Senior Hannah Ratliff is an A&E Page Editor for the Shawnee Mission East Harbinger. This is her second semester on staff. She enjoys visiting new places, watching action movies and being with her dogs. Read Full »
At first glance, Nica’s 320 could fool you for any other Italian, Asian, or Southern food joint in the Crossroads. After all, the area is full of restaurants so eclectic the native Prairie Villager can hardly believe their eyes. But what sets Nica’s apart is that it’s all three flavors in one convenient[media-credit name=”Maddie Schoemann | Harbinger Online” align=”alignright” width=”284″][/media-credit]location.
Nica’s, like many of its neighbors in the Crossroads, marches to the beat of its own drum. The vibe, from the crazy cartoon of what we can only assume is Nica herself scrawled across the tinted windows to the warmly lit, artsy interior is fun and comfortable. The full tables on a Saturday night were a testament to the quality of the food, but it wasn’t so busy that I couldn’t get seated right away. Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable about the food, but we were ready to order a few minutes before she could get around to us.
When I was planning my visit to Nica’s I decided on a sandwich from their wide selection on the menu online. I was disappointed to find, once I’d gotten there, that sandwiches were only served at lunch. Nonetheless, the selection on the menu was great: they catered to every need or taste with vegan options or food for the gluten-free.
All of the choices sounded so good that I took forever to choose, but I ended up getting an appetizer slider trio with an Italian, Korean BBQ, and sweet Thai sandwich that were the perfect size. With its sweet tomato-ey flavor and tender meat, the Italian slider was my favorite, but the Korean pork was just as good, only a little too spicy for my taste. The sweet Thai chicken was good, but my dislike for onion and mushroom kept it from being something I would order again.[media-credit name=”Maddie Schoemann | Harbinger Online” align=”alignleft” width=”199″][/media-credit]Now, if you get one thing out of this review, let it be this: Get the mac n’ cheese. I couldn’t be happier that I made a last-minute decision to grab it as a side to my sliders. It’s gooey, cheesey, stringy, and flavorful, but still tastes like something your mom would make. If your mom was a five-star chef. If you make the trip to Nica’s, don’t leave without at least tasting the mac n’ cheese.
Now, if you have enough room left in your stomach and an extra $4 in your pocket, get a beignet. They’re definitely not cheap: a specialty beignet is between $3 and $4 for just one, but they’re more than worth it. Never having had (or heard of) a beignet, I chose a chocolate and raspberry one and was delighted to find that it’s basically deliciousness that has been deep fried and then covered in powdered sugar. If you just want a snack instead of a full meal, I would say just grab one of these for a fantastic and unusual treat.
Now, I understand that you may be wary of a place that serves so many different flavors of food under one roof. Don’t worry, I was, too. But I can assure you that Nica’s is not messing around. From their mastery of sweetly spicy Korean BBQ to authentic, down-home mac ‘n cheese, Nica’s multicultural cuisine delivers worlds of flavor in a fun atmosphere.