Nit’s Cafe

A recent comment by Brendan on a very old post alerted me to the fact that my review of Nit’s is really, really outdated. In fact, all of my local restaurant reviews are pretty old, so I think I’m going to go through, one by one, and update them. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking for information on something, only to discover that the information is old and probably questionable.

I’m going to start with Nit’s because…well, Nit’s is awesome. The name is a little weird, but that’s because the owner is named Nit. And Nit is spectacular. The restaurant is very small; literally a hole in the wall, but it feels very cozy, and somehow doesn’t manage to be cramped unless every table is stuffed to the gills. Nit’s is often rather crowded, because it’s so popular, but it’s well worth the wait for a table, to watch Nit in the kitchen, if nothing else. While you hang out, you can watch passerby on Main Street and salivate over the menu.

Nit is a madwoman. Her kitchen is probably about half the size of mine, and she will work in there juggling eight dishes at once while rocking out to music. She really is beautiful to watch, because she has this amazing economy of movement and her whole face just fills with joy while she cooks, and it comes out in her food. Every plate really is made with love, as cheesy as that sounds.

So let’s talk about the plates, since that’s probably what you’re wanting to know more about.

The menu at Nit’s is amazingly eclectic, and it’s one of the reasons I love it. Some standards include pot roast, macaroni and cheese, pad thai, thai curry, savory crepes, and tom kha. Despite the mishmash of offerings, everything is really, really good. Also intensely rich and flavorful; her macaroni and cheese will lay you out flat. Nit has brought her own unique flavors to things like pot roast, but I hesitate to call it “fusion cuisine,” because that conjures up bad images in the minds of many people. Let’s call it “awesome cuisine,” because, like nerdfighters, it is made of awesome.

Her pot roast is like touching God. The meat is so tender that it really does melt in your mouth, with these amazing caramelized vegetables and a fiery horseradish sauce that tingles in the back of your throat. Her Thai fried rice comes in a giant pineapple filled with goodies, and she will make it as spicy as you need it to be. Her wild rice crepes have a complex, earthy flavor that makes me feel like I am wandering through a forest after the rain. The ahi tuna salad is like a cool glass of water, with a sudden hit of spice that jolts you awake on a summer evening.

I could go on, but I won’t, since my gushing is a bit embarrassing. Let’s just say that Nit uses fresh, wholesome ingredients and combines them in an innovative and amazing way. In addition, the service is excellent, with really friendly staff who are always happy to answer questions and check on things. Once they get to know you, the staff will go out of their way to address needs that they know you have, like veganism, which brings me to another thing I like about Nit’s; Nit will happily adapt recipes to your needs. If you’re vegan, she will hook you up. If you’re allergic to something, she will come up with something you can eat. Not only that, but she does it joyfully, as though nothing appeals to her more than finicking with a recipe in the middle of crowded dinner service. She will also come out and ask you how it was.

Not only that, but the food comes out on amazing plates of all different shapes and sizes. There’s nothing like a triangular plate to perk you up on a rainy night, especially when you’re drinking a glass of Nit’s Thai iced tea, which is basically a can of coconut milk with sugar and tea added on, almost like an afterthought. It’s amazing.

Although leaving Nit’s is always a sad and somewhat bloated experience for me, I love looking back into the kitchen and saying “thank you Nit!” and having her smile back at me like a loving parent. For that, Nit has secured herself a place on my list of favorite people.

If you’re wondering about logistics, Nit is generally open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday, and for dinner during the same days. These hours do change in the winter, though, so you should give Nit a call at (707) 964-7187 to doublecheck her hours. The menu is also moderately pricy—but well worth it.

[Nit’s Cafe]