NoJa is the shorthand name for North Jackson, the location of Downtown Mobile's finest restaurant. NoJa is a fusion spot right in the heart of the city.
Both the location and the boss have an interesting history. The space was formerly a private residence, a taxi station and a popular bar. The Ethiopian-born ower and chef Chakli Diggs formerly ran the popular Bienville Bistro. He uses his international upbringing as an influence on his multicultural menu.
The beautiful dining room is upstaged only by the more dynamic courtyard. The staff is as knowledgeable as they are courteous and attentive. Fernando was an excellent server.
The menu at NoJa is slanted in favor of the carnivorous consumer. However, the staff was very accommodating when I called ahead with my vegetarian concerns.
The tomato and sunchoke cream soup was vegetarian safe. The creamy tomato was offset by a rich, earthy sunchoke finish. Fresh pepper created a beautiful spiciness that rounded out the flavors.
The Mediterranean pasta dish was vegetarian when prepared without chorizo. Pepardelle pasta was tossed with spinach and grape tomatoes in a citrusy olive oil and cheese sauce flecked with pine nuts, peppercorns and green onions.
The wine list contains a number of esoteric selections. The beer and cocktails are equally colorful.