Nada, the contemporary Mexican restaurant based in Cincinnati, has brought its version of high-end tacos, salsas, enchiladas, bolsas and bebidas to the Aertson Midtown complex. Its casual trendy look and upbeat vibe befits the development, also home to Caviar & Bananas and Henley.

Read the full story here.

By Nancy Vienneau | March 21 | Tennessean.com

First Taste

Step through the massive red-stained wooden doors: The first thing to grab your attention is the bar, and its counter-to-ceiling system of shelves against the window brilliantly displaying spirits in all manner of size shape and color. Nada prides itself on its formidable collection of mezcals and tequilas. And the BOGO (buy one get one) happy hour should prove to be a crowd pleaser.

The menu offers dishes you’d expect, yet in nuanced preparations and some unexpected combinations.   


Basket of hot salty chips with habanero “Kreeper” salsa, freshly made guacamole with a bottle of housemade red habanero hot sauce at Nada. (Photo: Nancy Vienneau / For The Tennessean)

You can’t go wrong with the guacamole, freshly made, with white onion, lime and tomatillo folded into the avocado mash. Your server will bring a basket of housemade chips — hot, salty and slightly oily (all in a good way) and your choice from the trio of salsas to accompany. We were happy with the habanero “kreeper.” Complex and citrusy, the habanero-onion-cumin puree flecked with charred corn kernels has a strong undercurrent of heat that slowly builds.  Note: On each table is a small bottle of deep orange hot sauce, which is straight up habanero. If you want an assault rather than “kreep” of heat, a few drops will do the job.

Next time, we’ll get the queso gringo, hot dip made of smoked gouda, black bean puree, roasted poblano strips and pico de gallo, which we noticed being poured tableside to the wide-eyed anticipation of those guests.


Beer-battered Baja fish taco at Nada. (Photo: Nancy Vienneau / For The Tennessean)

Tacos, stuffed in white corn tortillas, constitute 2-3 bites, and we recommend getting at least two per person. We ordered five different tacos to share, along with two sides.
 
Diced cuts of grilled skirt steak, charred tomato salsa and Chihuahua cream filled the carne asada, which, while predictable, had good charred beefy taste. A light, crisp beer batter encasing the mahi fillet made the Baja fish exceptional. We enjoyed the Asian fusion of the Mu Shu pork belly with cabbage and wished for more ancho hoisin sauce.

The highlight was the caramelized cauliflower taco, dressed up with confit garlic goat cheese, cotija, Fresno peppers and crushed marcona almonds. The only bland one in the batch was the roasted wild mushroom; the red mole was not detectable.


Sweet Chili-Glazed Cracked Potatoes with scallions and crema at Nada. (Photo: Nancy Vienneau / For The Tennessean)

Sides exhibit creativity: My dining companion relished the potatoes — deep fried, then glazed in Thai sweet chili sauce.   I preferred the Ensalada Nada, a generous mix of baby kale, corn, avocado, tomato, pickled red onion and pepitas tossed in chipotle pineapple vinaigrette and dusted with cotija cheese.


Ensalada Nada: baby kale, corn, avocado, pickled red onion and pepitas in chipotle pineapple vinaigrette at Nada. (Photo: Nancy Vienneau / For The Tennessean)

NADA Nashville  

202 21st Ave. S., Nashville
615-925-3362, eatdrinknada.com/nashville/
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday.  
Reservations: accepted
Alcohol: full bar
Food: contemporary Mexican
Cost: Guacamole with 1 salsa and chips: $8. Tacos: $3.75 Sides: $4
Parking: garage, valet