NoPa Kitchen + Bar, the newest restaurant from Ashok Bajaj's franchise (think The Bombay Club, Oval Room, Rasika, and Bibiana to name just a few) is an American brasserie that is focused on comfort and good eats. Centrally located in the heart of downtown, surrounded by landmark neighbors such as Spy Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and Verizon Center, NoPa is all about experience, fun, and a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant features plenty of plush booth seating, leather seats, private dining rooms, Happy Hour specials, and sprawling wine list.
The restaurant pays homage to the etymology of brasserie so there is a French presence in its menu offerings, though executed in a distinctively American style. The restaurant will stay true to its restaurateur's roots by weaving in touches of Asian inspiration through the menu. Greg McCarty (from Jean Georges and Nobu 57) delivers a well curated menu that offers seasonal vegetables and proteins along with the classic staples such as charcuterie platters, raw bar, and steak entrees, to please both the adventurous and traditionalists. NoPa delivers the true American brasserie experience while subtly incorporating flavors, such as miso and wasabi, to bring the dishes to another dimension.
For starters, standouts include the roasted almonds with sweet chili (unbelievably addictive), housemade ricotta (super creamy!), country pate, twice fried chicken (wonderful texture with just the right amount of crunch), and the smoked salmon croquettes.
The menu offers a number of salads and vegetable options as well. The spring radish salad with pineapple and mint and the beet and orange salad were extremely tasty. The dressing enhanced the flavors of the fresh ingredients without being overpowering. There is also plenty of meat to choose from, running a wide spectrum from high-end steak frites to classic bacon cheese burger. NoPa can be simple or sophisticated, and tailored specifically to the experience desired.
Saving the best for last, the desserts were phenomenal (thanks to none other than Bibiana's pastry chef Jemil Gadea). The toughest part is making a decision from all the options. From chocolate donuts to raspberry chocolate profiteroles, from fried strawberry pie to rhubarb shortcake, the preparations were inventive with detailed attention to textures and the flavors complemented each other well. Be prepared for seconds!
NoPa Kitchen + Bar is really keen on delivering the perfect meal and providing a space for both an intimate dinner or fun larger group gathering. It is located at 800 F St NW. For more information, call (202) 347-4667.