Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nota Bene - Never Go Wrong!

I've been to Nota Bene several times, a regular and reliable spot for us. The chef, David Lee, is of Splendido fame, and although I haven't been there myself, I have only heard great things. Nota Bene is the more affordable option, and sufficiently impressive for me already!

For starters we had the steak tartare and soft shell crab salad. I can't say I was enticed by the soft shell crab initially (it's not a Japanese restaurant!) but the batter was very light and it was pretty good! The steak tartare reminds me of my favourite from a restaurant in Calgary (The Living Room) - I think it's the capers that add a unique flavour I like.

Nota Bene doesn't boast a wide range in their regular menu, but they feature delicious daily specials that change season to season. On my first visit, the special was lobster for $29 - what a deal! That's when I became a fan! Last night, the special was braised lamb with penne...and it delivered to expectation as always. Most notable on the menu, however, is the suckling pig & boudin noir tart. I have never seen or tasted anything like it before - suckling pig is incredibly tender, and paired with maple-smoked bacon and truffle's simply irresistable (and yes, that is blood sausage!). It is quite a heavy plate, I don't think I could ever finish it myself, so I am always glad when Tony orders it and I can have a bite :) While we didn't order any sides last night, it is generally a "must do" at Nota Bene - the onion rings come a plenty and are enough for a table of 4 and the rapini is delicious and is affectionately loved by the chef. While on a diet several years ago, David Lee apparently ate a lot of rapini and believes it is a vegetable that deserves more recognition.

Nota Bene is casual chic and suitable for any occasion: drinks at the bar, a fancy night out, or just simply for the good food. While it is a lively restaurant, I love that it is not too noisy to have an intimate conversation if you wanted. So next time you don't know where to eat, you can count on Nota Bene for good food and a good experience.

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