When an establishment is described as a “neighborhood restaurant” and I don’t live nearby, I’m not quite sure whether I’m supposed to dine there. Do they not want outsiders or are they saying the food doesn’t warrant a commute? Food for thought.
Nido, in the Woodridge area of northeast DC, calls itself a “unique neighborhood bistro with eclectic Mediterranean cuisine.” A friend who lives a few blocks away from Nido is ecstatic about having a quality restaurant in such close proximity. She entices me to visit with texts of her food photos.
Nido is on the border of Prince George’s County, a mere 30 minutes from where I live in Montgomery County. I’m unfamiliar with the area that DCist names DC’s hottest neighborhood. The restaurant is on a rapidly changing Rhode Island Avenue strip that includes Zeke’s Coffee and Rita’s Italian Ice.
Nido exudes warmth and vitality. The decor features white brick walls, light wood furniture and floors, Mediterranean tile, and artistic renderings of birds and wooden birdhouses to go along with its name. Nido means “nest” in both Italian and Spanish. The concept is small plates highlighting seasonal ingredients. Diners are meant to nest here with companions, enjoying the food and imbibing in liquid refreshments, including specialty cocktails featuring vermouth.
The menu divides into simple sections of snacks, vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, and large plates. My three dining companions are pescatarian and one is gluten free. For once I don’t feel as if I am making sacrifices in adhering to their needs. Nido has plenty of options.
What I like most about Nido is that the dishes incorporate fresh, quality ingredients and deft spicing to make them distinctive. They aren’t fussy or over-produced. I’m impressed with each dish, and think about the meal fondly a week later when I visit a more established DC destination restaurant where our selection of small plates are mostly lackluster.
We are a discerning group when it comes to patatas bravas. This rendition is nicely crisped, and the accompanying sauces are pleasingly zesty.
Pan roasted trumpet mushrooms with pickled fennel (no photo) is a smoky and seductive dish. Cavatelli with cauliflower, chickpeas, roasted tomatoes is topped with creamy ricotta cheese. This hits another high note.
Squid Ink Tagliarini with uni butter, pickled chilies, capers, and trout roe is one of the more off-beat offerings. It’s a dish I would probably do without on a future visit. I’m not convinced that the combination of capers and roe is a winning one.
Nido is owned by Boundary Road co-owner Karlos Leopold along with business partner Erin Lingle. Executive Chef Aaron Wright was a former sous-chef at Tabard Inn. Reasonable prices make an enjoyable experience even more palatable. Most dishes range from $6 to $13, with the exception of large plates, currently ribeye ($48) or basque seafood stew ($37).
We enjoy hanging out at Nido, and conclude that it’s a great neighborhood “roost-aurant” no matter where you happen to live.
Nido, 2214 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, DC 20018