Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
My friend Michelle is part of yyceats - a group of Calgary-based Twitter users who meet up (almost!) monthly to try a new restaurant. I was lucky enough to be squeezed into their most recent outing to celebrity chef Michael Noble's latest venture, NOtaBLE.
People who aren't in "foodie circles" may not have heard of Noble, but have probably eaten his food - Noble was the executive chef at Catch before becoming the director of culinary and product development at Earls. He's also had a hand in Flatiron Grill, O and Kayne's, to name a few. Chef Noble has competed for Canada at the Bocuse d'Or competition in Lyon, France, as well as other culinary events (his awards are proudly displayed throughout NOtaBLE), but he is probably best known for being the first (only?) Canadian chef to appear on the original Iron Chef television series.
NOtaBLE's menu features traditional, classic dishes (with just a slight twist here and there), with an emphasis on local farmers and producers. There is a daily rotisserie special - unfortunately sold out when we arrived as we were having a late supper - and many of the items on the menu are available in "Taster" and "Main" portions. There is also a four-course market menu with wine pairings for $65.
The decor at NOtaBLE is warm and inviting, with dark wood accents and copper tabletops. There is a small lounge area at the front of the restaurant which looks onto the open kitchen, while the main restaurant area is dominated by comfy booths.
I thought the salt bowls were very zen, and the matching carafes of water placed on our table were a nice touch.
We were a large group, so some of us sipped on cocktails while waiting for the others to arrive - I ordered a caesar, which was nice and spicy, garnished with a wedge of lime, an olive and a pickled green bean. Yum.
I didn't get an appetizer, but James started with the house-cured duck prosciutto ($12), which was served with a watercress salad, rhubarb compote and toasts. He seemed to enjoy it, noting that the prosciutto was warmed just enough that the fat was starting to melt.
On the waitress's recommendation (she declared it her "favourite"), I had the ravioli of confit chicken, roast mushrooms and Boursin cheese ($24). sexyinyyc had started with it ($15) and said I would enjoy it, so I was really looking forward to the dish by the time it arrived.
The ravioli was as amazing as promised - the confit chicken filling was creamy and bursting with chicken flavour. The sauce was rich and cheesy, though it was a little too salty for me. The pasta was topped with two of my favourite vegetables, broccolini (aka rapini, or broccoli rabe) and golden beets - if I'd known, I would've asked for extra!
Michelle had the braised lamb shank ($30), which was served with a chanterelle and Asiago risotto.
Michelle kindly shared a few bites with me - the lamb shank was fall-off-the-bone tender, while the risotto was rich and flavourful, with the grains of rice cooked just al dente.
For dessert, there was a choice of four pastries, a cheese platter and a list of dessert wines, ports and French pressed coffee from Phil & Sebastian. The coffees were served with a timer, ensuring that the coffee was brewed just right when it was time to push down on the press and serve.
I unfortunately think I ordered the dud of the desserts - a caramelized Okanagan apple and almond galette ($9).
I liked the flaky pastry and the vanilla gelato, but the galette was so sticky with caramel that it stuck to the plate! The cooked apple was also impossible to slice through with just a fork. Overall, it was difficult to eat and too sweet for my taste.
I had a nibble of Michelle's triple dark chocolate flourless cake ($10), which was creamy, decadent and not too sweet. Served with a scoop of chocolate sorbet.
The most intriguing item on the dessert menu is probably the stilton cheesecake ($9). I didn't order it because I'm not a fan of blue cheese, but those who did seemed to like the interesting flavour and the caramelized top. That's probably what I will have next time.
My favourite part of the restaurant was actually our waitress. She was perky without being annoyingly so, and seemed to know her way around the menu, but was honest if there was a dish she hadn't tried. My favourite part of the meal was the conversation - it was a nice treat to go out with a big group, and we stayed and chatted long after we paid the bill. I know I didn't have a chance to get to know the entire group (we were split between two tables) but I hope to get to know them better on Twitter before the next outing!
4611 Bowness Rd NW
Calgary AB T3B 0B2
Open Tues-Wed 11:30 AM-10 PM; Thu-Fri 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sat 10 AM-11 PM; Sun 10 AM-9 PM. Closed Mondays. Reservations recommended. Underground parking available.