Amidst the construction now dominating the northern strip of the Rainey Street district sits a modern two-story structure with the words “NO VA” glowing in white neon above its entry door.
The interior is part Scandinavian and part Mad Men – warm and pulled together like a scarf under a wool blazer. Were Don Draper to walk in, he’d likely take off his hat and order a whiskey cocktail while glancing up at the ceiling-mounted brass pendant lights. You should do the same.
The drinks here are treated with the same attention to detail as the buildout – as they are measured with silver jiggers from Japan and poured through solid brass Julep strainers. Each one is refined and sophisticated.
The food at No Va takes on the personality of Midwest-raised executive chef Brad Sorenson: approachable and easy to get along with. The mac and cheese, the ultimate in comfort food, is easily the most popular dish with the restaurant now having sold over 1000 lbs of what was introduced as a mere side.
The chef is eager to flex his culinary muscle, however, and even the bar menu boasts dishes like braised short rib pizzas, grilled asparagus tacos with fresno chiles, and pork tacos with a mole sauce that Sorenson makes from scratch – melding over 29 ingredients in a steaming pot for hours.
Though the restaurant walks with distinction due to its style, No Va finds its place along Rainey through the service of its Austin pedigree.
Here’s how to enjoy a taste of summer on the white tabletops of the restaurant’s patio…