Midtown's Nonesuch was just named "Best New Restaurant" by Bon Appetit magazine. Its founders came together at an earlier dinnerclub pop-up called Nani. We're reposting this Issue #2 story in honor of this incredibly talented team.
Nani Dinner Club is a bit of a phenomenon on Instagram. Their tiny, artful dishes shine in that miniature square world, though I’ve seen more effusive postings by diners than the “Nani Boiz”—Andon Whitehorn, Colin Stringer, and Paul Zimmerman. Can we call Nani OKC’s first Instaraunt? Of course we can. If they can do Choctaw-Japanese fusion, is there anything the rest of us cannot do? That is the point of a place like Nani.
Being from a place like Oklahoma, a lot of people feel if you want to experience something new or out of the ordinary, you have to go someplace else. But we believe that we've had extraordinary things here all along. You just have to look for them. –Andon Whitehorn
At Nani, our group delighted in food conceived with great creative flair and intention, and executed with zealous precision. Their dishes center on composing few elements—no more than five most times. Wild foraging, infusing, preserving and from-scratch cooking are adhered to with fervor. Meals consist of eight to 10 courses, amuse bouches, and coffee service.
The crew’s social media reveals romps into the woods for mushrooms twisted from a log or aromatics snipped from a meadow. An African tortoise named Norbert presides over a greenhouse in the yard that blooms with herbs and edible nasturtiums. Though Whitehorn’s Choctaw heritage is often tied to Nani’s wildcrafting ways, is this not a practice shared by all of humankind?
Blessedly, it’s BYOB. Our group came well-armed with an arsenal of decent vintages, a bottle of small-batch whiskey, Hibiscus Strong Tonic, and a blood orange. It added a jolly note to our gathering as wave after wave of gorgeously composed tastings poured forth.
We savored slivers of venison tiny as the tip of a pinky finger, wild crafted herbs floating in elegant sips of broth, wisps of seaweed and dustings of cocoa like debris on the plate after an Oklahoma earthquake.
But once on the tongue, these seeming nothings utterly transformed our tasty adventure. It was quietly epic, frankly. We have one caveat: some might find the portions overly small. After our meal, Territory Publisher Trey McNeill gave a mischievous grin and said, “So where are we going for dinner?” Trey ended the night with a big plate of chicken and dumplings at R&J Supper Club.
Not me, I was satiated. Not by OKC’s notoriously huge portions. I was satisfied because all of my senses had been turned on, and tuned up. I was deeply contented because I could not ask for more from an Oklahoma dining experience than the Nani Boiz gave that night.