Friday, June 1, 2012


I'll start this entry by saying that we almost never go out for dinner without the kids unless it's a work-related event (i.e., lots of convention center chicken).  So, when some friends proposed getting together for dinner, I was stumped about where to go.  Luckily, one pair of the three has no children, works crazy-mad hours, and eats out all the time.  They suggested Nikko--a place so hip that I had to sit at the intersection reading and re-reading my GPS to figure out how to get to the one way side street it was on.

According to our dining companions, on weekends, Nikko's SoHo-worthy bar is packed with almost a hundred people, which is saying something because it is very small, maybe 15 tables.  The weeknight we went, only about five of the tables (including ours) were full.  Plus, one of our party seemed to know half the waitstaff.  So, our service was fantastic, and we kind of felt the place was ours.

We started out with appetizers.  I went with the organic field green salad; my husband chose the spring onion bisque.  The salad was wonderfully crisp, with a nicely acidic ramp vinaigrette. A great starter.  His soup was thick, rich and topped with a poached duck egg (that's really what sold him).  It disappeared.  He also sampled the cheese flight ordered by another in our party and raved about the taste combination of cheese and wild honey.

When it came time to order dinner, the problems began.  Everyone wanted something that someone else was ordering.  I agreed to split the chicken "cacciatore" with another diner in return for some of his Nikko burger.  My husband got a special: veal chop.  Both the chicken and the veal were accompanied by the most deliciously creamy farro I've ever had.  It made me love farro!!

The chicken was not the thigh as advertised but a French cut chicken breast with sublimely crisp skin, perfectly moist flesh served with a delicate tomato-based sauce.  I stole a bread plate from an empty nearby table to swap a portion for some of the Nikko burger and crispy/salty/golden picture-ready fries.  Because the burger was slightly overcooked in the eyes of the kitchen, the server offered to take it back, but once it hit the table, it was all over but the shouting.  The burger is the size of a large soup bowl, with rich, creamy cheeses dripping down its sides.  Truly one of the best burgers I've ever eaten, and since everyone at the table was able to have some, I can attest that 6/6 felt that way.

My husband's veal chop was similarly delicious (his verdict): covered in caramelized onions and falling off the bone.  He augmented it with some sushi from another plate, both the 7th Level and T-T Flares.  (It's worth noting that he chose to walk back to his parking garage rather than take a ride because he had partaken of too much scrummy food!)

We were having too much fun to end the meal, so rather than do the sensible thing and declare victory, we ordered three desserts (one free because of the hamburger).  I opted for the lemon sorbet with berries (which no one wanted to share ... it was a chocolate table).  He shared a tray (literally) of three peanut butter ice cream profiteroles topped with chocolate sauce.  They looked like caloric snowmen!  And, the last dessert was a rich, flourless chocolate torte that was almost solid black.

By the end of our 3 hour plus dinner, all plates were empty, all stomachs were full, all faces were smiling, and we were planning our next dining adventure.

Nikko really does ROC, combining hip and inviting, cool and casual, exclusive and friendly, with inventive, tasty dishes.  Yay, Nikko!

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