Novo remains a local favorite

Ben Richardson

Chef Ben Richardson does his own butchering in creating his fresh seasonal market cuisine at Novo

I’ll never forgot one of my first experiences in tasting the globally inspired cuisine of Novo with the owner and the mind behind it, Robin Covey. It was some time before Novo had actually been built in a historic remodeled building on Higuera St. in downtown SLO (across the street from MoTav). I thought I remembered it well. Except I forgot the fact that was when I first met chef Ben Richardson, who was preparing our first tastes of Novo’s new menu with chef Kevin Kinder at the time around 2003. After the 2003 San Simeon earthquake caused Novo to shut down for retrofitting, Robin Covey came up with the idea of opening Chow Novo. It was a much smaller in size but every bit as distinctive a restaurant featuring globally-inspired cuisine with chef Ben. After my lunch this weekend I was quite impressed when I returned home to check my file on Novo and realized he had been working with the Covey family for 11 years.

It had been more than a year since I last dined there, but it was as if nothing had changed. They still had the delightful crispy calamari with two sauces, some Chow Novo noodle dishes, and the fabulous cold spring rolls with sriracha and tartar sauces. And it was all fresh and quite tasty. We ordered the Curran 2011 Grenache Blanc, a delicious white that was quite food friendly, and held up beautifully with each of our dishes.

Ben with corvina

Chef Ben with the catch of the day, Corvina

It was a perfect Friday afternoon lunch out on the patio beside the creek, and so relaxing. I can see why this gem remains one of SLO’s most popular eateries for a casual meal such as we enjoyed. It’s also ideal for private parties of all sizes with all of it’s varied patio levels and private rooms.

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Dan Hardesty

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Novo’s delightful patio


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The crispy calamari, a longtime favorite


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Black cod over soba noodles, Romanesco broccoli, mushrooms, sprouts, and an Asian spiced broth

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The shrimp and avocado spring rolls with rice noodles, veggies, cilantro, and two dipping sauces. The peanuts add a wonderful crunch to them

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Curran’s back label, this has long been one of our favorite Central Coast Grenache Blancs for its consistency each vintage



Novo Restaurant

726 Higuera St.



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