I love a good restaurant week. I used to look forward to the release of Atlanta’s various restaurant week menus (Downtown, Midtown, Inman Park, Buckhead…) with excitement. The approach of Jacksonville’s Eat Up Downtown (sort of an extended restaurant week) was no exception. Last year I visited the [now closed--but soon to reopen!] Chew with coworkers. I always try to pick places whose entree choices are more creative than chicken/beef or pork/fish, and Cafe Nola, located in the Museum of Contemporary Art, fit the bill.
I’ll start at the end with this: after finishing our meal, I was SHOCKED that Cafe Nola wasn’t filled to capacity during Eat Up Downtown. The meal progressively improved (maybe just because I love dessert…) and I can’t wait to visit during their typical lunch hours or on a Thursday, when they’re open for dinner. The small but open and airy space is separated from the rest of the museum by glass walls, which still allow you to see the current main installation (always large and impressive) in the gallery.
We started our three-course meal with the grilled peach gazpacho (topped with prosciutto and fried basil) for Mario and Scotch egg (boiled egg encased in housemade chorizo, with smoked almond romesco, lemon zest) for me: