Restaurant Nora (4/26)
We were visiting (from Boston) our friends who live in DC and were lucky to be treated to dinner at Restaurant Nora. The four of us arrived about 5 minutes late for our 7:45pm reservation and we were taken outside to a side entrance to the Gallery Room. The room was decorated in a rustic manner with cozy quilts hung on the walls.
After much discussion (we are a very indecisive bunch!) of the wine list we settled on a Pinot Noir. We were a little disappointed, not with the wine, but we felt it was served on the warm side. For dinner my husband and I started with the Wild Mushroom Soup with Sunchoke & Caramelized Onion Confit, Truffled Flan, Chive Purée. The soup was wonderfully rich and creamy. The sunchoke added a great texture without detracting from the earthiness of the wild mushrooms. Our friends got two appetizers. The Asparagus & LaQuercia Organic Proscuitto Salad with Roasted Morel Mushrooms, Shaved Fennel, Chive Emulsion, and Aïoli which was well received and the Morel Mushroom & Baby Leeks Tart with Herbed Goat Cheese, Tomato, Fine Herb Sauce which was lovely, if a little on the salty side. For dinner I had the Pan Roasted Grassfed Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes, Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus, Red Wine Sauce. This was a beautiful piece of meat which was perfectly cooked to order and the sides were a perfect accompaniment. I was a little disappointed in the mushrooms which I felt were a little soggy and did not have the meaty, earthly taste and texture of well sautéed mushrooms. I can't remember the details of what the others had but I know we were all extremely happy with our dishes. Overall the food was excellent! Our one complaint on the evening was that the service was extremely slow and inattentive. We were not in a rush and were enjoying ourselves so the slow service was not a problem. However, we were disappointed by the inattentiveness. At this type of restaurant wine and water glasses should be refilled promptly. The dinner guests should not be doing that themselves. Overall, the food and idea of a restaurant serving organic and local was great but the service was not up to par.
Nora doesn't tend to receive rave reviews on this board -- but my visit there in February was definitely memorable and delicious. Our waitress was extremely attentive and the food was excellent - simple, fresh and perfectly seasoned. I have been the majority of the restaurants that are frequently held in high regard on the board (Komi, Central, The Source, Hook, Marcel's, Brasserie Beck, Vidalia) and I think Nora is up there with them. It's not as innovative as some, for sure, but I think that the quality of fresh organic ingredient make up for the lack of innovation.