Monday, July 28, 2008


I consider Nana's to be one of the three most prestigious restaurants in Durham. It's been open since 1992, but last Thursday night I went there for the first time. I took a friend there as a birthday gift and it was certainly a nice gift for me as well. She ordered an heirloom tomato and Chapel Hill Creamery fresh mozzarella salad with a red wine and shallot vinaigrette and fried okra. She gave me a small portion of it and it was excellent. I'd never eaten okra cut into anything other than small slices, but it works quite well sliced lengthwise, too.

I had a bowl of tomatillo and cucumber gazpacho with Peeky Toe crab. This was great and was pleasantly tart. I like that it looks as if it's the square root of the crab, but then I am more than a little geeky.

My friend also had the beef filet over broccoli rabe and roasted red peppers with a sweet potato gratin, finished with a wild mushroom sauce. Considering I don't eat beef and don't like red peppers, sweet potatoes or mushrooms, I'll just say that it was a lovely shade of brown. She seemed to rather enjoy it, though.

For my main meal, I had the house cured Scottish salmon gravlax with black rice pancakes, roasted pepper creme fraiche, with a local French bean and cucumber salad. This was wonderful. The black bean pancakes, which appeared to have just a little bit of black rice in savory pancake batter were absolutely adorable. The salmon was perfect and the creme fraiche was lovely. I could not have been happier with this dish, which was only $9.

Finally, we shared an order of Nana's creme brulee while enjoying a mild argument about just how huge this was. I thought it was gigantic, but I was also already quite full and steeling myself for eating three quarters of the dessert. The dish was shallow, but it was also about the diameter of a grapefruit. In any case, it was a very nice serving of creme brulee in all respects and the blackberries were splendid.

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