Nopa [San Francisco, NoPa]

A first post-lockdown dinner at Nopa for me. Nopa, which is named after the neighborhood it’s in (NoPa / North of the Panhandle) used to open until 1 in the morning but these days only stays open until 11PM on the Friday night that I went. The place was pretty much full at 10PM. I had a reservation outside in their parklet.

I started with the
sweet corn soup ($11)
house bacon and zucchini
A perfectly fine corn soup, a little thick with sweet corn and smoky bacon, and some chunks of zucchini to add some texture.

for a main course I had the
pork chop ($36)
dragon tongue beans, hazelnut romesco and Jimmy Nardello peppers
Nopa’s pork chop is one of their signature dishes along with their “little fried fish” which weren’t on the menu that night, and their burger. This was just a great pork chop. Bone-in, cooked a perfectly tender and juicy medium rare. A bit of smoke from the grill which I think is wood burning or something. I think they must brine the chop because it always tastes like it is infused with flavor and has the right amount of saltiness. Tonight the chop was served with Jimmy Nardello peppers that are these sweet long red peppers that don’t have much heat at all, and also some “dragon tongue” beans which were kind of like these big snap peas. The shells of the beans were edible.

And for dessert I had the
concord grape crostata ($10)
butter crust, frangipane, frosted hazelnuts and fig leaf ice cream
A very nice grape tart. The grapes were dried a bit I think? Or cooked? Had a bit of raisiny texture and quite sweet. Nice crust.

I’m glad that Nopa is back. I hope that they resume their late night hours sometime as they were one of the few restaurants in SF that stayed open after 10.

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The sweet corn soup gives me inspiration, may want to reproduce this.

How do you like the pork chop? As you described “This was just a great pork chop.” Looks like it was perfectly cooked, still pinkish. It’s hard for me to understand how the beans and pepper worked with the pork without tasting.

Sound like a great place. What style of cooking is Nopa?

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I’d call it Cal-Mediterranean. Fresh seasonal ingredients with simple preparations. I never order a pork chop at a restaurant except at Nopa, it’s so good, they do some kind of brine then as @Mr_Happy notes cooked over wood. I think their fries are the best in San Francisco too.

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Yep I thought it was a delicious pork chop. The beans and sweet peppers were quite nice as a side, and also the chunky tomatoey romesco was a good dip as well. I think they usually switch up the accompaniments with the pork chop ever so often. Jimmy Nardello peppers must be in season at the moment, have seen them on a few menus lately.

Yeah Cal-Mediterranean or even Cal-American. Nothing super fancy in the preps. I remember the fries being really good too, will have to try the burger and fries again sometime.

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Thanks @brisket44 @Mr_Happy when I see the food presentation, I have a feeling of modern gastro bistro.

I read more on this frying pepper.

This variety of pepper ( Capiscum annuum ) was originally from Basilicata, a southern region of Italy. It takes its name from seed saver Jimmy Nardello, who brought the seeds from Italy while immigrating to Connecticut in 1887.

https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/jimmy-nardellos-sweet-italian-frying-pepper/

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