Finally managed to snag a rez at NOPA on Friday night. The place was totally packed and quite noisy. We walked in on time and we're seating immediately. Upon perusing the beer/wine menu I noticed that they had one of my top 2 or 3 favorite Belgian beers, Dupont's Foret Organic Saison. I was quite excited to find it and so immediately ordered a bottle for us to split. It's wine-sized bottle of beer, and proved to be a perfect fit for the meal.
Having checked out NOPA's menu repeatedly since it's close to our pad, and I walk by it almost every day, we were pretty quick in deciding what we wanted to eat. The entrees did not seem to grab us, so we opted for creating a tasting menu of our own from the appetizer selections, or as our waitress put it, a "smorgasbord".
Started with the wood wod oven roasted sardines. These were served with a fennel salad on top and a few kalamata olives tossed in. The fish were tender and delicious and worked nicely with the abundant salad. I think there were 4 sardine filets in all. Had we known this was going to be such a salady dish, we might not have ordered our next dish.
The little gem lettuce salad with creamy tarragon dressing was refreshing and nice and healthy. The salad was definitely not overdressed, and I don't think the dressing was so creamy, but it tasted good, and felt good to eat more salad.
The lamb riblets with coriander-mint sauce were little finger sized ribs with a bite or two of tender meat on each. I'm guessing the ribs might have been parboiled and then finished in the wood burning oven. They had a hint of smokiness and were bathed in a harissa flavored sauce. I believe there were 6 ribs in all.
The asparagus, prociutto & parmigiano flatbread followed. This was definitely a flatbread and not a pizza. It was not loaded down with said ingredients, but was light, airy and crunchy with some chewiness, taboot. I'm not a huge asparagus fan, but still enjoyed this. I'm interested to see what other flatbreads they concoct in the future.
Having ordered a belgian beer to accompany our dinner, we pretty much had no choice but to have some fries to go along with it. What arrived at our table was the most glorious and crispy bowl of frites I've had in a long long time. They were exquisitely fried, and almost definitely double-fried the way that the belgians do it up. The aioli that came with them was the pefect foil. I'll definitely be popping back in here from time to time just for some frites and another bottle of Foret.
By the end of the meal we were quite full, and not really planning on getting dessert, but one look at the menu changed that. How could I resist bourbon creme brulee with pecan shortbread cookies? Thank god I didn't. Pairing bites of the buttery cookies with the creamy/crunchy brulee was heavenly.
This was a great meal. We're so excited to have such a great restaurant just a few blocks from our apartment. Can't wait to get back and try the burger. Spotted one or two of em on our neighbors tables and they looked like juicy, meaty, red deliciousness.