Divinely Delicious: Restaurant Nora

May 17, 2010

By Jo Cooper

There is a difference between good food and sublime food. Restaurant Nora serves the latter. Hint: President Obama brought Mrs. Obama here for her birthday a few months ago. Chef / Owner Nora Pouillon, a hero to the slow food movement, started her restaurant 30 years ago and has supported the best local organic agriculture in the Mid-Atlantic region ever since. Restaurant Nora was the first certified organic restaurant in the US in 1999, and 95% of what the restaurant serves is organic. The elegant menu reflects a moving feast of our local harvest.

A recent dinner provided 3 hours of uninterrupted bliss. The atmosphere of the restaurant, with it’s perfect acoustics (you can actually hear your dinner companion speak), charming mixture of Amish and Mennonite crib quilts and architectural garden sculptures on the walls, and a large skylight in the ceiling of the dining room, is both cheerful and soothing. The wait staff is outstanding– informative, friendly, never intrusive. And, the food– cooked that evening by Ben Lambert, Chef de Cuisine–was utterly, divinely delicious. There’s nothing I like better than expertly prepared vegetables, and Ben provided an unforgettable feast for a gluten-free vegan, starting with the roasted asparagus salad in the picture below. My husband enjoyed the chilled asparagus soup, a salad of mesclun greens with roasted pear and pecans, wild Alaskan salmon, rhubarb pie and fresh strawberry ice cream… I’d never seen the man eat so much in his life!

Light softly falling from the skylight slowly faded and the warm lighting in the restaurant increased gently as one course gracefully followed another. It was a dinner and an evening to remember.

Thank you to Nora, who for many years has served on the Advisory Board
for Food As Medicine. Thank you to Ben, the kitchen and the wait staff for a lovely experience.

And very special thanks to my dear colleagues, who made this beautiful
anniversary celebration possible for us.