Pack your appetite: Tour local menus this week

The Basque-style dulce de leche cheesecake from Bar Nico is the perfect finish to its dsm Restaurant Week menu.

Writer: Hailey Allen

If you haven’t already heard, dsm Restaurant Week is in full swing. Chefs are offering up their best flights of menu favorites and new creations through Sunday, so get your reservations on the books while you can.

To kick off the foodie festivities, I sat down last weekend to Bar Nico’s three-course menu, which took me on a culinary adventure from the vibrant streets of Mexico to the cozy kitchens of Basque Country with fresh, seasonal ingredients and bold Latin flavors. Here’s how my tour went:

Course 1
In the mighty but humble words of Tariq the Corn Kid, “I love corn.” Lucky for me, the Iowa crop is abundant in Mexican cuisine. I went with the Summer Corn Elote appetizer, and it did not disappoint. The creamy sweetness of the corn balanced perfectly with the soft Veracruz cornbread and a kick of espelette, a mildly spicy pepper cultivated on the French and Spanish borders of Basque Country.

Course 2
For my main course, I indulged in the rich and comforting Chicken Enchiladas Suiza. The vibrant salsa verde was bursting with tangy flavor, and the crema Mexicana added a velvety creaminess that made the dish both savory and satisfying. The overall effect created a classic taste of Mexico that combined traditional elements with contemporary flair.

Course 3
At this point in the meal, I had definitely forgotten to save room for dessert (can you blame me?) and figured I’d skip it. But then the beautiful slice of cake came out. The glorious confection was a Basque-style cheesecake, made with a unique Spanish technique that creates a caramelized top. A drizzle of smooth dulce de leche and an airy scoop of vanilla whipped cream complemented the treat.

Bar Nico is just one of more than 30 restaurants participating in this year’s dsm Restaurant Week. So whether you’re hungry for Mexican, Italian, American, Asian fusion or something else, you can treat yourself to a full tour of any restaurant’s offerings all in one go. Check out each restaurant’s menu online at www.dsmrestaurantweek.com and book your dinners for the rest of the week. Easiest. Meal plan. Ever.

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