Jacksonville, FL 32202
Visiting down town Jacksonville on a Thursday is a great idea. Not only can you see the marvelous collection at MOCA for free, but after your are finished, have dinner at Cafe Nola housed in the same building. Serving lunch and dinner this spot is well respected in the area. Chef Cathy Collins, showcases seasonal cooking with an emphasis on locally grown and produced foods.
Aizan Velekete & Govis these beautiful objects are on permanent display, second floor
When you enter, Cafe Nola is directly to your right, and clearly marked. Seating comprised of tables and booths are adorned with crisp white table cloths. A full bar is available and they offer some amazing craft cocktails.
The one below is a combination of Three Olives Vanilla Vodka, Milkis Korean cream soda, orange juice, Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
We started off the food portion of our evening with Haricot Vert Frites these were tempura fried and sprinkled with parmesan-reggiano accompanied with a snappy horseradish aioli and the Ricotta Toast composed of house-made buttered semolina bread house made lemon ricotta citrus drizzle sprinkled with micro-arugula.
I have never had the Harcot served this way, but it was certainly the best flavor and presentation I can remember. Crisp, bright green with freshness and amazing when dipped in the aioli.
I reluctantly shared with with my companions, bread still warm and buttery, ricotta creamy and sweet balanced our the tartness of the citrus drizzle. Stunning dish all around.
We moved on to the entrees, two of us ordered the Filet Mignon a five-ounce Seminole Pride Angus Choice tenderloin accompanied with roasted fingerlings, asparagus, rainbow carrots, just a hint of Bing cherry and cabernet sauvignon pan sauce, sprinkled of micro-arugula. The meat was perfect in every respect, tender, cooked as requested, but for me the veggies were the star of the dish. Crisp and crunchy keeping all the freshness with just a hint of cooking.
Next dish was one of the nightly specials, Trout with crispy Kale. I have just started eating Kale, and any Kale that makes me think of potato chips is a happy event. Fish was blackened as requested, moist and not a bone in sight. Stellar presentation.
Our last choice was the Asian Noodle Bowl a spicy vegetable noodle salad with cucumber, peanuts cilantro, sesame seeds, dressed with chili-citrus vinaigrette. You have your choice of protein, this salad is the chicken version, tender slices of white meat moist and well flavored.
This was probably the most flavorful dish of the night, the marriage of soy, cilantro and peanuts was very refreshing.
We wanted dessert but the only items available was gelato so we declined.
I have to give Cafe Nola high marks, I like everything Chef Collins, presents and it is clear she loves doing what she does, it is evident in her food.
So treat yourself, take a trip downtown, and check the calendar Jacksons Night Market is held the third Thursday of every month in Hemming Plaza directly across from MOCA. Local vendors present their wares, from fresh make bakery items, soaps, candles and local farmers bring in honey, vegetables and other gifts as well as live music and food trucks. There is a parking garage nearby so parking is not an issue. This is a fun way to spend an evening and support the area.
Categories: American Food