We consider ourselves major foodies here at InStyle. When you write about food as frequently as we do, it's hard not to indulge in the recipes and restaurants we cover. That being said, summer is one of our favorite times of the year to dine out, especially when many places are taking advantage of the countless seasonal ingredients that we don't have access to most of the time. Farm-to-table dining became popular for a reason: it's fresh, it's healthy, and it's just better.
One such restaurant that we frequently visit and is known for sourcing local ingredients is L.A.'s eclectic American eatery, Norah. We were lucky enough to be treated to a tasting of the recently-launched summer menu, and trust us when we say it's to die for. Located in West Hollywood, Norah oftentimes sources straight from neighboring farmers markets, and like many of their customers, the chefs like knowing where their food comes from. The popular spot even counts Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba, and Cash Warren as fans, and after sampling a few of their dishes, we can see why.
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Read below for a detailed recap of our dining experience. We are not exaggerating when we say that we loved every single dish. Your mouth will be watering by the end.
We started the evening with seasonal cocktails, including their take on an Aperol spritz, as well as a spicy passion fruit margarita made with serrano-infused tequila. The first dish brought to the table was fresh Kusshi oysters from British Columbia, topped with pickled green apples and house made scallion kimchi. They tasted like they literally just came from the sea, which is all you can ask for in an oyster. Next, we were served a vegan and gluten-free cauliflower tartare (steak tartare who?) with sunchoke chips, crispy chickpeas, and tahini. Our third starter was stracciatella (above), aka creamed mozzarella curds, which was served on Norah's house made levain bread, grilled and topped with tomato jam (life changing!), chili, and sesame.
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The second course started off with an incredible green bean and stone fruit salad (above) drizzled in a tangy and sweet charred corn dressing. This dish was one of our favorites. The beans are from Tamai Family Farms, the nectarines from Regier Farms, and if you're local to L.A., you can find both at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. We were then served crispy octopus (below), which reminded us of the consistency of fish 'n' chips. Topped with squid ink caramel, herb salad, and toasted rice powder, this was unlike anything we've tasted before. We finished off the second course with potato gnocchi (below) topped with freshly made tomato sauce, chickpeas, and castelvetrano olives.
As we moved onto the third course, we were served fresh sea bass that was caught locally in Ensenada, Mexico. The fish was served along with grilled summer squash and corn grits, which are made from fresh Brentwood corn. The final entree of the night was a cider-glazed pork tomahawk chop, which is grass fed, humanely and sustainably raised, and delivered weekly from Marin Sun Farms. Accompanied with an incredible cast iron cornbread served with rosemary-honey butter, the third course was mouth-wateringly good.
A meal like this is of course not complete without dessert, so the meal ended with a stone fruit and boysenberry pecan oat crumble topped with creme frâiche, as well as peanut butter ice cream mixed with luxardo cherries and dark chocolate shell. The ice cream was so creamy and flavorful, we'd have never guessed it was vegan and gluten-free.
We can't wait to go back.
Norah is located at 8279 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood.