Does NOtaBLE restaurant live up to its name?
“It started with a couple of cooking classes in high school. Then I realized,” says Chef Michael Noble of his 30-year journey in the kitchen, “there are a lot of girls in this class.”
So began a moving speech from Noble at the grand opening of NOtaBLE, the restaurant which bears his name. Located in the community of Montgomery in an unassuming condo/retail development, the restaurant would be easy to miss if not for all the buzz surrounding it.
The space itself gives off a decidedly unpretentious vibe. “This is about community; not about fine dining,” explains Noble, NOtaBLE's Chef and creator. The decor certainly reflects this casual philosophy. One wall is lined with numerous lateral slices of a tree trunk. There are the cozy green, beige and brown velour booths. There are the friendly staff who seem willing to bend over backwards.
At the heart of it all is the open kitchen with a giant wood-burning rotisserie and grill featuring flames licking a dozen seasoned, juicy chickens. Drool.
“A chef has got to be crazy to put something like this in the restaurant,” says Bruno Marti, a chef and mentor of Noble. Along with the demands of keeping such a rotisserie clean, there's also “trying to fit in all the people who want to sit here in the winter,” says Marti.
Using local and seasonal products with technical flair, we were impressed with what we sampled. The grilled Tombo tuna sandwich with pickled cucumber, togarashi mayo and house-made sesame bun was unique and delicious. The tomato with a white balsamic sorbet was deceptively simple and flavourful. There were also fine cheeses, fireweed honey olive tapenade and razor-thin sweet potato chips to snack on. Although we were sad to miss out on the ravioli stuffed with confit chicken from the rotisserie, we were happy as clams to sip on a martini made with ginger vodka, pineapple vodka, prosecco and a splash of juice.
Let's not forget Noble's culinary achievements. Best known as the only Canadian chef to appear on the Japanese version of Iron Chef, Noble was also a member of Team Canada in 1996, helping to bring home three gold and three bronze medals at the World Culinary Olympics. Along with award-winning stints at Catch, and Vancouver’s Metropolitan Hotel, he was also National Chair of the Bocuse d'Or Canada.
“If you have knowledge," Noble explains, "give it away. Don't keep it.”
It seems the same can be said of the food at NOtaBLE, for which I will return for and—if the grand opening was any indication—spread the word about. So far, the food at NOtaBLE is certainly living up to its name.
NOtaBLE restaurant, 4611 Bowness Road NW, Calgary, 403.288.4372, www.notablerestaurantworks.ca
Anh Chu is a freelance food and lifestyle writer living in Alberta. She loves to eat and share ideas on the best restaurants, pizza, egg tarts, sushi, and more in Calgary and beyond on www.icameforthefood.com