NAO at The Culinary Institute of America San Antonio
Wow...what a meal!When the food and service is so exceptional on your first visit that you go back the next night to explore the menu further, you know you've found a gem. Having tried seven dishes over the two meals (not including tastes from my companion's plate), its fair to say there was nothing I wouldn't choose again. The students of the Culinary a institute of America, in their final weeks of study, staff both front and back of house, and provide great hope and promise for the next generation of American chefs. Can't wait to get back to San Antonio, and see what's new.6/12/2013 12:00:00 AMinnovative food, student servicefood combinations different (at least for SA), flavorful and good presentation. We like "small plates" restaurants but portion sizes are bit confusing - some are tapas, some are full size - so it would be helpful to be more consistent. CIA Student servers which we knew going in so don't expect fine dining service but very friendly. We need more restaurants like this is SA!6/8/2013 12:00:00 AMInteresting and innovativeThe food and service is provided by students of the CIA. Food is Latin theme. Food was interesting and delicious. Service was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. Also, good value for price. Would definitely go here again6/4/2013 12:00:00 AMExcellent!! A bit pricy withExcellent!! A bit pricy with a steep tip but it is for a good cause.5/31/2013 12:00:00 AMInteresting Small PlatesI liked the format of the small plates at fixed prices, as it allowed us to taste different dishes. i did not care for the scallop creme brulée, which I found too sweet, but loved our other dishes, especially the cornish game hen with achiote. The service was friendly and helpful. My only complaint is that the wine list is short on sparkling wines, and we were in a mood to celebrate a birthday. There were 2 very odd Argentine sparklers that we did not care for. Fortunately, the waitress let us taste them before ordering a bottle, so we asked for something else.5/25/2013 12:00:00 AMDeliciousUnique menu. Very interesting to chat with the servers since everyone that works here is in culinary school. Fun and delicious!5/24/2013 12:00:00 AMIncrease the portion sizeThe food was very tasty but the portions were EXTREMELY small. I understand the small plate concept, but you shouldn't have to order 3 and 4 plates just to feel like you've had a meal. However, the dessert portions were perfect; they need to adjust the meal portions to match.5/18/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat place.Great place! We liked it a lot. Would come back again for sure. For sure.5/15/2013 12:00:00 AMSlow night but great experience!Went on a Wednesday and it was not busy at all. Very impressed with the thoroughness of the staff calling to confirm reservations even when changed. We were greeted warmly, and seated immediately. The menu is outside our comfort zone but the flavors and presentation were outstanding. The contrasting textures and colors of the food more than satisfied our mouths and our eyes. Service was attentive and timely. Dessert was mind blowing, specifically the concentration of flavors in the coconut quenelle, poached pineapple, and banana dish. Reasonably priced, and the 17% fee goes towards scholarships and awards instead of a tip. This restaurant clearly exceeded our expectations and we will definitely tell our friends. Thank you, NAO!5/9/2013 12:00:00 AMDon't like format of the new menu.As always the food is absolutely amazing, interesting and well done. One problem is that the new format of the menu does not really indicate where in the meal an item should be placed appetizer/entree. It also seems that several items were removed and that the menu is a bit sparse.
The above is not going to stop me from coming but I will need to interview the waiter more.5/4/2013 12:00:00 AMA new group of chefsWell a new group of chef and a wonderful night. The cefs were as energetic and excellent in their craft. Thank you for your attentiveness and execution of our experience!5/3/2013 12:00:00 AMJacqueline Kaiserthe March/Spring menu was fabulous. I love that the menu changes so you get to try a new culinary experience every time you dine. I chose this restaurant for a "girls night out" because I wanted a place to relax, enjoy amazing cuisine and even better company. We were not rushed, each of our courses were explained to us and the wine pairing was made SO very easy by Jerry, our waiter. Prices are exceptional and so is the service.
