Nu is a treat. The famous French guide should make sure to quickly award a star to Nu Restaurant and probably rethink a few ones they mantain to some other places if they want to remain a reference. The talented young chef will put to good use the most advanced techniques with the result of a truly enjoyable meal.
Today it was the second time my wife and I have been to this place. As this time we had to seat at the bar, we have had the chance to hold a long chat with both the chef and the owner, who happened to be there and not at his other restaurant where he is the chef (Massana, also in Girona, this one yes, already and very deservedly starred). Well, going back to the young chef, today we understood how he can master all of these techniques at his apparent young age so well: In addition to working for many years at Massana, he has been both at elBulli and El Celler de Can Roca. I will just say that knowing this made me understand the level of cuisine you get here for just about 50 euros per person.
Food: from very good to exceptional. Execution very much above average. The tasting menu at 46.50 euros for ten small dishes is really worth it, even if this being our second time we chose to order a la carte. The tuna tartar according to my wife was the best she ever had. I would risk to say that fish might shine a bit more than meat here. The Japanese influence present in many dishes might have to do with this, or at least it is the perception we got. The prawn's tempura is fantastically done, not oily. I had a risotto that was called simply rice with mushrooms and I don't remember what else that was very well done, creamy and totally like a risotto but a bit more al dente, as I personally prefer. My wife had a table of cheeses she enjoyed very much and I tried to keep away of (I hate cheese) I had veal on top of mashed potatoes and it was very well prepared, but I had better veal before to be honest.
Desserts: Pure Massana. The mastering of balance, not too sweet/not to boring, not too rich/yet so tasty, takes him straight into my podium of pastry chefs alongside Albert Adrià, Oriol Balaguer and nobody else (and yes, I've been to El Celler de Can Roca, elBulli after Albert left, and I also know of the praise people like Escribà or Enric Rovira deservedly get for their skills). To be unfair and criticize the impossible, I'd probably would like to get desserts here more differentiated from Massana's as the rest of the menu is. But if the quality has to resent, please, don't touch them.
Service: Young, very nice and friendly yet respectful, and today, with a full house and as they explained with two people of the regular staff absent, a bit overwhelmed. They pay atention to your requirements and offer to adapt to things like allergies or simply disliking an ingredient (I don't like cheese, for instance) We had to refill our glasses ourselves often, and dishes didn't come late at all but neither perfectly clocked and coordinated. This aspect might be the only one to be improved if they want to please the French ultra traditional guide. Here one has to remember the casual nature of the offer. We are talking 50 euros per person, not 150. Set your expectations accordingly and you will be very pleased.
Atmosphere: It is nice to have a totally open kitchen and the chef preparing dishes in front of you, totally in front teppanyaki style if you choose to seat at the low and comfortable bar. I miss not having any option to have a more intimate seating, as the tables are in a single row not too far from each other, but I understand that the conception of this restaurant and to make the most out of the space didn't permit.
Price-Quality ratio: 10/10 Nu could probably be even better, I have no doubt the ceiling of the chef is very high, but to do so it should raise prices notably to pay for more people to get a perfectly clocked service and buy just top very expensive ingredients. The idea of the owner seems to be that you have his other restaurant if you want to go (and pay) that extra mile.
To summarize, I can just wish for them to keep the good work. We'll follow the evolution of this restaurant and his young chef with interest.
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