I’ve been wanting to try Nini Meatball House in Griffintown for some time now. The relatively small restaurant’s captivatingly pure aesthetic draws us in like moths to a bright white flame but its what’s on the menu that really piques our interested.
Last week a handful of Montreal’s media gathered at a table to sample a few items from Nini’s recently revamped menu. We kicked the evening off with a couple of cocktails before digging into the food. The cocktail menu is a concise collection of creatively named drinks that make choosing difficult. I tried The Weasley (a delicious blend of spiced rum, fresh ginger, lime juice and ginger ale) and The Napoleon Negroni (make with gin, Lillet blanc, Napoleon Manderine and orange zest). Both cocktails were refreshing a remarkably flavourful.
Getting to the main event, we each chose a few items from the dinner menu. Nini’s plates are meant for sharing and while the individual servings are generous, they still leave enough room for picking and choosing from your neighbours plates. To start we chose a few items from the entrée menu of which the Asian inspired salmon tartare, the Mexican flavoured beef tartare and a wonderful arugula salad with apples, celery, raisins, endives, sunflower seeds and all drizzled with a pear vinaigrette really stood out. I’d go back for more beef tartare without hesitation. Both both the beef and salmon tartare were fresh and didn’t rely on heavy spices to get their international flavour inspiration across.
It wouldn’t have been right to go to Nini Meatball House without having tried a meatball. We ordered a splattering of meatballs and sides from the menu and before we knew it the piping hot plates were coming out of the kitchen. Each plate was perfectly presented, a no-brainer for a restaurant who has put so much into their eye-catching atmosphere. I sampled the beef meatballs in tomato sauce and parmesan, the beef meatballs with bacon and cheddar in a smoked BBQ sauce, the chicken in a “red hot” blue cheese buffalo sauce and the veal parmesan in a spice tomato sauce. The attention to detail in selecting the ingredients that went into each dish made each meatball stand out. The smoked BBQ sauce and the spicy tomato sauce were equally well crafted and the meat in each of the balls was cooked to perfection. We also tried the creamy mashed potatoes, the rigatoni and the lime chili edamame the side dishes.
I enjoyed my first visit to Nini Meatball House. It’s a great choice for those looking to have a relaxed night out with a few drinks and quick bite. Depending on how hungry you are you can add a dish or two as the night moves on. I didn’t walk away from the meal stuffed but I was satiated. I was absolutely impressed by the decor. The almost pure white atmosphere was the perfect backdrop, allowing the food to really shine as the star of the show.
For more, visit the Nini Meatball House website here.
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