Respectfully, this review will disagree with the many glowing FnB comments. Without speaking to each dish, the flavors were disparate and unbalanced and the execution amateurish. It was American home cooking but at such a low level to call it home cooking is an insult to American mothers and fathers who prepare wonderful food for their families.
The service, although served with a smile and a “friendly” pat on the back, was in fact cold and the server either disinterested or obtuse. And this was the owner.
Upon leaving I was unhappy/ dispirited/ disheartened that I had spent so much for so little.
Noca. Dishes in reverse order of service.
Dessert is the place to start. A delicious disc of chocolate cake below an amaretto? and or hazelnut? (the menu said Pistachio) sorbet surrounded by a blueberry compote (the menu said cherry). I was so full I almost declined dessert. That would have been a huge mistake. $9.00
Lamb loin. How many times, at “high end” restaurants, have we all been subjected to ridiculously dainty portions at ridiculously high prices? Not at Noca. The portions are lumberjackian. $30.00
Linguini with shrimp, bass and muscles in a light, complex chili seasoning. Delicious. Speaking of seasoning we all have differing abilities to detect the effect of salt on food. I found with all the savory dishes a little added salt was necessary to bring out and intensify flavors. Noca serves a kosher and a seasoned salt on a small tray with pepper. Tried both. Preferred the plain kosher salt. $22.00
Duck Confit sandwich was the first dish. The bread was sweet, soft and yielding, yet held together until the very last luscious bite. The duck was rich but not fatty and the greens had been tossed in a nice, light vinaigrette. Once again the portion size was not the typical two bites, where is the rest of it?, appetizer portion. Of the savory dishes, if forced to choose a favorite this would be it. $14.00
Service: The first sever forgot me. Finally asked another server to take over and he was terrific.
Noca is pricier than FnB. And I do join in with those who laugh at the pretense of reviewers who state they received “a great value” for a $38.00 entrée. But, having said that, I left Noca with a smile and looking forward to my next visit.
Second Chances. As long as I am venting my own personal prejudices I admit to one more. When it comes to restaurants, I do not believe in giving second chances. After being treated poorly or receiving substandard food the first time it would never occur to me to return. When restaurant begin giving out second-chance-we-know-you-did-not-receive-what-you-paid-for-the-first-time-complete-meal-gift-cards I will rethink my position on this issue. So for now, no second chances.
And, when there are so many places not yet tried or can’t wait to return to, for a third, fourth or twentieth visit, why should any of us?
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016
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