I have been debating whether I will include restaurant reviews on this blog since I want to gear it towards cooking. I also question reviewing a restaurant that most of my readers will never visit. But food is food and good food has to be praised.
This weekend I went to Indiana for the Fields Family reunion (my first time in 5 years thanks to a previous life on the campaign trail) and Thursday night when my parents and I arrived, we joined my Aunt Christi and Uncle Jack for dinner at Noa Noa in Warsaw on the way up to the lakehouse. My aunt and uncle were singing its praises as we walked in, but I admit my food snobbery questioned whether a seafood restaurant in “nowhere Indiana” could be all that jazz.
I should have been tipped off that this place was legit when I ordered a dark and stormy and received a glass of dark rum with ice, can of ginger beer and dish of limes (think Dan’s Café for you DCers). I was a bit intimidated since I was running on four hours of sleep and remember how most of my nights at Dan’s end up. But I paced myself and didn’t get tipsy in front of the fam (although I doubt they would mind).
We ordered some sashimi sushi and Almond Shrimp to start off. I was impressed by the cut of the salmon and tuna we ordered and the fresh flavor. I am often hesitant to eat battered shrimp because usually a restaurant will over batter and overcook the shrimp, but the batter was light and the roasted almonds added a perfect nutty taste. So far, so good.
I was incredibly overwhelmed by their menu since it was 4 pages long and there was dish upon dish of fish and other types of seafood served in different styles (Polynesian, Indian, Thai, etc). Earlier I had eyed a red snapper in the fish market and was pleased to learn they flew fresh fish in every day from Chicago.
Still, I mulled over my choices changing at least three times but the red snapper continued to catch my eye on the special dinner menu. It was described as a whole grilled red snapper over a wood-fire grill with salt, pepper, olive, and squeezed lemon juice. My eyes perked up again because a good piece of meat, fish, etc should be kept simple with the seasonings. I was still wary because this fish could come out dry and tasting fishy, but I soon learned that was far from the case.
The fish was perfectly charred with a nice crispy crust and as I stuck my fork in the fish, it flaked away cleanly from the bone. The fish was moist and melted in my mouth. The fish was good enough on its own, no special sauce or seasonings were needed. When I ordered it, I questioned whether I could finish since it was the whole fish but as I let my family sample the fish, it quickly disappeared. In fact my newly healed Mom (she scared us with two seizures the weekend before) probably ate half. The fish was served over a bed of rice and grilled vegetables that were unmemorable, which was disappointing. However, there was not a morsel of that fish left on my plate. Who’da thunk it, good seafood in Warsaw, IN.
If you are ever making yourself through the lake country of Northern Indiana and find yourself in Warsaw, stop at Noa Noa and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Note: Everyone else’s meals were delicious too and Pam the bartender knows how to mix a drink. Unfortunately my picture of the meal did not save because my camera phone died soon after taking the photo.