Restaurant: Nina May

This review of Nina May is different than any review that Washington Watch has done in that it is based on two visits to the restaurant that Debbie and I had with different people.

The first visit was with Carol and Martha. The second visit, a couple of weeks later, was with Stan and Max.

The restaurant was opened in November 2019 by Colin McClimans, Executive Chef and Danilo Simic, General Manager. The restaurant is named after the daughters of the owners of the restaurant, Colin’s daughter May and Danilo’s daughter Nina.

The two owners met when both were working at Equinox. Colin was there as chef de cuisine for over six years. Danilo learned to be an award-winning bartender/mixologist. Colin is from D.C. while Danilo is from Serbia, as was our server Jelena on our first visit. Notably, Jelena is the only female server in the restaurant.

On our first visit to the restaurant, Danilo recognized me as a regular diner at Equinox.

The main door for the restaurant is on a corner of the building. From that entrance to the left you can see several outdoor eating areas. At our first visit we walked through the entire restaurant to reach several outdoor opportunities. Along the way there is a long and complicated stairway to the second floor which I did not attempt. There is a rooftop patio with a retractable ceiling.

There is a permanent outdoor section where we were seated on both visits. There are other outside areas on the same side of the restaurant, some of which are uncovered and others that are not.

The building wall of the section in which we were sitting was in part, a “green wall” with flowers interspersed.

The seating, which is backed against the building wall, is a bench with a heavy blue cushion. Tables in this section seat from 2 to 16 people.

The table at which we were seated on our first visit can be used by up to 6 people but when we were seated there it was organized for four people. On our second visit we were seated at a table which will hold a maximum of four people.

It is noisy and increasingly so as the area fills up.

There was a long table next to us against the same wall that held 16 people who were there enjoying someone’s birthday.

Service is not fast, but you do not feel you are waiting too long between the delivery of each part of the dinner.

There is a chef’s choice section at $55 per person and for which there must be a minimum of two people.

It is also possible to order a la carte – with different items from different sections of the menu, including some things from the chef’s choice section.

Each person is given a tag with a QR/code which the diner can photograph with their phone and bring up the menu. Paper menus are available on request.

Our first visit was with Carol and Martha.

Carol, Martha, and Debbie ordered Seasonal Margarita – tequila/agave/ lime/seasonal fruits

I had a non-alcoholic cocktail- 0% Espresso Martini – g-street espresso/cane sugar/orange essence

For dinner, for the table we ordered – Herb Scented Parker House Rolls

Carol and Martha – Chef’s choice – (at least 2 people required)
Butter Poached Northern Neck Asparagus
Crispy Virginia Oysters with Carolina Gold Rice Cakes
Black Pepper and Egg Yolk Rigatoni Carbonara
Black Garlic Glazed Royal Trumpet Mushrooms
Pastrami Beef Brisket
Sticky Toffee Pudding

Debbie – a la carte
Butter Poached Northern Neck Asparagus
Crispy Fried Spring Chicken

Mike – a la carte
Black Pepper and Egg Yolk Rigatonie Carbonara
Grilled Whole Stuffed Rainbow Trout
Arugala Salad
Warm Carrot+Shenandoah Valley Carrot Cake

Our 2nd visit was with Stan and Max.

For the table we ordered –
Herb Scented Parker House Rolls
Chioli Marinated Prawns in Pita
Butter Poached Northern Neck Asparagus

Stan ordered
Autum Olive Farm Pork Schnitzel

Max Ordered
Mid Atlantic Rockfish Fillet

Debbie Ordered
Pistachio Crusted Shenandoah Lamb Loin

Mike ordered
Carrot+Cumin Spaghetti with Carrot Top Pesto…However, what was delivered to me was Grilled Pennsylvania Jerk Chicken.

When this mistake was pointed out to our server, he was properly embarrassed and agreed to replace it with the dish that I had ordered. I told him that it was not necessary. He offered that I would not be charged.

Two desserts were ordered for the group. Vanilla+Lavender Custard with Rhubarb Compote and Moon Valley Farm Carrot Cake.

When our server brought the bill – he said that dessert would be free.

There are two gender neutral restrooms just past the kitchen. They are quite small. There are grey rectangular tiles on the floor and whiteish corrugated tiles to just above waist height. There was a ladder in the corner which appeared to be decorative. There is a square wash basin with black fixtures. A large triangular mirror above the washbasin. There is white ceramic floor-based commode.

Nina May
1337 11th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001