Quick bites: No Va review
I reviewed No Va in this week’s Austin American-Statesman. You can read that entire review here (and I hope you do). But below I give a thumbnail sketch of my review:
87 Rainey St. 512-382-5651, novaonrainey.com
Favorite dish: Curried root vegetables ($7) served in a piquant and sweet coconut green curry and topped with tart green apple, a dish that blended precision and comfort.
Least favorite dish: Mac and cheese. Whether it was the salty lardons inside (we asked for sausage) or the baked bread crumbs on top, I’m not sure, but the dish was inedible.
Vibe: Design is Hollywood Hills meets Atomic Ranch. The two-story building has indoor and outdoor seating on both levels, with sexy barstools and geometric light fixtures. Upstairs indoors is the loudest space in which I’ve eaten this year.
Service: Uneven. Attentive and apologetic (for 1/3 of brunch items weren’t available) one visit, and absent-minded on another.
Bottom line: Rainey Street has exploded with bars and a couple of restaurants over the past few years. As it grows, it approaches the precipice of more permanent change. An upcoming hotel will anchor the north end of the street, and more restaurants will appear, including G’Raj Mahal and Salvation Pizza, shifting the street’s identity from Bar Alley to a broader entertainment and nightlife district.
No Va is a good representation of halftime on Rainey — a boisterous but refined space, part bar, part restaurant — and it could serve as a model for the street, but it needs to figure out how to provide its stylized comfort with a more gentle hand.