Have you ever been in an area so much that you see things and say to yourself, “I’m going to go there soon, I always walk past it.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about Nopa Kitchen & Bar. It’s located a block down from the Verizon center in Washington, D.C. and next to one of my favorite museums The International Spy Museum. (I indirectly just gave you a date idea if you’re looking for something to do) When I was in college, me and my friends used to catch the train down to Chinatown to grab a bite to eat at the cheapest spot we could find, and catch a movie. We’d put all the money we had together and made sure all of us ate. Those were humbling times that I’ll never forget. This restaurant has been on my radar for a while because it looked beautiful on the outside and inside. I didn’t know too much about food when I first looked at this restaurant in college, but the more I started to appreciate food I knew I had to try out this restaurant.
Nopa Kitchen is located in the heart of Penn Quarter, just north of Pennsylvania Avenue off of 8th St. The restaurant is able to seat more than 150 people and is great location to have a nice “dinner date” at. The main dining room looks amazing with its french influenced design. the restaurant offers American, French, and Asian cuisines so you have plenty of flavors and choices to choose from. The sleek wooden bistro tables provide room for one to believe they should be dressed up for this establishment. You don’t have to dress like you’re going to the fanciest restaurant, but I’d recommend a business casual look.
Two items were ordered with the first being the Lobster Bouillabaisse and the second being the Braised Beef Short Rib. The Lobster Bouillabaisse included Manilla Clams, Mussels, Stone Crab, Jester Potatoes, Fennel Confit, Sauce Rouille, and Citrus Broth. If you’re unfamiliar with what this dish is (and you didn’t see the pictures) it’s a tomato based broth soup covered in seafood and potatoes. If you’re looking for a dish that’s packed with flavor then this is the perfect dish for you. The seafood was fresh and the potatoes were hearty but the overall dish wasn’t filling. If you’re hungry like I was then I’d suggest you order another entrée or an appetizer or two to help you get a satisfying overall experience. The broth wasn’t too spicy but it had a hint of spicy packed with alot of flavors. There were a plethora of sea items in this dish but none of the items were over powering of the overall dish. If you’ve never had Bouillabaisse then I’d suggest you order this dish. (Please excuse my pouring skills, I promise to get better)
The next dish that was ordered was the Braised Beef Short Rib. The ribs were accompanies with Golden Beets, Tuscan Kale, Goat Cheese, and Vidalia Onion Potato Air. The Beef Short Ribs were juicy, tender, and savory. The golden beets weren’t too sweet but they went well with the saltiness of the Beef Short Ribs. Who would’ve ever thought that golden beets were as flavorful as the ones that were offered at this restaurant? The Vidalia onion potato air was some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had in my life. One thing I can say about this dish is that it’ll still leave you hungry after you indulge it. The prices are reasonable for it to be a “fancy” restaurant, but the amount of food they provide you are slightly bigger sizes then a regular appetizer portion.
Overall, this restaurant is a go to if you need a quick date night. Nothing about this restaurant excited me, and although the interior is beautiful it wasn’t worth bragging about. The menu is pretty straight-forward and not as many items on the menu that would reflect an Asian inspired theme. You can spend $50 here or $120 depending on how hungry you are. You can always get an entrée and then go next door to Shake Shack to grab a burger afterwards. But, who wants to do that after spending an hour or so at a “fancy” restaurant?