Saturday night, Ted and I decided to try a little place near us called Nibblers. It’s located in a strip mall in the next town over, and I really like the idea of the place. They do sustainable food, and it’s all local and very fresh. As much as possible, they get their ingredients from the local Farmers’ Markets. As a matter of fact, I found out about Nibblers a year or so ago when they opened, and they had a booth at the Farmers’ Market, where they were giving out really yummy samples of something or another on a corn chip, and I’ve wanted to try it out ever since.
I would call it a tapas bar/wine bar combo, similar to another local restaurant that I love, Va De Vi. They had a very large selection of wines, and the servings are what is called, “small plates”, meaning there’s not much there. That’s OK with me, as I often like to try little bits of several things at restaurants.
It’s disappointing, then, to report that we really disliked our meal. We started with flash fried spinach, which was kind of how it sounds…spinach that has been very quickly deep fried in very hot oil, so that it’s crisp, sort of like a potato chip. It’s a clever idea, and I enjoyed the surprise of the crunchy texture. Unfortunately, all I could taste was the oil and salt.
We then tried a Jambalaya Cake, which was sort of like a crab cake. Again, all we tasted was the oil. Getting tired of olive oil at this point, no matter how local and sustainable it might be.
Next was a salmon dish, which really LOOKED like fresh salmon, but tasted to me like canned salmon. Not fresh, overcooked, blah. I didn’t finish it. Ted was very hungry, so he finished his, but he didn’t really enjoy it.
Last, we had some potato wedges with an aoli. The potatoes were probably the best thing we tried all night. The skin was crispy, the inside was tender, the flavor was mostly good…but still, they tasted far too much of oil.
We were in a bit of a rush, so we didn’t have any wine with our meal. I think some red wine might have cut the taste of the oil in our mouths. As it was, we had to eat or drink something when we got home to get the greasy taste and feel out of our mouths.
To be fair, we didn’t mention our disappointment to our waitress. The service was fine, but as I said, we were in a hurry, so we didn’t really have time to try to suss out if there was a way to salvage our meal or not. Having worked in restaurants, albeit many years ago, I know that this isn’t fair, and doesn’t give the staff a chance to fix things. On the other hand, I kind of felt like we should be able to pop into a cute neighborhood tapas place and try a few things on a tight schedule, without having to go into the sort of negotiations that would have come next. Want to try something else? Want some wine? Desert? No, we just need to go. That sort of thing.
I doubt we’ll give it a second chance. The meal wasn’t terribly expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either, and there are plenty of other restaurants in our area where we can get a reliably good meal. Too bad. I really wanted to like it.