Newly opened NM Café at Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek is redefining what department store dining is all about. Most high-end department store restaurants are often expected to be generic and uniform. However Chef Santana Diaz and his crew are raising the bar by bringing creativity and great ingredients to the table. Located in the heart of the Walnut Creek’s shopping district, the NM Café is an ideal spot for a shopping pit-stop or just a really good meal.
We arrived at the second floor café for a late lunch anticipating a great meal. We were kindly greeted by the staff, whom I must say is amazing! They are all super friendly and knowledgeable. The staff definitely adds to the experience of fine dining in a relaxed ambiance. Once seated we were soon presented with the famous Neiman Marcus pop-overs, which we were very excited about! Accompanied by the pop-overs were strawberry butter and a shot of the house chicken stock. I’ve never been served their house chicken stock, given I haven’t dined at Neiman Marcus in a while. Besides showcasing how great their stock is, it went very well with the pop-overs! Me and my boyfriend shared a couple dishes the chef selected for us. We started with a grilled swordfish salad served with grilled peaches, oranges, goat cheese and drizzled with a blood orange vinaigrette. This salad was so amazing. The swordfish was seasoned perfectly with pepper that complimented the goat cheese. And the peaches and oranges added that element of being a “summer” salad. Overall it was light and refreshing, yet nice and filling This dish can be found on the Chef’s specials menu and you can even request different fish, which ever fits your palette. If they have it, you’ve got it! Isn’t that great? Next we had the house made fettuccine in a simple Le Blanc sauce with artichokes and capers. I’m going to have to say that this was my all-time favorite dish. Chef Santana executed the fettuccine perfectly and I absolutely loved it.
The texture was spot on and it was cooked properly. The Le Blanc sauce was just as good. I’m a huge fan of any lemon based sauces, and capers! Also the ratio of the artichoke to pasta was perfect. I would highly recommend this to all vegetarians! For our last entree we had the duck pate pot-stickers served over a bed of cabbage tossed in a traditional ponzu sauce and topped with a miso plum sauce. The pot sticker wrap is also house-made! It was a little less gummy than traditional pot stickers but added more crunch which was really good. I really enjoyed the sauces and cabbage in this dish. I recommend this if you’re in the mood for a dish with Asian flare. We ended our meal with another great dish for dessert. We had the fresh peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. The best part is that the cobbler is made with their signature pop-overs!!My jaw hit the table when Chef Santana sold us this. I knew this dessert was going to taste like heaven, and it sure did!! The cobbler crust absorbed all the yummy juices from the peaches and the melting ice cream. It was genius to have a meal start and end on a similar note.
The NM Café is an ideal restaurant for any occasion. The choices are endless and Chef Santana has really created a menu suitable for all diets. Aside from the great selections from the Chef’s specials, there are dishes marked with their
“Go Figure” choices that are designed for a healthier lifestyle. The NM Café also has a great selection of gluten-free choices including six entree salads. The menu is also very flexible for vegetarians and vegans. Chef Santana created all his sauces to be vegan in order to accommodate any necessary changes. The chef also takes great care to select local ingredients that are in season. Lately peaches have been abundant in the area, so you will find them used throughout the menu. Though
NM Café is only a small part of the larger Neiman Marcus corporation, the Walnut Creek location has unique characteristics and a one-of-a-kind experience. This aspect of the restaurant really sets it apart from other generic chain restaurants making it much more enjoyable. The NM Café is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 8pm, Saturdays from 10am to 7pm and Sundays from 11am to 6pm. If you’re shopping in the area or simply looking for a great meal, definitely stop by The NM Café and treat yourself!
The NM Cafe
1000 S. Main St.Walnut Creek, CA 94596