I went to NOPA again, with a bit of hesitation only because my first meal was mediocre. The service was great, and the atmosphere as well, but the food didn't quite add up.
Second time around was a different experience altogether. My friend S and I sat at the bar, one f my favorite ways to eat casually. We each had a glass of wine to start. We ordered the flatbread with zucchini, proscuitto, and herbed ricotta. The flatbread itself was a great combonation of crackery flaky as well as chewy and pizza-like. The seasoning of the toppings was good, though I definetly felt the need for a drizzle of olive oil over the enitre top, but that is my opinion.
Entrees, fish stew with saffron, fennel, and aoili. A big ole hunk of grilled bread accompanied a large terracotta bowl filled with this wonderful, drool-worthy smell of saffron and tomatoes. Plenty of fish, lots of aioli and filling. A great dish. I ordered the pork chop with cranberry beans and mustard greens. I loved the set-up, beans perfectly cooked, greens limp and glistening with the juices of the pork and some lovely olive oil. The chop itself was relatively thin, but cooked to perfection at medium-rare.
I couldn't resist dessert since they had one of my favorite combos. A crostada made with frangipane and sour cherries and vanilla ice cream with a few candied almonds to die for. I loved it.
In closing (ahem) I would definetly go back again, sit at the bar, lounge around and enjoy. The food was great, the bar service excellent and not as noisy as I remember (last time I sat up high and it was quite noisy).
All told, 2 glasses of wine apiece, an app. two entrees, and a dessert for 67 american dollars, not bad