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phx: noca sunday suppers are super!!!!

hi all,

add me to the list of people raving about noca.

i took a friend last nite for their 35 dollar 3 course prix fix - sunday suppers as a thank you for a recent vacay. it was better than good - it was great!!

the amuse was delish - melon and mint oil, with neutral poprocks. wow - the fresh summer flavors with the poprocks literally made the dish pop in my mouth -it was fun and refreshing. we were all giggly and loving it - elliot told us they were just having fun in the kitchen. it showed thru the whole meal - every dish had a wit about it, we were attended to by a full staff of cheerful, capable help who were all smiling and enjoying themselves. it was hard no to glow.

we added the crudo for 12 bucks each. i got the fluke, my friend the big eye tuna, and it was so fresh i swear it swam to noca. we were not surprised to find its the same purveyor used at sea saw, the quality was outstanding, and the flavors were savory, punchy, and melted in your mouth.

oh yeah - they have 2 bottles of wine for 20 bucks during the sunday suppers, and we chose the red. they switched out for us to a luzon red - an organic vineyard from spain. it was fantastic and i'd love to find this in the valley. i believe it was the monastrell - crisp, balanced, well rounded.

our salads were next. crisp greens, tart goat cheese that i wish i had right now, and a wonderful vinagrette

then the hangar steak for both - amazing!!! perfect crust with great salt *i'm a weirdo about salt - i probably have about 15 different kinds at home ;) my new obsession is iranian blue sea salt but thats for another thread ;)*, wonderful baby mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes shaved paper thin - original, crispy, addictive!! the haricot verts were also great and perfectly cooked.

we got a bowl of pink cotton candy, which was really fun and tasty. like i said - eating here is fun, and it certainly was. we grinned ourselves to death all thru dinner ;)

for dessert, the vahlrona chocolate brownie with fudge topping and spanish peanuts, quenelle of marscapone ice cream was thick, dense, sweet, and the perfect ender to the meal. we ordered cappuccino's, and they were served in adorable insulated glass cups that look sculptural. its worth getting a coffee drink just to see them ;)

or so we thought - we got adorable wedges of chocolate chip cookies as take away treats to eat in the car on the drive home with our check. i loved it!! how thoughtful to have a take away snack!!!! not that we needed it, we certainly had more than enough to eat!!

all total - 136 and change, which we thought was a great deal for the prix fix, plus our crudo's, bottle of wine, cappuccino's and complimentary amuse, cotton candy, and cookie takeaways.

the food was delish, but beyond that, it was just FUN - the entire staff seemed so happy to be there, and it just radiated to the crowd. we lingered, we laughed, and we loved it.

congrats elliot - we'll be back :)

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  1. Thank you so much for telling us about Sunday Suppers at NOCA. I love love love the Sunday Suppers at Suzanne Goin's Lucques in Los Angeles and am thrilled to learn something of this caliber is now available to us in the Phoenix area. We have reservations for this coming Sunday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sherri

      Sherri,

      I've been to Lucques many times for their Sunday Supper and based on my one time at Noca I would say that Noca's is a bit better. It's pricier overall, but I think the food is a bit more inventive. Both are good, but quite different.

    2. We must have been there together last night. I am always bummed when we miss a CHer. I was in the middle of the restaurant, eating with 2 other women (I am a lucky guy). Sat down at around 6:30p.

      Great review of the menu. The cheese on the salad was Chevre. The only reason I know this, is a women at another table was swooning over it, and insisted on knowing what it was (the server graciously found out the info).

      The chocolate chip shortbread (given to take away) is wonderful. My wife treats it like gold, and tries her hardest to get mine (hasn't worked yet).

      Something I didn't mention in my other post, is that the vibe of the restaurant seemed a bit more "low key" on Sundays. Like the staff were just kind of hanging out after a long week. I don't mean this as a bad thing, as the service was still polished and wonderful. It was actually pleasant, as the vibe was kind of "come join the family".

      6 Replies
      1. re: winedubar

        Wow, that was a ChowHoundy Sunday! We were there too, sitting in the banquette as well. So that makes me the cheese swooner Booger speaks of. Guilty as charged! I really loved that crunchy salad - the vinagrette and cheese were just too perfect together. Actually, everything was really perfect with last Sunday's meal.... as has already been described very well here on this thread, so I don't need to reiterate. I think our only mistake with the meal was that husband & I shared a plate of crudo, and we could have each had our own. Oh well, there's always next Sunday.....

        1. re: MesaChow

          Anyone going this sunday? I'm making the trek from the other side of the strip mall after work, probably around 8ish(assuming i can get a reservation!)

          1. re: AnonymousWaitress

            Does that clue make you not quite as anonymous? :)

            1. re: Firenza00

              hey, there's a few choices in that strip mall! if i wasnt worried the moderators would be all over me i would love to discuss where i work at and put in my two cents.

              but back to noca, on their website they list a fresh fish or veggies in addition to the hangar steak. has anyone had either one and can comment? we might have a vegetarian joining us. or has anyone experienced different menu options on sunday nights?

              1. re: AnonymousWaitress

                We always offer a meat, fish and vegetarian option for our Sunday Simple Suppers.

                Thank you -
                Chris Curtiss
                Restaurant NOCA

                1. re: AnonymousWaitress

                  The Sunday Simple Supper menu changes weekly, the menu posted on the website was the menu from the first week. The website will be totally live soon and each Sunday's menu will be posted on the site by Thursday of that week.

