I caught BART on Friday, meeting Mister and our friend Fass for dinner. We crammed into a cab and headed off to Nopa on Divisadero and Hayes for dinner. Fass’ wife EB was already there, patiently waiting for us.
Back in the day, when the building was a laundromat, Mister did his laundry there. He and EB agreed it was a scary place.
Not so scary anymore. Nopa has high, beautiful ceilings and an open kitchen if you’re looking. We were too busy checking out the menu for things to share.
What we had:
- warm olives bathed in oil
- Red Wine Braised Calamari, Olives, Capers, Grilled Bread and AÏoli 10
- House Smoked Bacon Salad, chicories, Poached Egg and Toasted Walnuts 11
- Little Fried Fish, Fennel, Red Onion and Page Mandarin 10
Reviews I read mentioned the calamari which some people found too odd for their liking. Odd is good, my friend. Tender to bite, the dish was really fine with the acids mixing well with saltiness on top of a slab of grilled bread. I especially enjoyed the little fried fish (anchovies) but more so the fried mandarin. The egg came perfectly poached. I sliced into four, out poured golden yolk (it might be a salad to keep to yourself so you can savor the egg).
- Pan Roasted Black Cod, Fennel, Potatoes and Saffron-Tomato Broth 23
- Grilled Country Pork chop, Cannellini Beans, Mustard Greens and Salsa Verde 21
- Seared Duck Breast, Green Lentils, Wild Mushroom Jus and Mizuna 24
- Grass Fed Hamburger, Pickled Onions and French Fries 12
- Wood Grilled Broccoli, Egg, Capers and Tarragon 6
Since Zax’s Tavern in Oakland closed I’ve been on the prowl for a new best burger. Wood Tavern in Oakland doesn’t cut it. (Really, please put a rectangle burger on a rectangle bun and … make your own burgers.) Cafe Rouge is good but not as good. This was a very good burger with very good, slightly thick, but not wedge cut, fries. Mmm. I tasted Mister’s duck and it was delicious, but I was happy with my Gruyeres-topped burger.
We did opt for dessert and though the churros with spiced chocolate were tasty, I don’t think I’d order them again. The churros were crusted with sugar to offset the bitter chocolate. Good, but not my bag. Fass and EB’s Mexican coffee ice cream sandwich and almond milk, on the other hand, whoa.
Not only was the food good, but our waiter was attentive without being intrusive and made good recommendations regarding the menu and wine list.