My dear friend Kasey is in town this weekend. We met in Barcelona and bonded over our love of food. (She was the one who did the delicata squash pasta). Our time in SF overlapped for awhile, but sadly, she moved back to Chicago a couple years ago.
But the good news...she's back visiting and when I asked her what she was craving, NOPA was her top choice.
NOPA's menu is constantly changing, but they always have a few staples that they switch up based on the seasonal ingredients available locally. One of those "can't-miss" menu items is their flatbread. It's always something different and it's always fantastic. Right now, it's featured with spicy fennel sausage, caramelized onions, and crescenza...which is a fresh, creamy cheese that I loved. It was topped with a fresh arugula salad. I'm pretty sure our table of seven devoured two of them.
The second not-to-miss item is the pork chop. Trust me, just get it. You won't be sorry. By the time we ordered our entrees, Kasey and I weren't as hungry so we didn't get a pork chop. Fail. We had food envy all night. Our friend Tom was nice enough to give us a couple bites. It was served with perfectly cooked fingerling potatoes, spring onions, and a mustard seed vinaigrette. Pretty sure this is the kind of food people were talking about when they coined the phrase: "bone lickin' good."
You should also get one of their fun cocktails. Kasey and I started out with elderflower gimlets and then asked our servers to pick something else for us based on what we were craving. The drink on the right is the "Sunshine Fix," which is Aperol, Broker's Gin, lemon, and Angostura bitters. I'm not usually a gin drinker, but I loved it..it sort of tasted like a sweet tart candy. The one on the left they made up for Kasey. She wanted something with bourbon and bitters, so they whipped up something they called "Remember the Maine." It was made in a glass washed with absinthe, and was a mixture of rye whiskey, and cherry heering bitters. (Their twist on a Manhattan). Both were awesome!
This was wood-baked calamari with grilled bread, tomato, and aioli. It was good, but it didn't blow us away.
Eat your vegetables! We got a side of grilled broccoli with lemon, anchovy and breadcrumbs. The dish had a strong smoky taste I wasn't expecting, but I liked it a lot.
And finally, Kasey and I also shared this housemade fettuccine with Dungeness crab, olives, capers, and Meyer lemon. I wanted so badly to fall in love with this. It had so many ingredients and flavors I love, but yet there was still something missing. Don't get me wrong...it was still very good, but we were busy drooling over the pork chops and burgers at the table. So moral of the story...definitely go to NOPA, but stick with the flatbread, burger, and pork chop and maybe mix in some other seasonal appetizers. You can't go wrong. There's a reason why it's one of mine and Kasey's faves!