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Feb 4, 2009 06:39 PM

Anyone been to Noca in the last week or so? (PHX)

Trying to decide where to take hubby for his bday Friday night. It's between Quiessence and Noca right now. I think it might come down to menu choices as I can't make up my mind. Quiessence has their daily menu up, just wondering if the Jan menu posted on the Noca site is pretty indicative of what they've been serving recently?

Right now, Quiessence has the edge based on the menu but I could be convinced otherwise....

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  1. I was at Quiessence a few weeks ago for a wine tasting event mid-week (I think it was a Wednesday) and the place was dead. The vibe in the dining room seemed pretty sleepy - not exactly what I'd want for a birthday dinner. If you compare that to my experiences at Noca, it's always been a lot more upbeat. On the food side, I'm sure you can't go wrong with either. Just my opinion.

    1. We were at NOCA on Saturday night. I do not have my notes handy, but will post tomorrow evening. Since I had done three reviews in a short period, I was abstaining from this one, but will relent.

      Will say that we took a cookbook author and two food critics from out of state and all loved their choices. Everyone was also very, very pleased with the wines and the service. Give me a bit of time - know you're under a deadline, but I'll do my best.

      If it's any help, I have to say that the cobia, the duck and the skirt steaks got very, very high reviews. I loved my foie gras, but that is par for the course. Everything got ah-h-h's, so it was great. I did notice that the menu has changed, and I would easily vote for the Chestnut Soup, if it's half as good as the last time I tasted it.

      I've not made it to Quiessence, so cannot compare.


      1. Based on what I've heard about Quiessence and eaten at Noca, I'd say food-wise you'll be thrilled either way. I think I'd give the nod ever so slightly to Quiessence just because I love the atmosphere at the farm. It's very peaceful and romantic, while Noca is more upbeat and cosmopolitan. The atmosphere at both is really nice, it just depends on what kind of mood you're going for.

        Oh, if you end up at Noca, get the soup, whatever it is. I've had three different ones so far and they were all fantastic.

        1. We've been to both which is why it's a hard choice. Actually Kai was the third option I was considering and my first choice since 1) we haven't been there since last Feb and 2) I wanted a more quiet atmosphere but they're fully booked for most of the evening. I booked a massage for husband during the afternoon after we (hopefully) go hiking earlier in the day(assuming the rain holds off til evening). I'm thinking he might prefer something more quiet afterwards. THe only thing we weren't thrilled about at Noca was that it was kind of loud. Fine for a normal night out but not sure I like that for a more special occasion.

          Tough decision. On the bright side, either way it should be a great meal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ziggylu

            For quiet, the nod has to go to Quiessence. As much as I love noca, the last date I took my husband on, conversation was difficult. We both had to project our voices to heard over the music. Until the third glass of wine kicked in, I was self-conscious about all the hollering we had to do back and forth to make simple points. After the third glass, though, I didn't mind a bit ;).

            Quiessence is doing a 3-course couple's dinner with wine, $69, for the month of February. That's a bottle of Dos Cabezas Red, salad, the spaghetti that they hand-cut by chietarra, and a chocolate dessert.

            edited to provide a link to the menu -- -- and to note this is a Tues-Fri offer only.

          2. Went to NOCA a week ago and can't wait to get back.

            Tried 5 plates and all of there were top notch. Foie Gras Torchon, Duck Confit with Huckleberry Waffle and Maple Syrup, Heirloom Beets with Goat Cheese Foam, Crispy "Bacon & Eggs" with Caramelized Onion Jam, and the Short Rib Agnolotti. All were tremendous. Will be going back soon.