NEAR: Nota Bene Part 1

3 Jan

Photo: Renee Suen

Nota Bene has been on my list for a long time and I finally made it part of my 2012 restaurant resolutions to try it since it had been regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city. Not a bad way to end the year (I started this list before 2012 but still, I am making progress!). I’ll be back at Nota Bene and am excited to see what Part 2 brings!

VIBE 

Business. Sophisticated. On trend. Dress smart.
It was lovely to see the paintings of this artist I know. The abstracts of buildings with bright colours works in a muted room.

The bar is nice but I do admit I was a bit intimidated by the clientele a bit.
Staff are on point and true professionals.
It’s a “be on your best behaviour” restaurant.

Nota Bene - Yucatan Hot and Sour Soup. Photo: Renee Suen

WE ATE 
The Yucatan Hot and Sour soup hit all the right flavour notes and was especially comforting while getting over a cold. The Smoked Chicken, Goji Berries, Coriander all worked well together and the pine nuts were a nice surprise.

The lobster salad is basically a mouth-gasm. The lobster is cut into cubes and portions are plentiful. Flavours were a great balance of sweet and savoury with the soft avocado, maple bacon and  blue cheese. And a note: it’s not an obnoxiously large dish. What I love about NB is that you leave feeling satisfied, never full; never undermined.

Because we had two appetizers, I opted for the smaller portioned salmon sashimi. If I’m going to have fish, I’m going to have it somewhere I know it’s fresh. And it was. But I don’t think I’d order it again.

I had a taste of my friend’s sea bass and it was cooked perfectly. This is something I might get next time.

The creme caramel was the highlight of our meal. It was one of those “lick your plate clean” dishes. If I wasn’t on “best behaviour” I probably would have if no-one was around.

OBLIGATORY CATCHY REMARK 
The quintessential restaurant for a business lunch or dinner. If you want to impress your date or ahem, “seal the deal” this is also a good spot to do so (especially with those long love seats situated off to the side). It hits all marks but I need to come back and try more. You can tell David Lee is a perfectionist.

Photos: Renee Suen (via Flickr); Do check out her Flickr page. She’s been to more restaurants than me and her photos are spectacular.

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3 Responses to “NEAR: Nota Bene Part 1”

  1. TO Village Food Guy January 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    For someone who scours Toronto for yummy new restaurants, this place was one of my biggest disappointments when considering all the hype about it… Don’t get me wrong it was very elegant! My overall impression was that there wasn’t anything wrong with the food, but ultimately nothing jumped out and made me go wow either! It seemed more of an American Psycho / Bay street analogy to me… Expensive, gorgeous, charismatic… but superficial, soulless and missing substance and the wow factor – I did survive though 😉

    • nearafar January 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      Ha! I do understand your note about the clientele. Luckily, when I went there were quite a few people in jeans and that was comforting. That said, I was sitting in between two dates: one lady in pretty much a black tie, little black dress (LBD) and the other one in a white dress. In the middle was me, wearing a salt and pepper sweater. Quite Strange!

      • TO Village Food Guy January 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

        ha ha, Sounds like a metaphor for the evening ? an angel on one side and devil on the other 😉

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