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Nina May
1337 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Cost: $$$
Our bill: $159.47 (food, beverage, tax and tip)
Our rating: ★★★★★
Vibe: Casual
Cuisine: New American
Reservations: yes, recommended

A friend of mine and blogger, Laura, suggested we try out Nina May as she used to work with one of the chef/owners. Unlike our usual date night with just the two of us, we decided to mix it up and go on a triple date night with two couples we are friends with that love food just as much as we do. This is definitely a spot you want to go to with someone who appreciates food (as you’ll see why below).

As we weaved through the two stories of the restaurant before we got to our table on the rooftop, we noticed that the inside is light and clean with a very coastal vibe. We also noticed on our way in that there was a ground patio area with string lights that will have generous outdoor seating in the warmer months.

As mentioned prior, our table was on their enclosed and heated rooftop (it is open air in the warmer months). We were the first table there and it felt like we had a private room until others started showing up later in the night. The chairs were comfortable and while the heaters kept everyone fairly warm, Nina May thought of everything as they had flannel blankets on the back of each chair for you to use if you were cold.

Our thoughts:

The menu at Nina May is eclectic, seasonal, and unique. They really boast about their ingredient sourcing — nearly everything on the menu is locally sourced within 150 miles around DC.

Our server gave a little insight on the menu: everything is shareable and family-style. The chefs created the menu based on what they eat at home. Their comfort food but slightly elevated.

She highly suggested the Chef’s Choice, which is essentially a dining experience where you put away the menu and let the chef send you dishes that your entire table will enjoy. Dishes keep coming until your entire table is content and we can attest to that. We were stuffed and we had 15 different dishes and you had the option of requesting seconds of your favorite dish(es).

We thought this was the best value at $39 per person and also a great way to taste pretty much the entire menu. The only caveat is that everyone at the table must participate, but after you see what we got, we’re fairly confident that you will not have any issues convincing your table of making Chef’s Choice your dining experience.

This is everything that came to the table:

  • Housemade rolls
  • Heirloom Carrot and Brown Butter Cavatelli
  • Egg Yolk Fettuccini with Little Neck Clams
  • Roasted Baby Beets with Grilled Radicchio
  • Stewed Marrow Fat Beans with Oyster Root
  • Stuffed Rainbow Trout with Braised Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Cornmeal Polenta with Pickled Celery Root and Smoked Trout
  • Bone-in Mid Atlantic Fluke Glazed with Honey Garlic
  • Pumpkin and Herb Crusted Maryland Quail
  • New Frontier Bison Tartare with Texas Toast
  • Crispy Maryland Porchetta
  • Lemon & Thyme Roasted Pennsylvania Chicken
  • Roasted Moon Valley Rainbow Carrots
  • Chicken and Buckwheat Croquettes
  • Onion Rings with House-Smoked Carrot Mustard
  • Carrot Cake (a la carte, dessert is not included with Chef’s Choice)

The cocktails were great. Our table ordered the Mandarin Delight probably about six times. It was so bright and refreshing in flavor! Aaron, as usual, ordered an old fashioned which he really enjoyed.

Additionally, Aaron noticed they were making their sour mix from scratch when we walked in and said that’s a sign they care about their craft. Their beer list is limited, so don’t expect a list of crazy brews. Drinks were about the $11-$14 range, which is typical DC prices.

Quick tips

Reservations are always recommended (easily made online), mostly for rooftop and in the warmer months, expect it to be busy. There are two bars, one on the main level and one upstairs next to the rooftop so if you did a walk-in, bar seating would be an option.

Looking for more DC Date Night ideas? Plan your perfect date night here!

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