Vegetarians in this city are often relegated to more casual eateries when they want to dine out. But human herbivores are prone to the allure (similar to their carnivorous counterparts) of dressing up and enjoying a fine meal out. Enter Nana’s Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci and his new vegetarian and vegan menus at Nana.
"We realized that we were not giving enough thought and effort into this part of our clientele. Care, passion, and imagination can make all foods noble -- regardless of what they are," said Bombaci.
He claims he’s not a “big sauce guy,” allowing instead the natural flavors of the ingredients on his new vegan and vegetarian menus to remain the stars. What Degas was to the Impressionist movement, Chef Bombaci strives for in the often-misunderstood milieu of food deconstruction.
He practices molecular gastronomy by breaking ingredients down to their elemental parts, then reshaping them into something new. His whimsical approach to classics such as spaghetti (cucumber noodles with yogurt, pistachio pebbles, scallions and sesame tuiles) and green bean casserole (deconstructed with Honshimeji mushrooms, fried onion praline and tempura green beans) deserve a try, especially from so-called meat n’ potato-types. Speaking of potatoes, the liquid baked potato (sour cream foam, potato chip “salt” and chive oil) tastes exactly how it sounds. Imagine sipping a baked potato through a straw without losing any of the creamy, salty goodness -- minus the bacon bits of course!
Chef Bombaci peronally recommends ordering the grilled leeks with pan roasted Cipollini onions and confit fingerling potatoes in Romesco sauce and Mojo verde. Bombaci said it takes him back to Spain and puts a smile on his face.
"It has a certain indescribable purity about it. If you add something it will get messed up -- and the same thing happens when you try taking away from it.”
One thing is certain, the addition of not only a vegetarian menu but a vegan 10-course meal also is just plain thoughtful. Many a frustrated (and possibly frail) vegan is sure to appreciate his culinary efforts.