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The Early Word on Ashok Bajaj's Nopa

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Photo: R. Lopez

It's been two weeks since restaurateur Ashok Bajaj's latest project, Nopa Kitchen + Bar, first opened its doors. The brasserie boasts a "rustic industrial" look and American and French influences on the menu, but will it live up to the starry reputation of its sister restaurants like Rasika? Tom Sietsema's already given Nopa Kitchen + Bar a preliminary thumbs up in his First Bite column, but let's check in now to see how Yelpers, bloggers, and early visitors are rating the restaurant.

The Chilean Sea Bass News: At the moment, Nopa is drawing four stars on Yelp with nine reviews. Yelper David Q. called his entree "transcendent," writing, "The Chilean sea bass was one of the best pieces of fish we've ever had. Not quite Rasika black cod-level, but up there."

The Affordable Cocktails News: Yelper Caroline appreciated Nopa's cocktail prices. "The cocktails, especially the Derby, were also phenomenal, and at $10 a piece, they were a nice departure from the $14-$16 cocktail trend. We will definitely be going back. This was a 4.5 star experience."

The "Meh" News: An overcooked burger and cold fries elicits a shrug from Lai L. on Yelp, though she dug the bread basket. "Overall, my experience was 'meh'. With so many delicious options around Penn Quarter it'd be hard to get me to come back here."

The Ashok Bajaj Fangirl News: Blogger and Rasika fan Amanda of FooDCrave admittedly had "extremely high" expectations for Nopa. Even though she lurved the decor, cocktails, gnocchi, and hamachi tartare, she wasn't as impressed with the salmon croquettes and mussels. "The service was decent (our waitress was clearly nervous), while the ambiance was stellar. Some dishes sang in perfect foodie harmony, but others definitely missed the mark."

The Great Starters and Desserts News: Capital Cooking calls out the robust dessert selection from pastry chef Jemil Gadea and the appetizers like "the roasted almonds with sweet chili (unbelievably addictive), housemade ricotta (super creamy!), country pate, twice fried chicken (wonderful texture with just the right amount of crunch)."

The Pastry Chef Props News: Blogger DC Foodie Girl took to Twitter to agree with Tom Sietsema. "@tomsietsema agree that @NoPaDC is great. Especially Jemil Gadea's pull-apart bread at the beginning and fried strawberry pie at the end."

The Sandwich + a View News: Over on Foursquare, Igor O. has a succinct piece of advice: "Window table is a must + short rib French dip sandwich."

The Veggie Sandwich News Thumbs Down: Twitter user @frenchcori liked everything except her sandwich. "Enjoyed fab oysters & drinks @NoPaDC but please PLEASE remove "Market Vegetable Sandwich" what is really a coleslaw sandwich from ur menu."

Adele Chapin

800 F Street NW, Washington DC 20004