New Brunch at NoPa Kitchen + Bar
NoPa Kitchen + Bar, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj's newest opening which has taken over the old Zola space at 800 F Street NW has recently started to offer brunch. The American brasserie now hosts Sunday brunch service from 11AM to 3PM, and the menu has a nice mix of sweet and savory options. I visited yesterday with a friend and the beautiful space was a little empty, but they are only one week into the service and it is sure to catch on in the coming weeks. In addition to a very affordable menu of appetizers, eggs, mains, and a raw bar, NoPa is also offering a Champagne brunch for $30 which includes any two courses and bottomless mimosas.
I highly recommend starting the meal with the brunch pastry basket and all of the breads are made in-house. The offerings change regularly, but yesterday's included a blueberry coffee cake, a brioche, and a warm chocolate chip muffin which was my favorite on the plate. I also thought the presentation was thoughtful, and provided a nice assortment of spreads to enjoy with the pastries.
NoPa's Executive Chef Greg McCarty also makes the bialys himself, and they were served warm, lined with poppy seeds, and had a nice serving of diced onions in the center. The bialy came with smoked salmon and capers. A glaring omission? Cream cheese. This is a necessary addition in order to keep the bialy from getting too dry. The french toast with caramelized bananas and a mango sauce was interesting. I thought the bread was executed nicely: moist, not soggy, and lovely crisped edges. While I enjoyed the citrus flavor of the mango sauce, the consistency reminded me of a jar of Gerber's baby food.
The winner of the day was the frittata with house-made chorizo, tomato, arugula, and a mornay sauce. It was cooked well, had a nice brown tint to the color of the egg, and the cheese sauce added the perfect punch to the fluffy frittata. It was a nicely portioned dish, and was served with a light salad on the plate. NoPa also does brussels sprouts well by serving them with pear and a white sesame sauce.
The new brunch at NoPa has some highs and lows, but I think they will hone in on the successful dishes and make adjustments where necessary as the service continues. The prices are affordable, the location is great, and it could be worth a try in the coming weeks once the menu details are ironed out.