Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
Feb 22, 2009 10:50 AM

NOCA - Wagyu Pastrami - Friday Photos

Below is link to photos from dinner at NOCA on Friday evening. The Wagyu Pastrami was my favorite dish of the night. Delicious. Everything I tasted was very fresh, well seasoned and expertly prepared. I'd say food wise NOCA delivers and lives up the hype. Elliot is a very caring, generous, and attentive host. I will be returning soon.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wagyu Pastrami ... What a terrible use for Wagyu beef.

    15 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Oh yes, because wagyu brisket is SUCH the hot commodity. I'll go for wagyu pastrami before I pay a small fortune for a wagyu hamburger.

      Go try it before pooh-poohing it, I'm sure you'll change your mind.

      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        What time were you there JK? We were there early, sitting at the bar with the baby. In any event, I have been meaning to post on this since Friday. The Wagyu pastrami was unbelievable. I didn't even pick up my knife it was so tender. Truly one of the better dishes I have had in a long time. As usual, the rest of the meal was fantastic.

        One last comment--Eliot is a great host and his example spreads to the rest of the staff as well. We sat at the bar and we couldn't have had a more pleasant experience due (in addition to the food) to the wonderful bartender. All around it was another great NOCA meal.

        1. re: avandelay

          I've been there three times now... the last was the first time they had the pastrami, about two weeks ago.

        2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          Wagyu shouldn't be used in anything but shabu-shabu (and only in thinly sliced version).

          Wagyu steaks, burgers, pastrami, cheese steak, is all a bit silly. The allure of Wagyu beef is the marbling. When you adulterate the Wagyu by curing, salting, or grounding it up, you lose the whole point of paying a premium for all that marbling (and natural taste and mouthfeel).

          Just my 0.02.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Honesty, ipsedixit, I thought the same thing when I first saw the thread title (wagyu pastrami?!?...why?!?). It just seems unnecessary and like, by the time it gets to be pastrami, does it really make any difference that it's wagyu? After that, of course, I looked at the pictures and I now desperately want looks really delicious. Still not sure why the wagyu, and I'd love to hear if, getting past the luxury and novelty of it, it wouldv'e had different flavor (or even texture, really) had it not been with wagyu. That said, I'd still probably be ordering it if I were there.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Ipsedixit...We are not using the part of a Wagyu cow that would be used for a shabu shabu preparation. The cut of beef that would be used for shabu shabu is not the brisket which is the cut that we utilize for the pastrami. If you attempted to shabu shabu a piece from the brisket, you would find it quite tough which is why brisket is cooked for a long time to break down the meat to make it tender. We are utilizing an off cut to make what I think is a tasty and fun dish. The reason we use the Wagyu to make the pastrami has to do with the is very difficult to fine whole briskets with the deckle (or point cut-the part with the most marbling) still attached to the flat cut (lean cut). In my opinion to make a nice pastrami or corned beef for that matter, the deckle cut with all the marbling is necessary so it is juicy and flavorful not dry and we all know the wagyu has the most marbling hence it's use in our pastrami.

              Owner of Noca

              1. re: Molto E

                Eliot, I love that you're checking in on Chowhound to see what your customers are saying. We so often feel that our praise and our complaints aren't being heard or addressed.

                I can't wait to get back to Phoenix - sometime this spring, I hope - to finally try Noca.

                1. re: Molto E

                  I ate at Noca on Saturday (and Thursday for that matter). The Wagyu pastrami is amazing. We made the mistake of ordering just one for the table as a starter, and it was everyones' favorite. My wife wanted to order another to take home. Everyone should stop in and try it before they run out (they started with 30 lbs, but I'm guessing way less is left after the weekend). You've never had something like this before.

                  By the way, the new green bean starter and the beet panzanella salad are both awesome. The duck entree is really good, as well. In fact, the duck rillette we had as an amuse bouche on both nights should be on the's that good. Actually, my wife would buy the carrot soup amuse we had on Thursday by the gallon.

                  Oh, and they changed the fantastic dougnuts dessert, and it's actually better.


                  1. re: barry

                    Every soup I've had so far has been stunningly delicious. Honestly, I think Eliot could just about do a spin-off restaurant of nothing but soup and have lines out the door and down the block a la the old Soup Kitchen International (immortalized in the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld) in New York City. I would say he could have Noca serve nothing but soup, but then we'd miss out on the wagyu pastrami. And the duck confit. And the fried chicken...

