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Nota Bene - underdelivers at Lunch

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I had read some postings that felt that the service had been a little weak. I have to add that the service today was shoddy. Here is where they missed

We were seated promptly and abandoned. Thankfully water was on the table because I was meeting someone who had already arrived. Nary a server for maybe 10 minutes. Thats an eternity.

At that point we put in drink and food orders at once. My guest orders the tuna tartar but since we have ordered a side of Frites for the Table asks to sub out the potato chip side for Green Papaya Slaw side on another item. "Uh I can bring it with green salad" says the errant server. Not "i will try/ask/see what I can do - just decides that they are not as good as Burger King and you have it the way we want you to.

Order a glass of Pinot Noir - I dont see a Pinot by the glass as one of the 5 choices. Server suggests a Pinot Grigio - uh "we were thinking of red wine. Any of these more obscure varietals close - kind of full-bodied?" She has no idea and she is not inclined to get anyone who knows. Ignorance is bliss apparently. $15 for a glass of wine and we need to wing it - nice.

My arugala salad comes out, I am waiting for my guest's green salad. And waiting...and waiting. Finally i hail the Maitre D - he sends out the missing salad - the runner is full of apologies about mix ups in the kitchen.

The mains come out fine and we are once again abandoned, no check back, god help you if you want another drink, 2 of the 3 water glasses are empty now. Its gettting embarassing. The MD walks bye and ask him for "water please" - the busser comes by as they are clearing and fills MY water glass and leaves. I am shocked and have to ask one of the runners who is clearing to send the busser back to fill the second empty water glass on the table.

The dessert menus are closed and we wait...and wait. This time the Maitre D figures out that we dont really have a server and HE takes the desert order.

The service was just disorganzed and ineffective.

Green Salad was very plain mixed greens dumped into a bowl - too simple
Arugula/Prosciutto salad was tasty but poorly plated with large slices of prosciutto draped over the greens
Wagyu burger - what can i say its a $44 burger. But I think it had bacon on it - which I find kind of weird. What is the point of wagyu if you are going to bacon it.
Tuna Tartar was good
My Pasta alla chitara with tomato sauce had an excellent texture to it was creamy and quite good, - a little bland though.
Deserts were good, not great. (blueberry crumble and sticky toffee pudding)

Hard to enjoy average or even above average food with below average service. Sometimes its not a big deal, on this occasion my guest of honour was a VIP (to me) in for the film festival and someone who would have high expectations of service. Note THIS well - they need to improve their service to avoid embarassing guests dropping $100 per person for lunch at a boite on Queen west.

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Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

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  1. My SO and I just had lunch at NB today and had a different experience. We had a bus to catch and only had about an hour for a quick bite. We were quickly seated and we let our server know that we are on a bit of a tight schedule. Our drink and food orders were quickly taken. Our water/drinks came soon after along with some bread. Strangely, no butter accompanied the bread, so we had to ask for some and was offered some olive oil instead, which we were okay with.

    We ordered the hot and sour soup with the sea bass and brisket burger. The hot and sour soup was decent but not what I had expected. I was hoping for more of kick in terms of heat, but it had more of a mild flavour to it with a fair amounts of chicken but didn't really sense much smokiness described.

    The sea bass was pretty good and the portion was generous and fish was fairly well cooked. Perhaps a touch overcooked, but still decent. Once again, I found the flavour to be a little too bland to my likings but SO enjoyed it.

    The standout for me was the burger! The patty was thick like a baseball and it was topped with sauteed onions and a couple slices of cheese. The cheese was fairly strong, (blue perhaps) and it gave the burger a nice kick. The frites were standard and were preetty tasty. Strangely, we had to ask for some mayo for the frite.

    Service was very good in my opinion and none of the issues described by marcharry occured. Water was filled constantly and we were checked up on multiple times to make sure all is good. We were in and out in less than an hour, which was exactly what we were looking for. I've dined at NB in the past for dinner and have received spotty service but today was great. Just a luck of the draw I guess, but I agree that a restaurant like this should be more consistent, but I would definitely return.