Lower Greenville Avenue is looking damn good these days. The newly widened streets with inset parking makes it feel like the quiet downtown of a suburb, like Plano or perhaps Coppell. Even after dark, there's noticibly less fear of being run over by a passing truck. It's a good thing.
Located at the place where Oram meets the newly beautificated Greenville is a new restaurant, Nora. Currently in its soft opening, the Afghani spot is sister to Afghan Grill on Preston Road in North Dallas. And while the decor at Afghan Grill is decidedly Middle Eastern, dark with oranges, golds and reds, the space that Nora occupies is light and white with touches of dark brown. Capiz chandeliers and leather add shine and texture.
Dishes are probably what your grandma would make for you, if she were a friendly Afghani man. Strips of soft, whole wheat pita show up first, accompanied by a potentially polarizing cilantro puree. Hummus is served with handmade Afghan bread. Cocktails tempt the adventurous, featuring un-cocktail-like ingredients like cardamom, lemongrass and green tea.
Nora's menu features small plates, salads, stews, entrees and desserts. Mains start at $12 for a vegetarian stew, and top out at $24 for a combination of grilled meats. The first dish we tried was the Qabili Palao, which features lamb atop soft, seasoned rice studded with raisins and plenty of sweet carrot.
Upon recommendation by the owner, we tried the Beef Kofta which came with meatballs, more rice and a skewer of vegetables drizzled with yogurt sauce. The portions were sizable, leaving us too full unable to sample the homemade baklava.
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Overall, Nora is shaping up to become a trusty piece of Greenville Avenue where you can linger over dinner with friends, and eat honest food that makes you feel like family.