Sunday, August 31, 2014

Play Nice at NIXS Hartford Restaurant

Social Media Sampling
NIXS Hartford 2014
NIXS Hartford - #PlayNice

The Front Street District in Hartford is abuzz with activity. With the recent opening of the Infinity Theater and Ted's Montana Grille, as well as last year's opening of the Capital Grille the area just keeps getting better and better.  With the Connecticut Convention Center directly across the street on Columbus Avenue, the Hartford riverfront district is quickly becoming a destination area, with great food and fun entertainment.

NIXS Hartford, another recent addition to Front Street, is mixing the two with an eclectic menu, a chic industrial modern interior, and a nightlife vibe with its launch of club music on weekends.

NIXS Hartford - Exterior Day

We headed up on a late August Tuesday night for a sampling of some of the snacks, small plates, and large plates available off their extensive menu that features raw bar offerings, sea, land, and garden items, as well as ala carte dinners, and 'comfort' sides.

We started with cocktails off their Specialty Signature Drink menu, taking recommendations from our waiter Christopher. The cocktail menu is fun and features items such as the Beach Please (made with house infused pineapple vodka), Strawberry Rhubarb Smash (Temptation Bourbon and Rhubarb Bitters), Bazzle Dazzle (Bombay Gin, muddled basil), Bad Wolf, (Rye, honey syrup, orange and lemon juice), and the William Fly Tai (Pyrat Rum, Lime Juice, Amaretto).. I elected to stray from my usual sweet drink craving and instead selected the Dirty Rotten Scoundrel (Belvedere Vodka, olive brine, capers, and a blue cheese stuffed olive). It was just what I was hankering for, the smooth vodka, infused with briny flavor, was suitable for sipping throughout the evening.

NIXS Hartford - Signature Cocktails
Signature Cocktails at NIXS Hartford

Moving on to our snacks we sampled pickled beets from the day's chef's daily pickling menu...

NIXS Hartford - Pickled Vegetable of th
Tuesday's Pickled Beets

...and we learned about Captain Nix's Tasting Trio, a special that changes daily and features the Chef's daily tacos, paired with three shooters from the signature cocktail menu.

NIXS Hartford - Captain Nix's Tasting Trio
Captain Nix's Tasting Trio (Changes Daily)
Pictured: Beach Please and Tuna Tartare Tacos

From the Snack Menu we tried the Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs, a delicious starter item, with the smokey bacon flavor permeating through the creamy yolk filling.

NIXS Hartford - Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs
Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

We also sampled the fillings from some of their more popular small bites, a tender pork belly, tuna, and chuck lobster from their famous "Best Damn Lobster Roll". Each bite was delightful and set the mark high for the items that followed.

Pork Belly, Tuna Crudite, Lobster Knuckle and Claw

Next on the small plates menu were a two types of Tater Tots, a sweet crab and lobster.

NIXS Hartford Lobster and Crab Tater Tots
Tater Tots

Next we sampled the tacos, two made with soft flour tacos and the other with a crispy corn taco.  The first was Braised Short Rib Tacos with creamy black beans, green apple slaw, and goat cheese fondue. Of course, these were the Cowboy's favorite, the tender beef was braised to perfection and the apple slaw added a wonderful tang.

NIXS Hartford - Braised Short Rib Tacos
Braised Short Rib Taco

These were followed by the Crispy Fish Tacos with avocado, cilantro sour cream, pico de gallo. The cilantro sour cream and the pico de gallo elevated the flavor to what might have otherwise been a simple dish.

NIXS Hartford Crispy Fish Tacos
Crispy Fish Tacos

Rounding out the tacos, were one of my favorite small plates of the night, the Tuna Tartare Tacos with avocado, cilantro, and spicy sesame mayo.

NIXS Hartford - Tuna Tartare Tacos
Tuna Tartare Tacos

Also available from the Garden Small Plates menu are a variety of flat bread pizzas. We sampled the Margherita Flat Bread made with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and drizled with extra virgin olive oil. Also available is a Wild Mushroom Flat Bread made with Fontina val d' aosta, arugula and ricotto salato.

NIXS Hartford - Tuna Tartare Tacos
Flat Bread Pizza

We sampled NIXS' Chicken Wings that are available in classic hot, honey dijon, or ginger soy.

NIXS Hartford  Chicken Wings
Chicken Wings

It was with the large plates menu that we really found our groove. NIXS Grilled Hangar Steak with a spicy chimichurri sauce. The sauce enhanced the flavors of the char-grilled steak, which was cooked to perfection for the cut, a beautiful medium rare.

NIXS Hartford Grilled Hangar Steak
Grilled Hangar Steak

But perhaps my favorite large plate was the Bad Ass Roasted Chicken, with sweet corn, onions, and bacon, roasted with rosemary.  While rosemary typically isn't one of my favorite spices, this chicken was fantastic, with great fall holiday flavors in every bite.

NIXS Hartford - Bad Ass Chicken
Bad Ass Roasted Chicken

Our last Large Plate selection was NIXS version of Surf and Turf, a  grilled swordfish with candied pork belly. I had tried this combination at the NIXS VIP Opening in a small bite sample so I wasn't surprised at the unusual pairing and already knew how well it worked together. The silky richness of the pork was the perfect accompaniment to the well seared swordfish. The swordfish, just a tad bit overdone due to the super sear, was still moist and flavorful.

NIXS Hartford Surf and Turf
Surf and Turf - Swordfish and Candied Pork Belly

We sampled two of NIXS sides, the Herb Risotto and the Smoked Mac and Cheese. The risotto was excellent, and a wonderful large portion perfect for sharing on our upcoming cool autumn nights. And the Smoked Mac and Cheese was everything I hoped it would be, creamy, cheesy, melt in your mouth good.

NIXS Hartford Risotto and Smoked Mac and Cheese
(L) Herb Risotto and (R) Smoked Mac and Cheese

Our dessert course allowed us to be a little 'hands-on' with our food! A plateful of still warm Zeppoles with a two sides of filling that we could inject ourselves!  A creamy vanilla custard and a sweet caramel sauce!  What fun!

NIXS Hartford Zeppoles
The Whimsical Zeppoles 

Other desserts included a S'more Parfait with caramel pudding, graham crackers, and roasted marshmallows, Scotch & Cereal, a 12 year old scotch infused with Captain Crunch Cereal Milk, accompanied by a Captain Crunch Treat scotch caramel treat. Although the S'more Parfait did include some chocolate chips, the consensus at the table was that it needed a bit more chocolate to live up to its s'more counterpart. We also sampled a dessert cocktail, the Root Beer Float, a frothy little concoction packed with flavor, a light ending to wonderful meal.

NIXS Hartford Desserts
NIXS Desserts - Root Beer Float

Through out the evening General Manager Yaz and Executive Chef John made themselves available to answer questions, checking in frequently with us, as well as other dining patrons.

NIXS Hartford Executive Staff, GM Yaz, Chef John

We loved the casual vibe that NIXS offers, and we're certain that it will soon become a favorite stop for Hartford dining and drinks. Service is friendly and fast paced.

NIXS Hartford - Interior
NIXS Interior

We enjoyed NIXS Hartford and hope you do too! 

NIXS Hartford at Night

NIXS Hartford
40 Front Street, Hartford, CT

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Disclaimer: We were invited to this menu sampling by members of NIXS Hartford's public relations and management team. However, all opinions are our own.

1 comment:

  1. Just hand over the zeppoles and no one gets hurt. WOW! Looks like a great place to eat!


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