In his weekend review, Michael Bauer pined for the streets of New York and proclaimed North Beach to be the closest alternative here in San Francisco. In the “vibrant, changing” neighborhood, Nua is a “sleek and cool’ Mediterranean wine bar and restaurant. Nua centers around a three-cuisine motif (French, Spanish, Italian), and for the most part, pulls it off with flying colors, earning the little space three stars:
The menu is filled with bold dishes, including house-made spicy sausage ($13) coiled into two piles and served with a salad of cucumber, fennel, a restrained sprinkling of mint and a white balsamic vinaigrette that balances the richness of the meat.Bautista coats prawns ($11) in paprika, garlic and a splash of sherry, and pairs mussels and clams ($12) with garbanzo beans, bits of andouille sausage and red bell pepper. Wild local salmon ($27) is enhanced with bacon and meaty black trumpet mushrooms, but it’s the accompaniments of white asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and a slightly acidic sorrel sauce that set the dish apart .A highlight of my three visits was the Parisienne herbed gnocchi ($14), tender puffs in a silken butter sauce that picks up the flavor of the baby artichokes, mushrooms and Pecorino Romano cheese. The portion was so small I would have needed two servings to be satisfied.
Along with some questionable portions, the biggest gripe that Bauer had with Nua was over the “inconsistent” selections from the 200-bottle wine list. Despite the professionalism, one waiter’s choices “fell flat,” though we suppose it could have been an off-night, particularly since the wine pairings on Bauer’s other two visits were ” interesting and dynamic.”
French, Spanish and Italian cuisine converge at Nua [SFGate]
Nua [Official Site]
[Photo courtesy: Chronicle / Deanne Fitzmaurice]