Nopa Kitchen and Bar Fall Menu Preview
By Diana Oberoi
We’re deep into fall, sweater and boot season; the leaves have changed and so has the menu at Nopa Kitchen and Bar in Washington D.C. Executive Chef Matt Kuhn takes the classic fall flavors and presents them in very creative dishes.
Settling in to a cozy corner of Nopa Kitchen I perused the new menu. So many delicious options that really highlight wonderful fall produce.
The Florida Stone Crab Salad is beautifully presented on a scrumptious puree of Chioggia beets, which are admittedly my favorite type of beets. The sweetness of the beets compliments the crab perfectly. Very subtle hints of horseradish and mustard add another dimension of flavor to the puree and play nicely with the watermelon radish that garnishes the plate. Myer Lemon gives a pop of brightness while the sunchoke chips indulge in a glass of Prosecco with this dish. Because bubbles! What better way to start a meal?
The next dish I tried was the Kabocha Squash and Ricotta Gnudi, It is so delicate but full of complex flavors. Chef Khun lets the Gnudi hang out in semolina flour for a full 24 hours which pulls out extra moisture resulting in the perfect density. Khun adds maiitake mushrooms and chestnuts which give the dish a nice woodsy flavor and texture. One bite is simultaneously fluffy, creamy, contrasting nicely against the Ras el Haount brown butter and sage. Among the many squash dishes you’ll see dotting area menus, these gnudi are a true standout.
If you’re looking for some inspired comfort food on a chilly evening, the Carolina Gold Rice Congee “Stew” will hit the spot. Chock full of seafood and topped with a Jidori Egg 63. This interpretation of the Chinese style porridge is savory, smoky and buttery. This is due in part to the andouille sausage and succulent red prawns. The perfectly cooked Octopus has a nice char and the mussels give the dish that ethereal “ocean” flavor. However, the Jindori egg is the true highlight of this dish. After piercing the delicate yolk, out spills the luscious liquid gold that mixes with the chile-garlic sauce to create a bottle worthy condiment.
Another solid entrée option is the Pan Roasted Berkshire Pork Loin with a Cider Jus. Tender and juicy, this dish is everything you want from Fall. The sweet and savory Pork Cheek Apple stuffing will delight pork lovers. Thinly shaved Brussel Sprouts plays in chorus with perfectly cooked Sweet Potato. Pumpkin Seed Crumble is the unexpected element that pulls this all together.
Don’t even think about leaving without trying one of the delicious sweet treats. The Sticky Toffee Pudding is a stunner. Silky smooth ginger ice cream is superb on its own, but when slid through the spiced citrus caramel it becomes next level brilliant. The candied bacon is delicious but unnecessary. It’s a nice salty element to counter the sweetness of the toffee pudding. It’s also a wonderful textual element. The pudding with ice cream in one bite makes all my cares melt away.