Saturday night we met friends at NuVo (527 York St., Newport KY) for a highly anticipated meal by a team of committed locavores. Chef Michael Peterson told me that approximately 85% of the restaurant's produce comes from local sources. That includes the only red meat on the summer menu, bison (a.k.a. buffalo) from Vista Grand Ranch in New Richmond, OH.
Our meal was outstanding, beginning with excellent, warm yeast rolls topped with a little melted butter. For appetizers, two of us had the farmers market salad (pictured above, left) with a garlicky pesto vinaigrette, one ordered house-made minestrone soup, and I had hazelnut encrusted scallops with puree of yellow squash and banana with brown butter.
The entrees were superb: homemade fettuccini with lobster, pancetta, tomatoes, and lemon corn emulsion ($23); roasted pork tenderloin with broccoli smashed potatoes and blackberry balsamic sauce ($22) and seared polenta cakes with farmer's cassoulet, spinach, and peach chutney ($17). But the best of all (IMHO) was my husband's Sookhoo seared red snapper with vanilla and orange glazed vegetables and annatto seed spiced rice ($20, pitctured at right), a marvelous marriage of flavors that had him saying "oooh, yum" after almost every bite.
After all that, we had to try the desserts. My husband and I split the strawberry-rhubarb cobbler with dark chocolate gelato while our friends had a slice of cream-cheese tarts with berries and key lime creme brulee. I found the desserts somewhat less impressive than the first two courses, but maybe I was already too satiated to quite appreciate them.
Nonetheless, when our server (Megan--Chef Michael's fiancee) delivered a post-dessert treat of chocolate-caramel truffles, I found room for one!
All in all, my favorite bites of the meal were the yeast rolls at the start and the delectable chocolate truffles at the end. Later, Chef Michael told me his younger sister made both.
The wine list is very short and tends toward New World choices (Australia, Chile, California), many of which I was not familiar with.
Bottom line on NuVo: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. See their website at http://www.dinenuvo.com/. Bon appetit!