As I thought about our dinner Friday night at "Nectar Restaurant" 1000 Delta Ave( Mt. Lookout Square) Cincinnati, OH 45208 (513) 929-0525 I couldn't help repeating, to myself, the first lines of the refrain of "Swanee", the song Al Jolson made famous. If I'm not mistaken it goes;"I've been away from you a long time. I never thought I'd miss you so". That pretty well sums up my feeling about Julie Francis' interesting, well thought out offerings which she always prepares with style, flavor and attractive presentation.
Julie personifies the "locavor" movement. She has always stressed locally grown, fresh, organic products and items produced by individual small producers who either grow or process into other items that are based on item combinations, such as pickles or kim-chee, jams or spreads. She also has instigated a "Dinner Club" whose four course, price fixed, menu includes one item used in the preparation of all four courses( mustard to mushrooms).
After, you know what(Bombay), I decided to sample 3 first course offerings for my meal.
Starting with Shrimp Fritters I then moved on to salad and ended with a plate of scollop's and sweetbreads.
The Shrimp Fritters(3) were crispy on the outside and moist within. Each contained a medium sized crustacean. They were topped with small dab of mustard, mayonnaise remoulade type sauce and came on a bed of chopped mango and avocado- delightful.
Next the salad, and I should have stopped there, came, filling a large bowl with mixed organic greens, beets, sliced apples, candied pecans and large blue cheese crumbles. The dressing, which seems to me to be an oil and vinegar mixture, whipped and possibly slightly thickened may have had a touch of honey or some other sweetener. It was a meal in itself and the flavors blended beautifully.
My semi-main, course was the combination of scollop's, sauteed, with golden edges and sweetbreads, crisp and mild. They were surrounded by citrus sections, orange and grapefruit, and drizzled lightly with a lemon butter. I am a sweetbreads devotee and I have feeling Julie starts preparing them when we make a reservation.
My only slight disappointment was the shared dessert, which I certainly did not need. It was listed as a pear and Michigan cherry cobbler, with vanilla bean ice cream. I mentally envisioned a light pastry, crisp with lots of fruit; instead it was a fairly heavy dough with some cubes of pear and a few cherries. next time I'll lobby for Cherry Pie Ala mode.
Marilyn had a sliced sirloin, medium rare, served on cous-cous with dried cranberry's and pine nuts. One does not have to eat innards.
Julie promises real calf liver, another favorite, within the next couple of weeks and so it wont be a "long time" before I'm back on the "Swanee".