Nao Latin Gastro Bar is providing a new and savory lunch menu with the help of students from The Culinary Institute of America.
In order to perfect the lunch menu, the restaurant took the time to create a learning environment for students, where they learned how create innovative dishes and how to offer a memorable dining experience. With the help of Chef/Instructor Justin Ward, the students were able to cultivate the South American culture with new dishes including Jicama Tacos and Crème de Tequila Tres Leches.
“The process of creating the menu included developing the recipes, testing the recipes and designing the plate,” Chef Ward told La Prensa. “We utilize what is in season and what is obvious to the extent. For example, when fish is in season, we start cutting up, seasoning and learning how we can be set apart from other restaurants, but also to stay within the guidelines of the American food. We use a contemporary twist on the menu.”
La Prensa recently stopped by to try the new lunch menu Nao has to offer, and I must admit, I have never bit into so many juicy, tender, light and colorful items in one menu. The best part of the restaurant was entering and being greeted by students happily waiting for our presence. It is nice when a restaurant adds a personal touch.
As we sat down, the Grilled Octopus came to welcome us. With botija olives, baby arugula, purple potatoes, smoked lemon and roasted garlic mayo, you can taste the citrus and smoke blended together – an ideal choice for those who enjoy a kick to their fish.
Then, an old favorite, Jicama Tacos, came to our table; and with the green mango slaw, avocado and chamoy sauce, you taste a raw, crunchy taco that would remind many of the little stands in Mexico.
The best thing to try on the menu is the Sea Scallop Tostones. With a pineapple, radish, orange and cilantro emulsion, you get sweet and tenderness all in one bite.
The restaurant also added a seasonal Salad Bowl with mixed green, almonds, variety of fruits and orange-cumin vinaigrette. This salad is worth every penny as you bite into greens and charred beets, making it a smoked salad.
Desserts were also astonishing when you taste a hint of Tequila in your Créme de Tequila Tres Leches cake or have a student serve tableside vanilla bean ice cream with toppings for you to choose from. It was a dining experience that gave lunch a cordial way of doing things with the help of the staff and the colorful food on the menu.
“I think a lot of people want to know where their food comes from, what ingredients we use and how it is prepared,” said Stephany Vargas, CIA student. “There is a lot of flavor involved; there is a lot of texture, colors and seafood involved in giving the dishes a character for customers.”
The lunch menu is offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nao Latin Gastro Bar, located at 312 Pkwy., also continues to provide professionally staffed dinner service, helmed by Executive Chef Zach Garza. For more information, please visit www.NaoRestaurant.com.