                  Molto E
                  NOCA Managing Partner
                  (as per Chowhound rules, I must identify my affliation to the restaurant)

        2. Hmm ... $78 a head for the $35 "prix fixe" dinner -- no wonder it was delish and FUN! Don't get me wrong, I love that they're in the hood and I'll be visiting soon -- but I do not interpret this review as an endorsement of the $35 "deal." Flack attack?

          6 Replies
          1. re: misohungrychewlow

            I agree with winedubar and Booger. I have had two wonderful simple sunday suppers at noca. Including a glass of the simple wine (choice of one white or red) our per person total with tax and tip ended up being $52.00 each. Yes, crudo and coffee are extra. KISS. Keep It Simple Supper and the bill will be less.

            Also, we were sitting near the front of the restaurant and overheard a woman ask what was on offer for next Sunday. The response was that the menu will be totally different and she said that was ok, she would be back next week for whatever noca will be serving.

            In response to ipsedixit, Lucques Sunday Supper is $45.00 and their wine list is much more expensive.

            1. re: misohungrychewlow

              i'm not sure i get your criticism, miso. a person could easily spend 35 dollars and enjoy a fantastic meal, thats a no brainer. we were celebrating and indulged. what exactly is your issue?

              1. re: winedubar

                Forgive me for being out of line, wine. I enjoyed reading your review and it's great you had a good time and a great meal. I'm lamenting how new places come along promising high quality fare at affordable prices yet for one reason or another slip into the same groove. A meal approaching two benjamins for two had better be very good, and there are many places in town who can deliver very good one What else is new? One challenge, one of the grails we chounds pursue, is a delicious meal for two in the double digits -- even better if in the neighborhood. I'm excited about what I'm reading about NOCA, but the price points don't seem to be any lower than Eleve. Does anyone have a comment on the unadulterated $35 "supper?" Does it deliver? I'm not asking for a Spartan performance subsisting on tap water, stiffing the servers and recalculating the tax on the bill -- I'm merely asking, can you and your sweetheart have a delicious dinner there for less than a hundred bucks?

                1. re: misohungrychewlow

                  We had a fairly unadulterated dinner, just adding a glass each of the "Simple Wine". After tip, we ended up spending a bit north of $100.

                  Certainly, the meal was fantastic, and in its unadulterated form, very worthwhile. It did deliver.

                  I would also say, that while this isn't the cheapest restaurant in town, it is an exceptional value. The quality of the ingredients and preparations are top notch, and you can tell (obviously the raw ingredients cost more, which are reflected in the prices).

                  Also, I would recommend adding and order of Crudo (you could split an order, so you get a taste), as it is exceptional there. Worth the surcharge.

                  BTW, there is no tap water there, everyone is served filtered water out of a bottle (which is gratis, and welcome, as they aren't trying to push expensive bottled water).

                  From my experience, if you went in, and ordered bread and water, the service would still be gracious(it is the kind of place).

                  Personally, I think the regular menu might be a better way to go. You can carefully chose your meal, and if done right, you could still get out of there for around $100 for 2 (depending on wine of course).

                  1. re: misohungrychewlow

                    hi miso,

                    a person can still have a stellar dinner without the add-ons, without a doubt. with tip and tax it should squeak you in at around the 100 dollar mark :) which is close to what somone posted above - the dinner plus one glass of wine was 52 with tax and tip.

                    1. re: winedubar

                      Just read on another blog, that, after reading this post (and we all know the Noca guys frequent this board), Elliot is putting his money where his mouth is (so to speak).

                      This Sunday, the "Simple Supper" will be $99 per couple (including 2 glasses of wine), all inclusive (meaning that covers tax and tip).

                      So you will be able to judge for yourself if you can get a stellar dinner for less than a Benjamin. (You definitely can!).

                      I think it is very cool for Elliot to go out of his way to respond to the Chowhounders (so quickly also).

                      As an aside, I have nothing whatsoever to do with Noca, so hopefully the admins won't delete this post.

              2. One week later, with a NOCA Sunday Supper under our collective belts, we can only gush. From the helpful reservationist on the telephone, throughout our meal to the FUN cotton candy ending, NOCA was hitting on all cylinders last night (Aug 31st).

                We were four for supper - three hangar steaks and one vegetarian plate with no clear winner because each meal was better than the last. Does this mean we shared? Youbetcha. Nobody could keep their hands off another's plate because of all the great flavors. I am a dead-on sucker for great vegetables and NOCA came up with winners. Haricots verts, baby carrots that actually tasted like carrots, some terrific mushrooms but the best part for me was sharing a tiny turnip with my (turnip-hating) husband who after eating it asked, "what was that? It was delicious". Home run!

                I enjoyed bites of the steak, potatoes and loved it. Hangar steak can be tough although always flavorful but this was tender too. Honesty makes me admit to having too much fun to take note of every flavor nuance. The four of us simply loved our meal(s) and everything about the NOCA experience. Yes, there were goodie bags to take home but I gave mine away so haven't tasted whatever was nestled in the pretty cello sack but it was a lovely touch - in an evening filled of lovely touches.

                As guest, I didn't pay the bill but would have to imagine anyone doing the math can come up the total for dinner: 4 X $35 plus six glasses of Simple Wine (@ $5 ea) + another $15 for a glass of Port, coffee = some of the best dining-out money we've spent in a long time. I'll add the fact that our drive in from the very far reaches of the East Valley came close to costing about the same as a meal and, again, worth every sou.

                Thank you, NOCA and thanks to Elliott for making our family supper so very special.
                NOTE: I felt very strongly that every patron in the restaurant received identical treatment. Nothing special for anyone, it was warmly welcoming for all. Just like Sunday Supper ought to be. We'll be back.