Adventures in Eating & Cooking
With the conclusion of University City’s Dining Days (mini-Restaurant Week), I shall begin sharing my entries on the few restaurants I had tried. For the $30 deal, Ninja-Kitty and I chose Nan Modern Food, a classy little Thai-French fusion restaurant on the corner of 40th and Walnut. Based on outwards appearance, the restaurant really doesn’t look like much, but the interior was in the style of a bright French cafe.
I was allowed select one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert. Three courses. Me armed with a variety of French silverware. Bring it on!
Before they even brought out the courses, we each got a complimentary baguette roll. And oh, how could I turn down warm French bread? It had a thin crisp shell that made a fine crackle sound when biting in, but the innards were soft and doughy. I liked the yeast used for rising as the bread had a rich flavor with a hint of wine. Pretty good for a bread basket representative.
The appetizer won me over. Buttery, succulent portabello mushroom sandwiched between a two flaky, layered pastry in a pool of creamy white wine sauce. The rich white wine brought out the proteinaceous meaty flavor of the tender mushrooms. The pastry could have been puffier and fluffier, but it was still as delicious as freshly baked pie crust.
I chose the Hawaiian Walu entree, which was pretty good but not amazing. (Most entree dishes do not impress me.) The fish was well-seasoned with pepper, chewy on the outside and tender on the inside. It was probably baked to create these textures. The sauce resembled sesame oil with tropical undertones.
The Peach Crisp dessert came a la mode with some vanilla bean ice cream. It was pretty much an open-face pie, only with a churned up, cinnamon-spiced crust. What could go wrong? At first I had some doubts that the peaches might have been canned, but the sweet old lady who served us proudly announced that she made it all herself from scratch (including the ice cream and peach filling). That was impressive.
The service was polite. We appreciated that the waiters treated us just like all the other customers despite the fact that we were poor college students who wouldn’t be there if not for Dining Days. Overall the food ranged from decent to great. At times I felt that there was lack of flavor, but I truly enjoyed the upscale dining.
My main complaint is that the description “Thai-French fusion” is very misleading. The food I had eaten that day were all categorized as French cuisine, not that I have a problem with French food. (I actually love French food!) I had just expected more of a blend of spices and tastes. It leaves me wondering: Is this what all Thai-French fusion taste like, or does true marriage of the two create something even more spectacular…?