Monday, August 14, 2017

Nightingale

Nightingale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato So this happened at Nightingale tonight: Our server tells us their pizza are "big" because they are 12-inch. At 12", that is at the larger end of Neapolitan-style pizza, sure. But by any other yardstick, a thin 12" pizza for $17 is not "big".
Maybe she was trying to set our expectations, or maybe it was just a reminder of price inflation / paying for name / paying for ambiance / whatever you want to call it.

It's family-style / tapas-style, which is pretty much synonymous for wanting you to order several items per person to share, meaning your bill is going to be about 2-4 times what the average menu price looks like. For Nightingale, it's gonna look like $45 before tax and tip.
Four is a good number. Any more and each dish needs to be more or less doubled up for everyone to have a good bite.

Cranberry Ginger ($6 non-alcoholic)
  • Not a bad substitution on the somewhat commonly seen ginger lemonade.
  • Good bite but not so much as to linger in the back of the throat.
  • Mostly drink, not that much ice, unlike some places that can stack your drink at half ice.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - cranberry ginger

Baked sweet potato, jalapeño, crispy prosciutto, crème fraîche, scallion ($12)
  • It's just bacon bits on a sweet potato. Really.
  • Recommend you pass on this as there are more interesting things to order. But if you do get it and want any chance of this not tasting just like a creamy sweet potato, make sure you HEAP those bacon bits on. We had to cut and share our pieces so I didn't get that experience and I can't guarantee you it won't still taste like sweet potato, but you'll be less disappointed at paying $12.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - sweet potato

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - sweet potato

Oven roasted cauliflower, sunflower seed, green harissa ($12)
  • Good and interesting flavour, and nice colours especially with the use of purple cauliflower.
  • Not so roasted that you taste too much charring which can really ruin something like this in a hurry.
  • Interesting green paste that looks like pesto but tastes like curry. Has some spicy-heat buzz but not so much and nothing that lingers in the mouth.
  • Winner. Get this and don't share.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - cauliflower

Grilled duck hearts & gizzards, kumquat, shiso, pink peppercorn, dark soy ($14)
  • Good charring on the duck bits if you like that flavour. However, if you only like that, then order something else for $14. I'm sure you can get that BBQ taste experience elsewhere more cheaply.
  • If you use the sauce and garnishes where the complexity of the dish comes in, watch out. Kumquat bits were overpoweringly bitter enough to ruin it for me.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - duck hearts and gizzards

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - duck hearts and gizzards

Pacific halibut ceviche, avocado, radish, lime, shiso, crispy quinoa ($18)
  • Looks pretty, and crispy quinoa is fun.
  • Pieces of halibut so small (each piece is around the size of two kernals of corn) and hidden under everything it's honestly hard to tell how much fish you're getting and how much pretty garnishing. (Can you even spot any fish in my picture?)
  • Taste is okay though hard to assemble with the fish. Felt more like eating a fancy salad.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - halibut ceviche

Black truffle, zucchini, fontina, fior di latte, ricotta salata ($24)
  • Dunno what those black flakes are but honestly it looked like something charred instead of truffle. In any case the truffle flavour and aroma were faint -- which is not good for a black truffle pizza. For $24, pass.
  • Of course you don't want to overdo the truffle flavour and overpower the richness, but at the same time a truffle pizza shouldn't predominantly taste like pizza crust with melted butter spread on it.
  • Yes, I know there are other ingredients on the pizza. But every bite still tasted like pizza crust with melted butter.
  • I've seen pictures where it's terribly blackened at the edges but ours turned out quite okay. I even checked the bottom and no it wasn't burnt.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - truffle pizza

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - truffle pizza

Grilled octopus, mustard greens, chickpea, lemon aioli ($19)
  • I got to try just one piece of octopus and overall the dressing on this was pretty decent.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - octopus

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - octopus

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - octopus

Cavatelli, braised lamb, roasted tomato, green garlic, caper, pecorino ($16 small, $24 large)
  • We got the $24 large plate to share. Yeah, the pictures are for the LARGE plate of pasta, so if you're hoping for a cheap carb to help make your meal a filling one for your party, think again.
  • Pasta had good firmness. In any case, pasta just brings sauce to your mouth so don't worry too much about the shape.
  • Of the sample I got, the tastiness of the sauce was hovering around slightly better than average since most tomato-based sauces are too salty. This one wasn't.
  • Recommend passing on this one to get something more interesting. At a place (and price) like Nightingale, I recommend against anything that ultimately tastes too much like something pedestrian. Go for the interesting compositions.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - cavatelli

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - cavatelli

Seared albacore tuna, green bean, crispy chickpea, green olive, romesco sauce ($24)
  • Nice COLD dish that works IF you are careful about using too much of the sauce as it can be salty enough to kill this dish.
  • Crunchy chickpeas were a fun touch.
  • Pricey but worth trying.
2017-Aug-14 - Nightingale - tuna

2017-Aug-14 - Nightingale - tuna

Spaghetti, manila clam, jalapeno, scallionm, white wine ($14 small, $22 large)
  • My photos show the LARGE order. We were six and by the time it got to the last two persons in our party of six, there was barely any pasta left for a tablespoon. I'm not supposed to have shellfish so I passed on it anyway. Just be aware of the portion for the price. Even for four persons, you won't get much of a good taste with the large order.
2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - spaghetti with manila clams

2017-Aug-14 Nightingale - spaghetti with manila clams

Service tried to be attentive but I think overall they were still understaffed on a busy Monday. If there is a long pause between dishes it seems they do try to get in there and get you fresh sharing plates -- which honestly is very nice because of all the sauces all over the place.
After our orders maybe things got busy because it was hard to find our server to order dessert. In the end we had stayed so long that some of our party had to go and we had to pass on dessert. In any case, we were nearing two hours and with others waiting either for their reservation or to get a table as a walk-in, I personally felt conscious of just sitting at an empty table with nothing in front of us.

Music is loud upstairs so watch out if you want to chat with your dining party. Seemed to get louder after 7pm.

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