2312 Florida Ave. NW
HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10 p.m.
COST: Most entrées more than $20
A pioneer in the DC organic and locally-sourced-ingredient restaurant scene, Restaurant Nora claims to be the first certified organic restaurant in the United States, which leads one to wonder exactly what that means.
It turns out that in 1999, the Oregon Tilth, one of six private organic certifiers in the country, bequeathed the title on Restaurant Nora after it developed a set of strict criteria. For diners at Nora, this means that 95 percent or more of everything consumed in the restaurant has been produced by organic farmers and devotees of sustainable agriculture.
Naturally, healthy eater First Lady Michelle Obama chose it as the venue to celebrate her 46th birthday.
Restaurant Nora is housed in a beautiful 19th-century corner shop that was once a grocery store. Its menu varies with the seasons but offers a variety of dishes—wild salmon with asparagus, garlic kale and a light chive hollandaise, herbed goat cheese, and leek-stuffed chicken breast with crispy artichokes.
Some things may not appeal to everyone—stewed dandelion is one that comes to mind, but maybe that’s just because of a memory of my mom cooking those embarrassingly pungent greens for me to take to a fourth-grade ethnic-fare potluck. Who knew Mom was so cutting-edge?