Mere hours after consuming most of a turkey, the FoodBunch had a date for lunch at new and hip Calgary restaurant, NOtaBLE (with capitalization inspired by the last name of executive chef Michael Noble). Located rather unconventionally in Montgomery, NOtaBLE has been drawing a great deal of attention on the Calgary food scene.
Michael Noble’s resume speaks for itself. After running popular restaurants in Calgary and Vancouver, appearing on the original Japanese Iron Chef (Battle Potato), and developing menus for Earls, Chef Noble struck out on his own. Serving comfortable food with a gourmet edge, was this a notable experience, or merely commonplace?
The Place: NOtaBLE The Restaurant
The Location: 4611 Bowness Road NW, Calgary AB
The Style: Gourmet Comfort Food
The Cost: $15-35 per entree
The interior of the restaurant is is modern in design, but is also welcoming with the use of dark wood. The kitchen is WIDE open, a quality I always appreciate, as I feel like the kitchen is forced to be clean and well run. The giant, wood burning rotisserie oven lends further to the feeling of comfort. Our server was pleasant and well mannered if not terribly engaging, and the restaurant was chilly throughout – cool enough to want your coat on (we’d heard that the building has various HVAC issues). One particular point of interest was a program charging $1 for a litre of quadruple upside-down reverse osmoso-blasted water (or something) with all the proceeds going to charity. Very nice touch.
Technically, it was Brunch, but everyone ordered lunch type items from the very comforting Brunch menu. I chose the monthly burger feature – a homemade Bison patty topped with aged cheddar, horseradish mayo and pickled onions, while Megan opted for Cavatappi with Lamb Bolognese.
I enjoyed my meal a great deal. The burger itself was properly cooked and seasoned, but the toppings really made it sing. The sharpness of the cheese and mayo was nicely balanced by the sweet-pickled red onions. Oh, and the bun was a gem too – homemade (of course), and crusted with asiago. The burger was served with fries of course – and they were delicious – crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. In all, I’d definitely be a repeat customer to discover the monthly burger creation. It was certainly gourmet, but totally accessible to anyone’s palette.
Megan’s pasta was very tasty – the red wine in the bolognese came through loud and clear, and the lamb was flavourful without coming across as gamey. There was also a hint of sweetness in the sauce – this balanced out what could have been a somewhat salty sauce. Overall, this was a very simple dish. Tasty, to be sure, but nothing mind boggling or memorable (in fact, as I was writing this, we both struggled to remember what Megan had).
Dessert, which we HAD to have, was excellent. We ordered the banana bread pudding, which came with cinnamon gelato. Essentially, it was a big slice of banana bread (that part right in the middle of the loaf that’s a bit undercooked) covered in sweet custard. The gelato was stellar – perfectly smooth, and tasting like cinnamon sugar, and the plate was garnished with homemade caramel. To me, when caramel is so easy to make, and SO much better when homemade, there’s no excuse for any restaurant worth its salt to use bottled caramel. So, big points for REAL caramel! I wouldn’t hesitate to have this again, but I’d like to attempt the other delicious dessert options offered.
And so, kudos to chef Noble and the team behind NOtaBLE for a job well done. NOtaBLE is a casual and comfortable place, serving tasty food without feeling pretentious. It’s a place that I think you could feel just as good taking your grandparents as that hot date on a friday night. Definitely recommended.