If I take a course for "S/NC" and feel that I would have received an "A" if the grade option were selected, is there any recourse?
No, but sort of, yes.
No, there is no actual recourse; that is you cannot change your grade option after the strict deadline stated each semester. However, (there is the YES part), your instructor CAN give you an "S with distinction." "S" with distinction is official, and signifies that you have received the equivalent of an "A" (any "A," not necessarily "A+"). "S" with distinction may be counted as an "A" when you must calculate a GPA for external purposes (e.g., applications to outside institutions or programs, or for your resume).
Sometimes, students must gently remind faculty about checking that distinction box (if it is appropriate). This notation is often overlooked, and even misunderstood.