Dinner with My Grandson
I dined with my grandson, Austin, this week. Just the two of us. I had come up with the names of several nice restaurants, that I thought he might not have gotten around to yet. Without hesitation, he picked Nixta, the upscale Mexican place on Tower Grove that’s part of Chef Ben Poremba’s culinary kingdom.
Nixta is not Mexican in a Chipotle sort of way. And there’s no marimba band, though a dash of samba music is played outdoors during the dinner hour. The place was once a farrier shop for police horses and more recently a fried chicken shack. But today it looks more like a brightly-hued cantina on the west Texas border.
A Good Vibe
Shortly after we arrived, Austin made a quick assessment of the space. “I like it here,” he said. “It has a good vibe.” Those were my thoughts exactly. Still it surprised me to hear him say that, since there’s a big difference in our ages—and often our thinking. Glancing around the dining room, it was obvious that the place had a wide appeal.
One look at the small, but eclectic menu and you know you’re not at Casa Gallardo. The one-pager listed 18-20 items, mostly small plates in sharable portions. Perfect for two. Like all of Ben’s restaurant menus, it was brief, but inspired. A few of the items had words that my Spanish grammar classes didn’t cover, but between the two of us and our savvy table server, we figured it out.
On the Menu
Below are photos and comments about the small plates we shared: Pepita Guacamole, Crab Tostada, Flautas, and Beef Mole.
There were three desserts unmentioned on the menu: a flan, bread pudding, and one other that slipped my mind after hearing our server speak eloquently about the fruit laced-bread pudding.
I often make bread pudding, but never use anything more fruity than golden raisins or dried cranberries. With all that fresh fruits tucked into the batter, this bread pudding had enough pizazz to dance off the plate.
Meals are best when shared and especially with those who are fond of cooking and curious about foods. Nixta made for just such and evening for me and my grandson.
Nixta, 1621 Tower Grove. Open: Tue-Sat 5p-10p. Thu-Sat 10p-midnight. Late night menu.