I recently had another great meal at NaHa
. This was my first meal there since chef John Peters, formerly at Alinea, came on board. Even though this meal took place during a brief period of time when I ate at several higher-end places in town, it stood out and was one of my favorites. As always with NaHa
, much of the food was seasonal and local. So much of what appears on NaHa
's menu is identified by its source and I have come to really appreciate that over my visits there. Our meal was thoughtfully prepared, delicious and satisfying. Here are a few images I captured. In order to accurately convey the level of detail in each dish, I've transcribed the captions which appear below directly from NaHa
's menu . . .
Platter of Spanish meats (Iberico Salchichon, Salami and Chorizo, Serrano Ham, Catalonian 'Lomo' pork loin) and cheeses (Garrotxa, Valdeon and Montelerraina). Served with Medjool dates, Piquillo and Piparras Basque Peppers, garlic potatoes, green olives and Marcona almonds
Chesapeake Bay soft shell crab, local Michigan 'Hoop House' tomatoes, 'wild-crafted' watercress and macadamia nut brown butter
Crisp Calamari, arrabiatta sauce, and saffron aioli
Kurobuta 'fresh bacon' pork belly, wood-grilled ramps and Anson Mills soft corn polenta, wilted spinach and fava beans.
Organic carnaroli risotto with spring morels, ramps and dandelion, confit green garlic, reggiano parmesan and Umbrian olive oil.
Gulf of Maine scallops dusted with citrus, spices and vanilla bean, caramelized Belgian endive, ruby grapefruit, mache and mint
'Coddled' organic farm egg and wood-grilled Spanish chorizo sausage with a salad of Italian frisee, smoked 'Red Thumb' potatoes, French breakfast radishes, sweet garlic and herbs
Cannelloni of Jerusalem artichoke, butter poached blue crab, candied Meyer lemon and ' sunchoke' broth
Braised short ribs of beef, wild boar bacon and cauliflower puree with roasted late-spring root vegetables, Swiss chard and artichokes, smoked 'Manuka' sea salt and herb salad
Roast 'Brace' of Quail, La Quercia 'Americano' prosciutto and applewood slab bacon with a 'fondant' of acorn squash, Austrian crescent potatoes, little onions and oregano
New Zealand Barramundi with Provencal ratatouille, glazed fennel bulb, 'babaganoush' and young arugula, 'Riviera' sauce Vierge and French Burgundy snails
Blossom honey 'lacquered' aged Moulard duck breast with glazed young carrots and turnips, broccoli rabe, Sicilian pistachios, pink peppercorns and port
Whole roasted ranch squab with a 'tarte tatin' of cipollini onions and caramelized quince, rhubarb puree, crimson raisins and licorice
NaHa Sundae of vanilla malt ice cream, hickory nut waffle, bananas and bourbon pecan syrup
Valrhona 'Jivara' milk chocolate panna cotta, coconut sorbet, passionfruit 'curd' and young coconut water
We were very pleased with our meal and the service. It's fun to go to NaHa
because it is so seasonally-minded. The ingredients are not only superior in quality but they're often items that are not so easy to find and that makes many of the dishes particularly distinctive. While we were there, I took a look at the lunch menu -- to which chef Peters contributed extensively -- and it looks fantastic. I don't often get down to River North for lunch, since I work in Highland Park but I do have some meetings coming up next month in the city and hope to schedule at least one lunch at NaHa
I should also mention that we ordered a bevy of desserts but only our 2 favorites are pictured above. There were also 2 negative issues with our meal which, in the grand scheme of things, were relatively minor. First, because we were a party of 6, a gratuity of 18% was automatically added to our bill. While we did leave a little bit extra on top of that, I can say without question, that we would have left a bigger tip had this not been the case. Secondly, we waited almost 20 minutes for the valet after our meal. I know this is not actually handled by the restaurant but it's still worth pointing out, in case anyone reading this is planning to valet park at NaHa
. If possible, taking a cab/pub trans or walking to NaHa
is probably a better option than driving.