Nopa reminds me of a first date, where you go in expecting ho hum, but come out a little enamored. The entrance is no more than an inconspicuous black door, with nothing that bears semblance to a restaurant sign. The only hint that this may be somewhere to grab a bite to eat was the large window pane filled with ambient lighting.
You know it's "the hang out spot" when you walk in hearing clinking of glasses and the buzz of conversations from nearby tables. The menu is short and has some of my all time favorites, such as mussels, squab pâté, and fish stew. The pâté was creamy, paired with perfectly toasted crostitinis that can be enjoyed by itself.
The mussels, like most mussels paired with white, garlic and toasted croutons to soak in the broth, was pure delight. There wasn't a single mussel that didn't scream "fresh".
Although the fish stew was the perfect end to a meal, it's main character seemed to be mussels, which bore striking likeness to the mussel dish we just devoured.
Nopa is a place where one can enjoy simple dishes, perfectly executed, devoid of the the "fusion plague" of east meets west. This is where the food is the star, not the chef.