Reservations are hard to come by at many of the hot & happening SF eateries. The Pouter and I really wanted to eat at the ever popular Statebird Provisions, but couldn’t get a reservation and planned to try for walk in. After much discussion with previous diners, we decided that would be a poor decision, and went plan B, which was a fairly late 945pm? reservation at NOPA. Don’t get me wrong, NOPA is another bumpin’ joint with excellent reviews, so we were still quite happy.Amuse Bouche
A really simple slightly pickled/salted cucumber. They kind of look like lime wedges and definitely had some lime flavor.
Piggy Platter headcheese, crispy trotter, country paté
I rarely meet a charcuterie platter I don’t like, but aside from the crispy trotter which was like a meat tater tot, everything else was meh. In fact, the headcheese had a terrible formaldehyde smell/taste to it. It was soooo unappetizing. The Pouter didn’t agree with me, but I felt it wasn’t even subtle. It was like here are some pig parts that taste like cadavers. Gross.
Mmm, up close and personal with the crispy trotter
Avocado Toast pickled jalapeños, capers, shaved pantaleo
This was amazingly simple and delicious. Every bite was luscious from the creamy avocado, yet refreshing with some zing from the capers and light dressing. Pure genius, which I plan to try and recreate one day at home. One of the best dishes.
Grilled Calamari squash, harissa, radish, green olive aioli
I vote to remove all forms of octopus on menus across the nation and replace it with calamari. This is such a tastier and texturally pleasing cephalopod. I loved the char, the salt, the tang, the crunch, the chew. Yums!
Flatbread of Spicy Fennel Sausage cherry tomatoes, arugula, basil
The requisite carbs for the meal. Tasty but I couldn’t have more than 1 or 2 pieces.
Grilled Pork Chop green beans, pickled beets, hazelnuts, horseradish
The much-talked-about pork chop was kinda disappointing. The Playground’s pork chop is faaaaar more satisfying, providing the flavor and juiciness one looks for a thick bone-in cut of meat.
Grilled Broccoli lemon, anchovy, breadcrumbs
I was looking for the same wow I found in the grilled broccoli at Cube, but it wasn’t anything special here. I found the breadcrumbs distracting.
Grassfed Hamburger pickled onions, french fries
Another lauded NOPA must-have, but another disappointment. I’ve had better burgers. Heck In ‘N Out is tastier.
Sopaipillas cinnamon caramel
Latin fried pastries, very reminiscent of beignets or donuts. Piping hot, fresh, fluffy.
Olive Oil Cake Trifle oloroso crème, strawberries, almond biscotti
A little more interesting and delightful.
NOPA delivered on appetizers/starters (save for the charcuterie) but failed on the mains. I would still come back since those starters were pretty delicious. I would try some of the other entrees, ones that spoke to me rather than ones that were just popular. I really liked the scene, very vibrant. Aside from the eats, I had a great time with The Pouter and her friend UVA. We drank ourselves silly, or maybe just I did, and then we Ubered it home, in true metropolitan city fashion. Oh how I miss the city life.