That mentality kicks off with the kinds of nibbles that naturally pair up with the bar’s libations: addictive olives, well-appointed cheese and charcuterie plates, a few fresh oysters and creamy, dill-flecked deviled eggs garnished with a luxurious caviar finish. They’re all fine; terrific, even. But then the real fun starts.
The spectacular meatballs could be the centerpiece of a first-rate red sauce joint, that’s how good they are, an almost pillowy blend of chuck roast and pork shoulder, milk and Parmesan, served in a lively, marjoram-packed tomato sauce. Because McCabe-Johnston rarely repeats herself, it’s difficult to grow restless, although the reasonable prices will encourage repeat visits.
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This Uptown small plates eatery is a labor of love for the couple, who fuel their enterprise with culinary careers that include stints at the renowned haute cuisine / sophisticated famille fare duo of Alma and Brasa (Carrie) and 14 years of bartending at Mortimer’s (Jasha). And when it came to putting together the restaurant’s beer menu, they found another love story at the heart of a beer brand that they’ve turned into the Nightingale hallmark: Boom Island Brewing Company, the Belgian-style beer made and sold by Qiuxia and Kevin Welch. “They came out here and we did a tasting with them, and it was husband and wife, doing their thing, and husband and wife, doing our thing,” recalls McCabe-Johnston. “It was great seeing people living their dream as a couple. It mirrored what we’re doing here.”
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