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Nota Bene

The Urban Craze
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If you’ve walked along Queen St West past University Ave., you will have likely walked past Nota Bene. I know I’ve walked by this restaurant too many times to even count. I’ve been meaning to come here when it first opened in 2008 but being a student on a budget, the menu easily intimidated me to continue walking on. Lo and behold, four years later, I am still a student but with the promotion from Dining Date Night, it was the perfect opportunity to finally try out Nota Bene.

Nota Bene
180 Queen St W
Toronto, ON
M5V 3X3
(416) 977-6400


I was joined by Denice and fellow food blogger, CARMENHUNGRY for an evening of delectable eats. Being named Canada’s Best New Restaurant by Toronto Life (2009) and Air Canada’s Enroute Magazine (2008) we had high expectations for the evening.

Nota Bene - Bar Nota Bene - Interior

Nota Bene - FoodUpon entering, there stood a beautiful bar that looked like it stretched on forever. There was limited seating by the window area but the hostess quickly revealed to us that there was a full dining area steps away. Large paintings filled the tall dining room walls and patrons in business attire filled the tables.

It wasn’t easy choosing what to eat between the three of us. Everything sounded delicious but we decided on two appetizers to start: Crisp Duck Salad, Nota Bene’s signature dish and the Artisanal Black Pig Salumi, their version of a charcuterie board.

The salad has a distinct Southeast Asian flare, a marked example of Asian-fusion. The coriander and the sauce reminded me of the many Vietnamese dishes I grew up eating. The salad is topped with pieces of duck. The meat is moist but the skin is crispy, the perfect combination of texture and flavours to start. The dish is served complete with chopsticks, which didn’t make the only table with 3 Asian girls anymore Asian than we already are.

CRISP DUCK SALAD (nb Signature dish) Sumac-Dusted Green Papaya Slaw, Cashews

CRISP DUCK SALAD (nb Signature dish)
Sumac-Dusted Green Papaya Slaw, Cashews

The selection of meats for the charcuterie board is amazing! Each selection of meat is finely sliced and teased our taste buds enough leaving us wanting more. It was our first time trying the Lardo. Despite it being a piece of fat, it didn’t taste fatty at all and melted in our mouths near instantly!

ARTISANAL BLACK PIG SALUMI Coppa, Chorizo, Lardo, Goat’s Cheese, Pickled Vegetables

ARTISANAL BLACK PIG SALUMI
Coppa, Chorizo, Lardo, Goat’s Cheese, Pickled Vegetables

We followed up with the Wild Digby Sea Scallops (Denice), two of Nota Bene’s signature favourites: Rabbit Soffrito, Pappardelle Pasta (mine) and Jennifer’s Stilton Beef Brisket Burger (Carmen).

The scallops are cooked perfectly and are plated with a beautifully bright presentation with another Asian-fusion salad. This was my favourite entrée of the three.

WILD DIGBY SEA SCALLOPS Avocado Purée, Thai Curry Paste, Mango, Papaya & Peanut Salad

WILD DIGBY SEA SCALLOPS
Avocado Purée, Thai Curry Paste, Mango, Papaya & Peanut Salad

The Rabbit Soffrito is made with fresh pasta and would be the perfect savoury comfort food to warm your tummy. I can’t say I was a fan of it that night. It was definitely delicious but it was a little too heavy for me.

RABBIT SOFFRITO, PAPPARDELLE PASTA (nb Signature dish) Porcini Mushrooms, House Pancetta, Olives

RABBIT SOFFRITO, PAPPARDELLE PASTA (nb Signature dish)
Porcini Mushrooms, House Pancetta, Olives

Carmen ordered the burger done medium rare. I didn’t try it but according to Carmen, “At first, the burger does seem medium rare. I’m loving the caramelized onions, the stilton, and the Thuet bun! The fries are crispy too, but something is off…Turns out the doneness on the burger was not as rare as I would’ve liked because it got drier and drier as went along. D: I’ve heard such great things about this burger! So this was a bit disappointing.“

JENNIFER’S STILTON BEEF BRISKET BURGER (nb Signature dish) Pommes Frites

JENNIFER’S STILTON BEEF BRISKET BURGER (nb Signature dish)
Pommes Frites

LEMON SORBET Sugar Cookie

LEMON SORBET
Sugar Cookie

I normally like to finish the evening with a decadent treat but our bellies were so full to the point of belt-bursting, the three of us shared the Lemon Sorbet accompanied by a sugar cookie to end everything off on a sweet note.

Overall, the service was attentive and the food was close to being perfect. We may have set our expectations a little too high since the burger was a disappointment and I was only a 70% fan of the Rabbit Soffrito. I will definitely come back for a second try complete with high expectations and hope it will be exceeded the second time around!


The Damage: $120 after tax and tip (with 30% off entire bill from Dining Date Night promo) for 3 people


Nota Bene on Urbanspoon

About the author

Shirley

Best possible description of Shirley: A seemingly ordinary individual with an affinity for the unconventional. I have a great appreciation for and I am constantly amazed by the creativity and ingenuity expressed through food and art.

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