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      I completely agree on all counts. The roasted chestnut, sunchoke, and butternut squash (sadly, only sampled as an amuse bouch-sized pitcher) have all made us want to make a meal out of them.

                      With the duck confit as dessert. Toss in the fried chicken, and I'd just call it heaven.

                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        I had the cauliflower-squash soup last night as an add-on, and it was AMAZING. It was really rich, but I was splitting it so it was the perfect size as an extra course. I can't wait to try other flavors of soup they have! I've never eaten chestnuts or anything chestnut flavored, but I really want to try their chestnut soup. If it's half as good as the cauliflower, I'll be happy!

                        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                          I'm totally in on Eliot's Soup Kitchen International. Be there every day. Has to be a spin off though. Can't replace Noca.

                      2. re: Molto E

                        Here's my Noca Wagyu pastrami event.

                        Had read a good deal about the Wagyu pastrami & have been unable to get it out of my brain. My sister & brother-in-law were heading to NOCA the other night so I told her she must get it.

                        Ok fine, end of story, right? Nope. My subconscious kept churning all night & on the way home from an event, we had to detour by NOCA for some Wagyu pastrami of our own. Called Eliot & said they could do to go. Got there & it was packed - nice to see as it shows Arizonans have good taste. Saw my sister & bro-in-law & actually got an early taste of it but mainly tried to stay out of the way.

                        Ended up getting our to go order, ducked into Bashas to swipe some to go silverware (we're very classy) & jumped into the car. Opened up the box & started salivating immediately.

                        Two gorgeous hunks of Waygu. With reading the descriptions I had, I really had no idea what to expect. Thought maybe it'd be sliced pastrami piled up or something. Nope. It was definitely Waygu in all its glory. Still intact. It just additionally had a beautiful pastrami crust on it.

                        It was amazing. Luscious, tender, flavorful, amazingly rich. Wonderful pastrami accent but definitely didn't overwhelm the meat. Came over crispy whole grain mustard spatzle with a little horseradish crema on top.

                        Flat out amazing. I start craving it often and every single time I drive past 32nd street.

                        Had some fresh bread from the Phoenician bakery in the car on Saturday & would have died for a Wagyu pastrami sandwich on a baguette.

                        Love Noca...

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          We tried the pastrami for the first time on Thursday night and ccl describes it PERFECTLY! I'm not usually a fan of pastrami, but this was a delicious execution.

                          I could have sworn I heard somewhere that NOCA was thinking of offering this as a lunch item......or was I just dreaming that early this morning.....?

                          1. re: MesaChow

                            The owner of Noca did post that this morning, but the post has been removed.

                2. You Phoenix people are making one South of the Gila fellow very, very jealous! When the 401K gets down to "dinner for four" size, plus a room for the night--soon, so very soon--we're there!!!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: lawyerbriefs

                    P.S. I hope no one took my comment as a suggestion that Noca is overpriced, expensive, etc. From everything I've read it sounds like a great value for the price. While the 401K is really in bad shape, it's the lack of a free weekend that has kept us away. (And as a deli worker in the '70s--high school--the comment about the deckle on the brisket is on the money. Too lean is too dry!!!)

                    1. re: lawyerbriefs

                      I think Noca is a steal for the quality of the food at Eliot's price point. As I stated before, J. and I had two beers, two apps., two entrees, two desserts, two sodas and the extras (amuse, cotton candy, shortbread for the trip home) and the bill with tax was $118.00.

                      1. re: Seth Chadwick

                        Noca is indeed a very, very good value.

                        Consider, for example, that I recently just had dinner at PastBar in downtown Phoenix and spent a little over 90 for dinner for two. The meal was probably half of what a Sunday Supper meal at Noca would be -- both in terms of quality and quantity.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          how much booze did you drink? we were just there. 2 peeps, 2 iced tea's, shared an app, 2 entree's, about 35 bucks.

                          i thought the portions were more than fair. same with quality. thread hijack over. i'll post a whole new thread later this week on pastabar

                          1. re: winedubar

                            No booze (restaurant had no license)

                            2 apps, 2 pastas, 3 sides. Tax + tip.