100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Nopa Kitchen & Bar

Nopa Kitchen & Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Nopa Kitchen & Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Restaurant hitmaker Ashok Bajaj’s American-style brasserie—which took over the Zola space in Penn Quarter—got off to an uncharacteristically shaky start when it opened in 2013. The menu seemed scatterbrained, its execution uneven. Happily, Greg McCarty’s kitchen has steadied itself, and the hallmarks of a Bajaj operation are in place—crisp service, a relaxed but not overly casual vibe, and an approachable menu full of little surprises. Who knew that wasabi caramel, which sounds like a ’90s experiment gone bad, complemented sweet Chilean sea bass so beautifully? Salads are particularly lovely, whether a bright toss of pineapple, radish, and feta or an array of beets with mandarin oranges. When it comes to dessert, it’s all about the fruit hand pies.

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Twice-fried chicken; crispy Brussels sprouts with sesame; carrots with sunflower seeds and yogurt; hamachi tartare with ginger vinaigrette; bacon-cheddar burger.

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