I had my first visit to NOPA last night - my ears are still ringing. It seemed like everyone was ordering the red wine braised calamari and the little gems salad. Both were tasty. I had a nice glass of Syrah with the pork chop which was glazed with maple and on a bed of carrots and peas. That was one big lunker chop and it was cooked perfectly - probably the best pork chop I have ever had. Sides are extra - we saw lots of people eating the huge bowl of french fries. My friend had the halibut which was really good too. For dessert we had one of my all time favorites - butterscotch pudding - this one was pretty good and came with two cookies. We also had the donut holes with rum caramel sauce - to die for... I loved that dish. All and all a solid meal, but damn it is loud in there!
I agree, Nopa is a great restaurant but too noisy. Upstairs isn't as bad, but still. I would eat there more frequently but for the volume.
I had my first experience at NOPA last Thursday. You are right, the noise is deafening! My meal was fine (the flatbread with lamb sausage was excellent), but not as spectacular as I was expecting from all the hype. I'll stop in again if I'm in the neighborhood, but in my opinion this is not a destination restaurant.
I must say, though, that the service was superb.