This is a MUST for anyone wishing to have a dining experience and not just a meal.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMFood and cocktails were great!Food and cocktails were great! Knowledgeable and friendly wait staff. I had to push back time for reservation due to an emergency, and they were very accommodating. Pork chops and scallops were the best dishes out of five plates ordered.4/20/2013 12:00:00 AMWe were on a weekend tripWe were on a weekend trip to San Antonio and wanted to try a culinary institute restaurant. The food was excellent. Our waiter could have been more attentive. He never came to refill my water glass. We would definitely go back.4/13/2013 12:00:00 AMCoolWe were realy excited to visit Nao. We read about and we like a lot that area in San Antonio. Also knowing is a restaurant from the Institute. The hostess was realy friendly and made our welcome special. The food and the ambience was outstanding. Im Brazilian and I love that they serve cheese bread (pao de queijo) as appetizer and in a cool way mix many diverse cuisines.4/13/2013 12:00:00 AMInteresting food, great favors.Interesting food, great favors. Service was a bit spotty on a busy Saturday night. We were seated next to two large groups which raised the decibel level way above our comfort zone. After the groups left the the noise level in the still busy restaurant became "energetic". Because of the noise level I couldn't rate Nao as romantic, however it's special menu and total package certainly are worthy of a celebration!4/6/2013 12:00:00 AMWe finally got reservationsWe finally got reservations and were knocked out. This place rocks - decor, service, food all top notch. The biggest problem? what to eat and in what order. I finally got to taste huitlacoche (they call it corn truffle) in the risotto, the grilled octopus was flavorful and not chewy, my other dish was mahi-mahi ceviche. I was afraid that the dish would be too hot with serrano chili but the flavors were well blended . I found the wine list broad and priced right. If you have not been to NAO leave a little early, it is stuck in the back in an odd place.
PS we made reservations for our next visit at the restaurant during dessert. Oh and don't forget this place as a late night place on Saturday night they are open til 2am4/3/2013 12:00:00 AMA fun culinary adventureFor those looking for a culinary adventure, NAO is a must. The dishes and their presentation are so creative and visually appealing that we took a photo of one of them (four ceviches). The deliciousness of the Chocolate Encounter dessert cannot be described in words, it must be tated. Our server was a gem. He not only looked like an Aztec prince, he was also very accommodating and patient in explaining the different dishes and their ingredients. We took this trip to San Antonio from Houston with the express plan to visit NAO. We were not disappointed.3/30/2013 12:00:00 AMculinary delightGreat place. Unique foods. The menu was a bit overwhelming at first, since most of the selections were so unusual. No matter what we ordered, though, it was all great. The cocktail menu was also eclectic--I ordered a mixed drink made with a Brazilian liqueur I had never heard of, and it started things off wonderfully. Wine menu also very imaginative. Go, dine, and enjoy.3/26/2013 12:00:00 AMAlthough only in San AntonioAlthough only in San Antonio for a couple of days, my experience at NAO has solidified it as a must have whenever I am in town.3/20/2013 12:00:00 AMWonderful tastes, great atmosphereBecause of the portion size you can try three to four plates before getting comfortably full. We tried three ceviche dishes with the Coco and Mango dish coming out on top. The rock soup was very light, the risotto with corn truffles was decadent and the yucca fritters were excellent. The hanger steak was a little charred for our tastes, the scallop was good and the duck leg mole was out of this world. We'll definitely be back.3/16/2013 12:00:00 AMAnother Exceptional Experience!This has been my fourth trip to Nao, and it was just as great an experience as all the previous ones! At this visit as in the last one, I sat at the kitchen counter so I could see the goings on and chat with the chefs. They are all more than eager to explain the food they are preparing. Our waiter, Jaime, was exceptional in recommending and describing the dishes on the menu and paired them with a fabulous Argentinian Malbec. This restaurant is truly a local gem that doesn't disappoint in food and service.3/15/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Place to Eat!I was in San Antonio for a conference and saw that there was a CIA in the area. I made reservations about two weeks before my arrival in order to get a table. Upon arrival I also noticed they had a bakery that I didn't get a chance to check out (bummer, maybe on my next visit). Every dish that my co-worker and I ordered was divine. They are small portions so be prepared to enjoy at least 3 plus dessert (which was heavenly). My only complaint was the Sweetbreads dish which was delicious but only about 2-3 bites compared to the other dishes. Our waiter was such a charming and entertaining young man who took the time to tell us about the dishes we were considering. He had so much enthusiasm! Thanks for making my experience so enjoyable!3/11/2013 12:00:00 AMBest Food in San AntonioWe were visiting the San Antonio area from Pennsylvania and our dinner at NAO was the highlight of the visit. Best food in the area hands down. We enjoyed the experience so much that we have already planned a trip to the CIA's Hyde Park campus to try out the restaurants there.3/1/2013 12:00:00 AM