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Nina May - Chef Colin McClimans' and GM Danilo Simic's Local and Sustainable Modern American, Logan Circle

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End of staycation = eating out.

Eating out + pandemic = eating outdoors

Outdoors + summer in DC = hot & muggy

Hot & muggy outdoors requires shade + refreshing food

All that led us to Nina May last night (Wed 7/8/20).

Nina May has plenty of outdoor seating, with ground floor tables and covered rooftop tables.  We sat on the covered rooftop and a large oscillating fan kept us from burning up.

To start, we ordered 2 Little Neck Clams with Wild Watercress (shaved radishes, herb butter, chard tomatoes) and Spring Onion Focaccia (with pickled pickled ramps and whipped ricotta).  So each clam order came with 1 slice of foccacia.  So we really didn't need a separate order of focaccia, but we didn't know just from reading the menu.  The clams were fabulous even if a little on the salty side, especially with the herbs.  They's gone in 60 seconds.  The focaccia themselves were okay -  I wouldn't order them again by themselves.

Next we had 2 salads from their vegetables selection.  Maryland Cherry Salad with Fresh Arugula (toasted almonds, marinated cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette) and Bob’s Grilled Romaine Lettuce with Shaved Parmesan (cured egg yolk, herb focaccia croutons, anchovy vinaigrette).  I really liked the former, was ambivalent about the latter.  I never thought cherries would go well with arugula, but the vinaigrette balanced both out.  The grilled romaine had that charred taste which was not my favorite.

To make sure we leave stuffed and happy, we finished with Prosciutto Wrapped Rabbit Porchetta (rabbit sausage, fava bean salad, mustard vinaigrette) and Ramp and Ricotta Agnolotti with Spring Lamb (fava beans, forest mushrooms, crispy shallots).  Both were excellent.  The rabbit being rabbit looked a bit dry but had great flavor.  The agnolotti were al dente.  Both were served with lots of delicious veggies so we probably could've just skipped the salads.  We'll know better next time.

Even the kids didn't want dessert after that pig-out. 

P.S.  I don't want to get sick but I still want to eat some great food.  Eating outdoors is my compromise.  I can heartily recommend St. Anselm, Albi, Cranes and Nina May.



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Went back to Nina May because the clams were so good last time.

Started with a new dish on the menu - Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Hushpuppies with DIY smoked remoulade.  The hushpuppies were excellent (soft and moist), although I'm not sure there were sufficient amount of crab meat in there to be distinguishable.  There were dabs of mayo and ketchup and other herbs to make your own dipping sauce.  They gave us some complimentary biscuits that were good but we really didn't need more carbs.  The last starter was the excellent Maryland Soft Shell Crab with corn relish, blueberry mustard, pea tendrils.

Our second course were 2 orders of clams.  This time, they used a red sauce as opposed to the white sauce we had last time.  They really undersalted the dish and then charred the focaccia so I didn't quite enjoy them as much.

Lastly, the Rabbit Porchetta (same as last time, and just as delicious) and Fettuccine with Tomato and Green Garlic extra virgin olive oil, basil, garlic chips.  The fettuccine was very garlicky and I think the pasta, while al dente, may not have been handmade in house.  Nevertheless, it's a tasty dish.  

We went early (had 5:30 reservation).  It was hot and not many people were there.  I hope more people go out to eat later in the evening, otherwise we won't have any fine dining restaurants left after the pandemic ends.

IMG_4924 (2).jpg


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Another visit to try some old and new dishes.

The old - clams

The new, quail and cavatelli with rabbit leg confit.

This was my third visit, and they gave me a little amuse of one bite gyro, and they comped me a glass of Simonet Blanc de Blancs.  I thought the pasta dish was pretty amazing, the quail pretty tasty, and the clams plentiful.  

The neighborhood continues to be sparsely trafficked so sitting on the patio with large fans was fairly enjoyable even in the summer heat.




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We did the chef's choice takeout at Nina May a few weeks ago and we LOVED it. Everything survived the 20 minute walk home and another hour or so of sitting on the counter because we weren't hungry yet. 

When I got there, around 6:15pm on a Friday, the patio was pretty full and there were three other to-go orders getting taken out. Hope they continue the good things and can stick it out through these COVID times.

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The Chef's Choice looked so good that we ate outside notwithstanding it was only 40 degrees at best today.

We were seated at the upstairs patio (early 5:30 reservation gets the sheltered tables) that is mostly protected from wind by clear plastic tarp.  There were overhead heaters that imparted some warmth.  Be sure to dress very warmly!

For $70, we got the following:

Winter Citrus + Red Beet Salad crispy salsifi, shaved radish, lemon vinaigrette.

Charred Onion + Braised Lamb in Pita Bread pickled cabbage, cilantro yogurt, kimchi brussel sprouts

Cacio Pepe Agnolotti of Carmelized Onion and Ricotta Cheese parmesan reggiano, toasted black pepper, fennel fronds

Little Neck Clams with XO Sauce salsa verde, shaved radishes, braised leeks

Red Wine Braised Chicken parsley gremolata, creamy polenta, smoked mushroom jus

Chocolate Layer Cake caramel buttercream, cocoa nib tuile, bourbon caramel 

We ordered extra clams because we love clams.  The chef must love clams as well since they are almost always on the menu.  They did not disappoint - in fact there were 3 winners tonight, the clams, the lamb, and the agnolotti.  We might order just those 3 items next time. 

