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Disappointing Nota Bene experience

Ted Richards | Jul 14, 201608:21 AM

My wife and I went to Nota Bene for a Summerlicious dinner last night and were quite disappointed.

First, it had been recommended here recently as a quiet restaurant - it was anything but. It was generally very noisy (it was almost full) and it was hard to be heard across the table without shouting - in fact the foursome three tables down were shouting at each other continuously until they started eating.

We started with the lobster bisque, which my wife said was good, but not outstanding. I had the crispy duck salad. I was expecting the crispy bits to be the duck skin, but it was the meat that was crispy. Most of it was dry and fairly hard. There was one bit of crispy skin which was lovely and one bit of meat with the fat attached which was softer than the rest, but the rest was not very exciting. The rest of the salad, mostly green papaya, was fine.

For mains, we both had the pork rib chop. I'm used to making Olliffe's Tamworh rib chop with the pork belly attached. I brine it overnight and cook it till it's a lovely bright pink inside. It's soft, juicy and delicious. I was expecting something equally good, but what I got was a tough, dry piece of meat that had barely a trace of pink, even though we specifically asked for it to be on the less cooked side. My wife's was similar, although a little less overcooked.

The staff noticed that I hadn't eaten very much of it and were very solicitous, offering to cook me another chop, or another dish. Since I had actually eaten some of my wife's chop, I declined (several times) and they took $20 off the bill. The waiter or sommelier - I couldn't quite figure out which since he decanted and served our wine, but also helped with the food - commented that the chef had said that he cooked things more for Summerlicious customers because 'they had a different clientele for Summerlicious'. Seems to me overcooking the food is not a great way to get repeat business, which I think is the whole point of *licious.

Dessert was the mango sorbet on a tapioca pudding base, which was very nice. No complaints there.

I must say the service was very good, but the noise level, and the overcooked food was not what I had expected. In future we'll go elsewhere (like Los Colibris, where we went last week, and which was excellent all around).

Nota Bene Restaurant
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