There’s something special about Nova. Maybe it’s that the staff frequently remembers the guests from visit to visit, or maybe it’s the warm glow of the lighting in the mid-century modern dining room that makes you feel at home. A large part of it is probably the fact that when you can’t figure out where to go to dinner, Nova is a safe bet.
The Oak Cliff institution on West Davis Street is a good choice for brunch, too.
Admittedly, food can take awhile to arrive at your table, so you might as well start with a beverage. Your options include a Bloody Mary ($5) and mojito ($3.50), plus all of Nova’s specialty cocktails (normally $8-10) are $6 each.
Rather than a regular mimosa, you can try a Novamosa ($4.50 for a glass, $18 for a carafe), which is orange juice, Champagne and your choice of flavored vodka: peach, cranberry or grapefruit. It’s not a bad way to start your day with confidence.
You can find some standards on the brunch menu, such as the shrimp and grits ($15) or chilaquiles rojo ($12) with eggs over easy, bacon, pepper jack, red bean purée, tortilla strips, house-made queso fresco and roasted tomato salsa.
The chicken and waffles here ($15) are not standard. First, the chicken — a leg and a thigh — is perfectly juicy with a crisp batter. The waffle is sturdy enough to support the weight of the main attraction while still keeping a near-fluffy consistency. Most important, though, it’s a goat cheese Belgian waffle, offering a welcome savory flavor to the plate.
That savory take is so important because it counteracts a mountain of sauce. It would be lovely if the dish wasn’t drowned in an apple-cinnamon gravy. There’s no question this sweet gravy is delicious, but three cups poured over everything isn’t necessary and can quickly result in the plate becoming a soggy mess.
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The real winning dish is one that shines at night: the chicken-fried pork loin. The brunch version ($17) has a slender cut of fried meat topped with sunny-side-up eggs, served with a side of toast. Nova clearly knows how to make a good batter, made evident by the consistent thick, crisp outer layer on both the chicken and pork loin. The real star, though, may be the sausage gravy, which you quickly learn will go just fine with nearly anyone else’s meal on the table.
Looking for something sweet? The French toast casserole ($12) sounds inviting, with sweet goat cheese, strawberry syrup and bacon.
If you’re used to making Nova a destination in the evenings, it wouldn’t hurt to pay a visit during daylight hours.
Nova, 1417 W. Davis St. (Oak Cliff). Brunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.