the cannelloni. The starchy spaghetti squash with apple cider held the dish together well and cut the sweetness of the cannelloni.  Everything worked harmoniously and tasted incredible. I was very happy.

Finally the cheese plate arrived. The first cheese was fromage d'affinois (cow) double cream, smooth, creamy, mild and spreads like butter. The second was pleasant ridge cheddar (cow) nutty, mild, hint of mushroom. Both are cheeses were accompanied by black cherry preserve and hazelnuts in honey.

My dining companion had the parfait of tropical winter fruits, rice “pudding” and mango sorbet. The parfait was crowned by an extremely thinly sliced dried pineapple. Unusual combination but the tangy and sweet components worked well together. Delightfully refreshing end to an exquisite dinner.

I really enjoyed my meal at Naha. It certainly lived up to my expectations that had built up over the last three years!

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