Saturday 1 August
Our friends Lynne and Tom are both experienced and adventurous when it comes to food. So tonight we four went out to try one of the more experimental local restaurants, located in an tall and otherwise unremarkable town house across the river in Kentucky: Nuvo.
It's prix-fixe dining with a hipster vibe: you choose a four-course or eight-course meal, with our without wine pairings, of whatever the chefs want to serve you. What's more, the chefs really do serve you: they come out and put your plates on the table, tell you why they made whatever it is that particular way, and even see that the music is adjusted to your liking. It's pleasant, a little casual, and not overanxious, though the food is as trendy as all getout in both method and presentation.
Our four-course meal started with lagniappetizers (yes, Barbara just posted that on Urban Dictionary): gougères stuffed with local cheese from a lost Kentucky creamery, served on a slab of slate; a row of wheatberry crackers topped with mint and zucchini curls; and a colorful little salad of summer tomatoes and green chile slices.
Next came a bar of sea urchin topped with tiny pansies and nasturtium leaves fresh-picked from the front porch, with a side of melon and carrot discs on lemony puddles, served with fresh, fizzy vino verde.
Our fish course was crisped line-caught salmon in a sea of foamed cucumber, served with salmon roe plumped up by gin, cucumber slices charred or cubed, and leaves of sorrel. Our drink was unfiltered saki, which reminded us of the brem we had in Bali.
On to meat: tiny cubes of pork belly and a pearl onion ringed with a few Parisian-style gnocchi, in a light sauce, accompanied by a glass of pinot noir (unfortunately the bottle ran out during Tom's pour, but when we mentioned it, they opened another bottle and topped him up).
And at last, a dessert plate composed of a slice of brandied peach, a mound of curry ice cream, squares of cornmeal cake made with grits, a little crumble, and poufs of poppyseed meringues, served with glasses of 10-year-old Ferreiri tawny port.
Picture the conversation going full-tilt all evening, much of it about the unusual flavors and inventiveness of the food and drink. And at the end, the chef even brought out little paper packets of coffeecake for us to take home for breakfast.
We were rather impressed with what they're trying to do at NuVo, and we want to go for their eight-course meal as soon as we've got the three hours it probably takes.