Afghan cuisine has arrived within walking distance of our Vickery Place! Nora Restaurant and Bar is a new restaurant that has been open for a couple of months on Greenville Avenue in the (formerly notorious) section known as Lowest Greenville. This is the part of Greenville Avenue that saw substantial streetscape improvements last year. If Nora R&B is indicative of a new breed of nighttime business moving to that strip, we're excited!
Well this certainly is nothing like it used to be, whatever was once in this spot along Lowest Greenville! Nora is modern, trendy, tasteful and so very clean.
The menu is short and concise with good descriptions, and cocktail and wine choices on the back. Talking about wine, the list is very affordable and not at all pretentious. We started with a bottle of Writer's Block Pinot Noir. We were happy to see several vegetarian choices on the menu as well. Although, we were not in a herbivorous state of mind this evening.
We asked our friendly server for suggestions from the small plate list, something that would be a fitting introduction to the flavors. A short while later, the Bulanee (leek or potato filled pastries with mint sauce), Kadu (sautéed pumpkin with garlic yogurt and meat sauce) , Sambosa Goshti (pastries with ground beef, chick peas and green peas) and Mantoo (steamed meat dumplings with meat sauce) plates arrived. This was a lot of food for an appetizer course, but so deliciously authentic we demolished it in no time at all. The Kadu (pumpkin) in particular was a delightful surprise. What an explosion of unusual flavors.
We arrived at the restaurant shortly before Sunset, and noticed Nora's lighting was on the intimate side. Although this makes for awesome ambience, it makes photography a little more challenging.
Side note for photography geeks: Here on the Vickery Plates blog, we do not use flash photography... all photos are taken with the light that is available in the restaurant. We prefer the photos to look like the real thing, and not bathed in a bright artificial light. Sometimes we use a monopod to help with the slower shutter speeds, but at Nora this evening it was all handheld photography. Interestingly, Our server told us how surprised she was to see so many people with large expensive looking cameras over the last few months. Food blogging seems to have taken off in a big way in Dallas over the past year.
We really loved the modern middle-eastern music that played throughout the night. In fact, one track was even Shazamed for later inclusion in a playlist: Arpeggio by Feeraz, off the album Dubai Spirit.
I did mention that the menu has tons of vegetarian choices on it, but that is not what we sampled this evening, apologies to the herbivores. The combination plate included rib-eye and beef kofta kabobs, and a lamb chop, with grilled vegetables and saffron rice. the meat had a perfect char, just the way I like it. The other dish we ordered was the Qabili Palao, a seasoned chicken dish served with saffron rice and covered with sautéed sweet carrots and raisins.
Whew! Too much food. A large box came home with us for the next day's lunch. But we will never be too full to skip the dessert. First up, the Firnee dessert, a chilled custard sprinkled with pistachios. This was described as "delicate" in the menu, but I would rather use the word "subtle" in reference to the flavor. The firm texture was awesome, so unlike what I think of as custard. This was my favorite of the evening. So good it may even bump crème brûlée down a notch on my list of favorite desserts.
We also tried the Bastani, a cardamom and rosewater flavored ice cream topped with crushed pistachios. This has got to be the most aromatic dessert I have ever eaten. Absolutely delicious.