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supersweet asparagus at Nota Bene

prima May 25, 2011 01:03 PM

Dined at Nota Bene last night, and was wowed by the supersweet local asparagus that they're using in the softshell crab with asparagus and ramps dish. Not sure where they are sourcing their asparagus, but it tasted more like German asparagus than your standard ON asparagus. Their lobster/avocado/bacon/blue cheese/romaine salad was better tasting, and more generous with the lobster, than I remember it in past visits. Generous side dishes of frites and rapini. And a new preparation of octopus with kimchi, apple and ginger, and Digby scallops with white asparagus.

They also had Lake Erie pickerel on the current menu, which isn't listed on the website's online menu

For those of you who like fiddleheads, fiddleheads are offered as a sidedish on the current menu at Nota Bene.

Happy to see some new dishes and so many seasonal vegetables on the current menu.

Best meal I've had at Nota Bene since it opened.

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

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  1. jlunar RE: prima May 25, 2011 01:53 PM

    The fiddleheads were really quite good when I had them last week. Tasty side.

    1. s
      smsiegel RE: prima May 25, 2011 05:57 PM

      I also went to Nota Bene for the first time (and brought four out of town guests) yesterday and was completely underwhelmed. The only thing redeeming about the experience was the wonderful waitress and sommelier - I thought the food was completely disappointing. That said, I did not have the seasonal vegetables but the tuna tartare to start and the pappardelle with wild boar ragu as a main (that dish is my weakness!). There wasn't anything that stood out about the meal which - I guess - is my real issue.

      I dined at Splendido last week and was looking forward to comparing the two restaurants. Unfortunately, my expectations were clearly too high.

      However, I'm glad to know that possibly I just did not order the best dishes on the menu. Good to know if I ever go back which most likely won't happen soon, but I appreciate the recommendations.

      I'm just not sure the exorbitant price is worth another underwhelming experience!

      88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

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

      4 Replies
      1. re: smsiegel
        prima RE: smsiegel May 25, 2011 06:49 PM

        Sorry to hear NB was a miss for you. I usually stick with seafood and seasonal vegetables/dishes at Nota Bene. In fact, I usually stick to the seafood and vegetable dishes at most upscale restaurants in TO, and rarely venture into the realm of pork/ boar, unless it's takes the form of souvlaki, dumplings, or char siu. :-)

        Which dishes did you enjoy the most at Splendido last week?

        Are the Dutch White Asparagus on Splendido's current menu imported from Holland, or are they a Dutch variety grown in ON? Seems a little strange for Splendido to be importing Dutch asparagus when local ON white and green asparagus is at its peak. Cookstown Greens grows white asparagus, and Mazak Farms grows organic, white asparagus, so it's not like white asparagus isn't being grown in ON.

        In case anyone wants to support ON farmers who grow asparagus, check out this list: http://www.asparagus.on.ca/growers1.php

        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

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

        Northern Dumpling Kitchen
        550 7 Hwy E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B3Z4, CA

        Folia Grill
        1031 Pape Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 3V9, CA

        John's Chinese BBQ Restaurant
        328 Hwy 7, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1A1, CA

        1. re: prima
          table4onthefly RE: prima May 25, 2011 08:26 PM

          I think pre-season they import, and then once we start getting them locally, they switch over.

          1. re: table4onthefly
            prima RE: table4onthefly May 26, 2011 10:18 AM

            Ok, good to know. Thanks table4onthefly. Looks like the current online menu on Splendido's website was uploaded on April 14th, according to date on the PDF form of the menu, so it's quite possible the asparagus they are serving now would be local ones.

            88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

          2. re: prima
            smsiegel RE: prima May 27, 2011 08:40 AM

            hi Prima,
            I had the pickerel at Splendido which was to die for - my boyfriend and I were both fighting over the second piece:) He had the braised lamb with sausage which wasn't special - not a lot of flavor. We had the veal ragu as an appetizer (can you see a theme here) and it was delightful, the perfect amount.

            The raw scallops as an app did nothing for me - it was the first time I've had them raw and they were too fishy, which I was expecting. Our jump into the adventurous did not go very far!

            I also had the best stinky cheese I've ever tasted and I wish I could remember the name of it. Their selection is rather small so I'm sure your server can point it out as it was absolutely delightful.

            Overall, a great meal. I may have to try NB again after your suggestions. Thank you!

            88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

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