I went to the Italian Restaurant Nero in the end of August 2008 in connection with a business dinner. I have been there a few times before and it has always been a real pleasure (as you can see from this review http://eatingoutinstavanger.blogspot.com/2007/10/bravissimo-nero.html
We came to the restaurant at about 7 PM and as always it is a pleasure to return to Nero as they have a personal touch to it. When we arrived we were greeted with a handshake by Sebatstien, one of the owners of Nero, and we were led into the bar in order to have an aperitif before sitting down. We visited the restaurant in the middle of ONS week (one of the largest oil & gas conferences/exhibitions in the world) and this has some negative side effects of course. I was hoping to go for the 7 course dinner but instead I found out that they "only" had a 5 course dinner and the prices had been adjusted up :-( But what can you do...it is the same all over town during this week.
Anyway, we went into the bar to have an aperitif before dinner and I asked if I could get some sparkling Italian wine and to my big surprise Sebastien had to inform me that they didn't have any. So I went down on my list and asked for a Kir Royal and once again Sebastien had to inform me that he couldn't serve it as they were out of Creme de Cassis. I can accept the fact that they don't have creme de cassis at an Italian restaurant but it seems a bit strange when they don't have some Italian sparkling wine. But Sebastien saved the day by suggesting that we go for an Americano - no, not the coffee but the drink made from Campari, Cinzano Rosso and club soda. It was a tiny little drink at least when it was 100 kroner (18$) per glass.
Soon we were ready to get seated and we got our first dish pretty fast. Well, it turned out that it was not the first dish but just an appetizer from the kitchen: some olives, ham and some sort of bread. We also got our first wine of the evening...and Italian sparkling type wine that reminded me of a a rosé wine. It was good with the first appetizer and the following dishes. The second appetizer from the kitchen was a pea soup served with caviar (big style) and some fish. Eating large fish eggs is always a bit of an experience...it is a strange sensation to feel the eggs pop in your mouth :-)
We finally came to the first real dish of the evening...the wonderful, rich and creamy lobster soup served with crab on top. This has become a signature dish of Restaurant Nero and it is delicious indeed :-) Next we moved over to another starter: a huge ravioli served with chicken pieces, foie gras and apples. I have to admit that I enjoy fois gras in limited amounts and this was just right :-) Next in line was the first "main" course and the fish of the evening was the turbot served with black caviar on top and served on a bed of vegetables. Again a nice dish and the fish was perfectly prepared. As a resting dish before the main meal we got a tiny little dark berry shake :-)
I'm a bit ashamed to say that I'm not quite sure what meat we had for the main meal but I think it was lamb (I guess that is what happens when you don't take notes when you are eating). But what I do remember is that we all thought it was nice and it was served with Brunello wine on the side :-) To round of the evening we got the tiramisu served with dark, dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream on the side :-) Sebastien claims that this was made after his mothers recipe and it was very, very tasty and the dark chocolate ice cream was very rich :-) We also got a sweet dessert shot after this to round of the entire meal. In the end we ordered some coffee and my colleagues wanted cognac but to our surprise they did not have any cognac at all...just grappa. This is a bit strange as Norwegian love their cognac after a good meal :-) But I was even more surprised to see that the waitress had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for a limoncello. The bill this evening was about 6100 kroner (1125$) which is more expensive than the previous times I have been there.
This was another great meal at Restaurant Nero but as you might read out of my review this time there are a couple of issues that they need to look into. First of all you have the ONS issue where you "pay more and get less" in my opinion but I guess there is not much to do about that when the whole city adjusts to this mode. But it seems a bit strange not having Italian sparkling wine as aperitifs, not having cognac on the menu along with the coffee (Norwegians love their cognac) and the waitress that had no clue whatsoever what limoncello was. And even if we got a bit better wine we didn't get very much of it...this was however a blessing in disguise as we were going to work the next morning :-) Maybe I'm just being picky....it was a very nice meal and Restaurant Nero is still highly recommended in my opinion. Sorry for the quality of the images by the way. They were all taken with my cell phone. You can find more info about the restaurant on the homepage http://restaurant-nero.no/
http://gardkarlsen.com/ - trip reports and pictures