Kavala, the earlier incarnation of former Hattie’s chef Kelly Hightower’s restaurant at Davis and Windomere used to be my favorite Oak Cliff restaurant. I liked that Hightower used in-season ingredients without hype. (Isn’t that what good chefs are supposed to do, after all?) His brick-oven pizzas were among the best I’ve tasted. And the hummus, as the sign outside infamously read, “can beat up your hummus”.
After an absence of many months, Hightower is back with Nova, which opened this week. Nova is billed as a “bike-friendly gastropub”, which, I am sorry, seems a contrived combination of grating clichés. The word “gastropub” just loses meaning after a while. And what exactly makes a restaurant bike-friendly?
Criticism for the branding aside, I’m super excited about Nova, which still serves Hightower’s pizza and hummus along with a menu of shared plates. And the interior has been opened up, redecorated and remade into a cooler, lounge-ier space.