Soon after we sat down, we received the salad, the lamb/pita and an order of clams.  The lamb was moist and flavorful - wish there was more of it.  The clams were obviously fresh - the only thing we missed was bread to sop up the sauce with.  The salad was refreshing - I'm sure my body will thank me later for eating veggies.

Our second round consisted of the pasta and another order of clams.  I only got 2 agnolotti while the kids fought over the plate.  

Lastly came the chicken.  I gave the kids the dark meat (drumstick and thigh) while I ate the breast.  The breast was a bit bland and dry but the kids praised the dark meat and even asked for some breast meat.  They even ate some of the creamy polenta.

For dessert, we were comped a chocolate mousse, in addition to the chocolate layer cake which was a part of the prix fixe.  The cake had a distinct bourbon taste which turned off the kids so they attacked the mousse.

Next time, we'll probably just double up on the 3 winners.

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Nina May has lots of outdoor seating.  There's a mostly enclosed upstairs patio, there's a mostly enclosed downstairs patio, there's a shed-like structure with partition and tableside heaters on the street, and a few open air tables.  We had brunch a couple weeks ago and again today.  The highlights were short-rib beef Wellington, cacio e pepe agnolotti, tortilla Española with a hint of smoked salmon, and clams with XO sauce.  As a parting gift (for dining there semi-regularly), they gave us a piece of carrot cake.

warm roasted oyster mushroom salad - for the fungus lover


short-rib beef Wellington


left to right, cacio e pepe agnolotti, clams XO, waffle and pork schnitzel.


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We ate here on the heated upstairs patio two weeks ago and had a really nice dinner.  Chef's choice.  We had a beet and radish salad, lamb pita, dumplings (not a ravioli, but I forget the shape) in a cream sauce, clams with XO sauce, roasted chicken and key lime pie.  We had just had a really good key lime pie from Red Truck Bakery, and this one wasn't quite as good, but everything was prepared nicely. It was nice to eat outside and the patio was nicely heated. It wasn't the meal of the century, but as we hadn't eaten out in months, it was the meal of the last few months for us.  I would definitely go back on the strength of the outdoor seating alone. 

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Ah, this was a tasty dinner! Also, the service was lovely and pleasant and so so helpful. Also, despite the lack of a bar to sit at, the space was lovely and very comfortable.  We will be back. We will bring friends.

So, yesterday was our anniversary, so we were celebrating. First time in the last few years we have been able to go OUT OUT OUT for it. And you know, that is what we love to do! And so we spent the day doing museums. (There will be museum raves too.) Then dinner.

We had the Chef's Choice menu, which was tasty. (Note that they asked about dietary restrictions, and I said no cilantro. So there may be cilantro in it, but not in what we had.) We started with drinks - it was cold outside, so I had a mulled wine and he had an old fashioned. Both tasty. We asked for advice on wine to go with the dinner, and both the waiter and the manager recommended a Sancerre, which the boy always loves. It's one we have had before - I think at Kinship? We were uncertain. Might have been Corduroy. So we went with that.

The chef's choice tonight was:

First course:

Warm Carrot + Shenandoah Valley Arugula Salad
toasted hazelnuts, blue jay cheese, burnt honey vinaigrette (Good, even though I do not love arugula. It was baby arugula, so tasty. The carrots were amazing. The cheese was very light and creamy. Not sure what the tiny seeds were. Also, "blue jay cheese" is an amusing name that lends itself to good jokes.)

Crispy Carolina Rice + Mushroom Fritters
braised short rib, fermented black radish, whipped burrata (Very good, the meat had a bit of a north African flavor.)

Second course:

Cacio e Pepe Agnolotti of Caramelized Onion + Ricotta Cheese
parmesan reggiano, toasted szechuan peppercorns, fennel fronds (I loved this, even with the szechuan peppercorns which are often too much for me. Not here. The boy was sad that he didn't get more, but... because of the next thing that I don't want, he only got some, and ALL of the - )

Little Neck Clams with Bloody Butcher Corn
bouillabaisse, haruki turnips, braised leeks (I don't eat seafood. He said it was all good except for the turnips. He like those turnips raw, so I guess they aren't his thing cooked.)


Thyme + Lemon Roasted Pennsylvania Chicken
tarragon and chili yukon potatoes, horseradish gremolata, caramelized chicken jus (Delicious. The tarragon in the potatoes was quite nice. The skin was lovely and crispy.)


Salted Chocolate + Caramel Torte
italian meringue, chocolate crumble, orange zest (Oh nom. Although the crust was just slightly undercooked, IMO. He got a grand manier, I got a montenegro amaro. Both tasty and we swapped glasses several times.)

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I went here for my birthday last summer. Sadly I don't remember many details, but I do remember that everything was delicious and the service was lovely. I don't know if it's still there, but they had a nice outdoor set-up in the street (and thankfully it wasn't jungle hot and humid that day).

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6 hours ago, dracisk said:

 I don't know if it's still there, but they had a nice outdoor set-up in the street (and thankfully it wasn't jungle hot and humid that day).

The streetery is still there. It was FAR too cold and windy for that yesterday!

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