Midwest Living Review
Previously located in downtown Cincinnati under the name Aioli, Nectar Restaurant fits seamless in its new location at Mt. Lookout Square. Chef/owner Julie Francis made the move--and changed the name--in 2006, because she wanted the new restaurant to be associated with local and/or organic ingredients. She makes her best effort to source as much from local growers as she can, not just because it benefits the local economy, but because the flavor and freshness is usually far superior. For a small menu (which changes as often as weekly, depending on what's available), there is good variety: always a vegetarian option, as well as a poultry, fish, and red meat option. Come hungry and definitely order appetizers. The Mediterranean plate ($11.50), for example, is full of flavor teasers: homemade red pepper hummus, local pickles and red onions (which taste far more mild than you'd expect), and wonderful falafel. We can't stop thinking about the veal meatballs ($9.50), which are from a local source, and are topped with possibly the best fried egg ever. The sea scallops and pasta ($24) have a delightful lemon flavor, and the beef brisket ($23) is tender and juicy. The double chocolate cookie and mousse dessert ($6.50) is very good, though not as sweet as you might want; we love the unexpected element of pomegranates and grapefruit, though. Nectar seats just over 60, and it does have a tendency to feel crowded if you are sitting along the wall (which means your neighbor is only about a foot away). But the atmosphere is worth the space crunch. Francis has decorated the walls with art from her stint in the southwest (she previously worked in Santa Fe). There's also a charming courtyard open seasonally.