This will be short, but brutal. I revel in the cuisine from Ashok Bajaj’s culinary empire: The Bombay Club, Oval Room, Rasika, etc. But NoPa? No way.
I’ve tried it twice, once for dinner, once for lunch. The most recent experience was lunch and it was, shall we say, less than stellar. The service was ho-hum. We sat in the windowed alcove near the bar and the bartender was also our waiter. She decided to amble over after several minutes when she finally noticed our menus were closed.
My lunch invitee ordered the Cobb Salad. I ordered a green salad with the Hamachi Tartare appetizer as my main course.
The green salad had several pieces of slimy lettuce in it. I worked my around that. The Hamachi was o.k. — nowhere near the exuberant flavors of the various ceviches from fellow restauranteur extraordinaire José Andrés at Oyamel.
The Cobb Salad was o.k. according to my friend. But what struck us (and ruined our meal completely) was the amazing amount of black flies in the restaurant. We saw at least 4 massive ones zipping around and flinging themselves uselessly against the big picture windows.
Upon the last bite of my friend’s salad, one of these flying menaces launched himself deep into the lettuce and dressing that constituted the last forkful of salad.
“Wait! Don’t eat that!,” I screamed to my friend.
He looked at me with startled eyes as the fork was half-raised to his mouth. The trapped fly somehow fell off the fork and landed on its back on his plate, frantically squirming to right itself.
We looked at each other. Laughed raucously and decided that NoPa would definitely be a “no va” for us from now on.