I had the pleasure of exploring a fairly new restaurant in Naples called Nektar with MsRev and another couple. The cuisine is Mediterranean and was opened by 2 Albanian brothers. Our meal was superb, although my wallet suffered a mild hangover this morning.
The wives started the evening off with a couple of cosmopolitans while the "men" ordered some specialty cocktails-the Nektar, made with fresh peach,vodka,chambord, champagne, and a few other things I don't remember, and a watermelon made with vodka, fresh watermelon, and watermelon liquer. Great specialty cocktails because of the fresh fruit involved, but a little tough to stomach at $15 a pop. And they don't even add an umbrella!
Starters were calamari ripieni-squid stuffed with a shrimp and scallop mousseline finished on red pepper coulis, seafood bisque, chilled cucumber yogurt, and watermelon salad with red onions, crumbled greek feta, and fresh mint. The squid was wonderful with what we all agreed was the best red pepper sauce we'd ever had. The watermelon tasted like mid summer fruit and was a big hit, as was the seafood bisque. The cucumber yogurt was ok.
We continued with a pasta course of homemade papardelle with sauteed porcini mushrooms with a touch of truffle-infused cream. With homemade pasta and fresh, not dried porcinis this dish was perfect, if not a little rich. Split 4 ways kept this from being a cardiologist's dream dish.
Next was sea bass-oven baked in a fish fume broth over potato puree and asparagus spears, topped with fried leeks, veal osso buco with a variety of roasted vegetables, half of roasted duck with fig compote, charred red onions in a pomegranate reduction served with italian risotto, and braised pork stew with moroccan spices, raisins and sun dried tomatoes over fresh vegetable couscous. The fish was cooked perfectly with crispy exterior and beautifully moist inside. Terrific dish. I felt the sauce with the osso buco was a bit thin and oily. I also prefer risotto or polenta over a vegetable accompaniment. The pork received mixed reviews but I loved the rich, exotic sauce. The duck was also a very solid dish with crispy skin and a velvet sauce. The risotto was a little rich.
Pear Nektar, which is their signature dessert, was served with caramel sauce, ice cream, and some mediterranean spices and was first rate as was the panna cotta, finished with forest berries and drizzled with berry coulis.
Appetizers average $12-$18, entrees $20-$36, and desserts are $8. And of course there's those darn cocktails. The wine list was a bit pricey of course, but there's a few decent selections in the $30-$40 range. I believe this to be one of the best restaurants Naples has to offer. Did I forget to mention the room looks great too?
849 7th Ave. South