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Jan 18, 2009 12:37 PM

Nota Bene- no thanks!

Went to Nota Bene last night with a party of 5- dinner at 9:30.
Service, as others have noted, is trying but awkward. Really fell down at the end of the evening- 9 servers flipping tables, but not one will get us the bill (and refusing to make eye contact- hate that).
Starters were the: octopus rapini salad- octopus was quite mushy and fairly bland; duck salad- the slaw was also a bit bland, though the duck was awesome; barramundi tandoori- completely lost on me, not flavorful like you'd expect; lobster salad w blue cheese dressing- BORING; duck procuitto salad- nothing special. I particularly dislike the bowls that the salads were served in- nearly impossible to eat from, although that style is not unique to NB.
Mains were no more impressive: paparadelle with rabbit- oversalted, and if I'm saying that it was a LOT of salt, as I'm a bit of a hound, and another spice that was overpowering, maybe cinnamon?; Suckling pig and boudin noir- suckling pig and pastry delicious, boudin noir offered very litte (don't want to sound like a total jerk, but have only had this at Akelarre and this was nothing like it- quite a let down); tuna with squash- poorly conceived, no textural interest...just felt I didn't get it; red snapper- I didn't try this but k. liked it; scallops were well recieved but not exciting.
I guess I would expect more from a place that has received so much buzz with such a noted chef at the helm. I would not go back - luckily, my company was great.

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  1. Wow! Most interesting review! A total 180 degrees divergence from some other postings, especially Bokchoi's! Got a feeling this post will start another round of firework! Guess thats what makes us chowhounders unique!! Such diverse viewpoints and opinions!

    1. I must be one of the few that agree w/ nummanumma in that I wasn't impressed either with Nota Bene. My wife and I went last month (we rarely get out nowadays with 2 small kids). We asked our server what was on the Charcuterie plate... he only named 1-2 items on it and couldn't recall the rest. I made the mistake of ordering it as a app, followed by the boudin noir... I was overwhelmed by the amount of oil I ingested that night. Wife had the duck salad, followed by the seared tuna, again nothing positive to say about either dish. We also ordered a side of frites, which our server completely forgot to put the order in. By the time we got it (near the end of completion of our mains), the fries were limp. This was a night where David Lee was actually in the house, so you'd expect the food coming out to be impeccable.

      Maybe we just aren't big David Lee fans, since our one and only time we went to Splendido for their tasting menu, we weren't blown away like all the rest of CH'er seem to be. To each their own, I guess.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Royaljelly

        I also wasn't impressed by my dinner at Nota Bene. The quality of the ingredients seemed to be very high, but I wasn't wowed by the flavour combinations in any of the dishes I ordered. I have the same complaint about JKWB.

        The service was courteous and professional when I dined at Nota Bene. The service was the best part of my meal.

        I'd return to Nota Bene if I needed a decent dinner close to the Opera House.

      2. Hi, my first post, so a little nervous.

        I also went to Nota Bene on Saturday (Jan 17th). We were a party of 6 and had an early dinner at 5.30. It was my 3rd time at Nota Bene and I loved it every time. We enjoyed all of our dished. Octopus salad was good, my boyfriend said it was the best octopus he's ever had, charcuterie was excellent and our waiter was very knowledgeable about it with a lot of explanation. I had duck proscuitto salad and although I thought it was a touch too oily, it was still very good. Another person enjoyed Lobster Salad and found it interesting with bits of bacon. I heard that beef tartar was very good, but I haven't tried it. Two people had Boudin Noir Tart and said it was excellent, I had a rib enree and although the flavour was quite simple, it was very satisfying. Seared tuna was ok, nothing special. Hangar steak was amazing! I have to agree that barramundi wasn't a good dish, I had it before, but everything else is very good, interesting, fresh and exciting.

        Service was also good. We were told when we were making reservation that they need to have our table by 7.30, so at around 7.15 they asked if we were ok with relocating to the lounge area. At that point we already finished our entrees, so we had desserts there. Everyone was very polite and helpful.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Julia_K

          the beef tartar is not good. specifically because it is overwhelmed with aioli and masks any good beefy flavour. it also adds a creamy element that i didn't enjoy. richness from a raw egg i can fathom but the aioli brings about an undesirable texture and flavour.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            Can't comment on it, since I don't eat raw meet, but everyone who tried it like it. There was a comment saying that it was better than the one at Auberge du Pommier

        2. Very strange. Different tastes I suppose, but when I had the barramundi, I found it bursting with many layers of flavour. Also, the lobster salad for me was pretty tasty especially when you got a bit of everything into one bite. Can't comment on any of the other dishes because I didn't try those.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LTL

            maybe I just had an off kitchen crew- depends on who is putting the plate together at the end of the day I guess.

          2. I have been twice and twice I ordered the tuna tartare. The best dish there by far and it was recommended by my server. Better than the steak tartare I had the first tiem there for sure. Agreed that the scallops are good but not particular exciting. Hangar steak was totally amazing and you can't get anything like that at that price. The suckling pig and boudin noir tart is heavy but it was supposed to be like that. After all, it is all pork and puff pastry. I say it is a very tasty and interesting dish. Service has been good both times and at that price point I would definitely recommend the restaurant as long as you stick to the tried and true dishes.