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ahurwich

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Posts posted by ahurwich

  1. Well, I have been to every themed Simple Sunday Supper except BBQ night, but I plan to be there this Sunday 12/7.

    The second Fried Chicken night even surpassed the first. Friends with me that Sunday said it was the best Fried Chicken they have eaten. I don't disagree and NOCA says they can do even better next time.

    Pictures of last Sunday's Home Style Italian Night. NOCA provided the comfort food I needed when the Suns lost after leading virtually the entire game.

    Blue cheese foam apple butter Amuse

    gallery_35305_6206_12838.jpg

    Antipasto - Assorted organic vegetables, Iitoi onion fritatta, Bresaola, and cheese.

    gallery_35305_6206_2593.jpg

    Spaghetti and Meatballs (Chitarra con Polpetini) Garlic Brioche Toast (not pictured)

    gallery_35305_6206_42448.jpg

    NOCA's take on Spumoni (Pistachio creme, walnut sable, black cherry gelato, roasted walnut foam)

    gallery_35305_6206_18550.jpg

    And by the way. 4.5 Stars from the Arizona Republic

    http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining/articl...081117noca.html

    NOCA'S Simple Supper has evolved and it is not so "simple" anymore. The overall format is still the same with 3 courses including a choice of entree for $35 but now there are supplements to the "Simple" menu as well. I have been to a bunch of the suppers and it definitely has developed a following. On a few of the Fried Chicken Night's that I have been to, there was not a seat to be had by 7:00 pm and that is not a typical scene for Sunday night dining at least in Phoenix.

    gallery_35305_6184_18270.jpg

    April 5 Simple Supper Menu

    After watching the Suns get pasted by the Mavericks, I was down in the area and slid into NOCA for an early dinner...I started with the Simple Cocktail which was their take on the Bellini and it had peach and raspberry puree, Effen Vodka and a prosecco float...very good.

    gallery_35305_6184_47050.jpg

    NOCA Bellini

    gallery_35305_6184_41343.jpg

    Amuse...Bruschetta with Olive Tapenade, Oven Dried Tomatoes and Chives

    The soup's at NOCA are always a favorite of mine (I miss the Roasted Chestnut)

    so I started with the Organic Cheddar Cauliflower.

    gallery_35305_6184_12598.jpg

    Organic Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

    gallery_35305_6184_56918.jpg

    Spicy Sausage Stuffed Calamari-shaved fennel and arugula salad, balsamic vinaigrette, shaved parmigiano-reggiano and preserved lemon

    The first time I had stuffed calamari was at Degustation in NY and I became a fan but I do not see this dish that often so I was psyched when it was a first course option. The texture of the calamari was just right and the spicy sausage had just the right kick so it did not over power the dish.

    gallery_35305_6184_41326.jpg

    Organic Golden Cauliflower Florets, Shaved Garlic, White Anchovy, Chili Flakes, Meyer Lemon Zest

    When burrata is on a menu somehow it finds the way to my table :huh: , this was a great dish. I was seated at the Chef's counter and watched this dish come together. The anchovy was sauteed with the golden cauliflower florets, shaved garlic and chili flakes so the anchovy just melted in to the pan so the other ingredients would absorb it's essence. The burrata was a great medium to transfer the flavors into the burrata's creamy goodness.

    gallery_35305_6184_16034.jpg

    Polpettini en Brodo

    gallery_35305_6184_61275.jpg

    Braised Veal Tagliatelle, Herbed Bread Crumbs, Meyer Lemon Zest

    The pasta was house-made and the braised veal and the braising liquid had a deep rich flavor that was nicely popped by the lemon zest and that made this dish truly Italian comfort food. My problem was that I had ordered the polpettini supplement before this and that really filled me up so that prevented me from finishing the dish with dessert to follow.

    gallery_35305_6184_21644.jpg

    Ricotta Zeppole's, Lemon Curd, Honey Foam, Bee Pollen

    The doughnuts on NOCA's standard dessert menu are addictive but I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite between the zeppole and them. I liked the soft interior of the zeppole and smearing them thru the lemon curd and honey foam made a killer bite :biggrin: .

    The moral of this story is: don't bet on the Suns if they are playing on a Sunday and it is Italian Simple Supper at NOCA.

  2. Well, I have been to every themed Simple Sunday Supper except BBQ night, but I plan to be there this Sunday 12/7.

    The second Fried Chicken night even surpassed the first. Friends with me that Sunday said it was the best Fried Chicken they have eaten. I don't disagree and NOCA says they can do even better next time.

    Pictures of last Sunday's Home Style Italian Night. NOCA provided the comfort food I needed when the Suns lost after leading virtually the entire game.

    Blue cheese foam apple butter Amuse

    gallery_35305_6206_12838.jpg

    Antipasto - Assorted organic vegetables, Iitoi onion fritatta, Bresaola, and cheese.

    gallery_35305_6206_2593.jpg

    Spaghetti and Meatballs (Chitarra con Polpetini) Garlic Brioche Toast (not pictured)

    gallery_35305_6206_42448.jpg

    NOCA's take on Spumoni (Pistachio creme, walnut sable, black cherry gelato, roasted walnut foam)

    gallery_35305_6206_18550.jpg

    And by the way. 4.5 Stars from the Arizona Republic

    http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining/articl...081117noca.html

  3. I have had several Sunday Suppers as well as full on dinners at noca but did a solo grazing on tuesday with camera this time. There was one seat open at the Chef's Counter so I grabbed it.

    One Sunday the amuse was the chilled white corn soup seen on the main menu. That amuse was a tease so this time I had to satisfy myself with a full order.

    Chilled White Corn Soup

    Baby Carrots, Chorizo Croquettes, Smoked Paprika Oil

    gallery_35305_6206_27673.jpg

    gallery_35305_6206_4756.jpg

    gallery_35305_6206_24498.jpg

    Next was a Crudo

    Big Eye Tuna

    Roasted Peppers, Jalapéno Tempura, Red Wine Gastrique, Red Sichuan Pepper

    Corn

    gallery_35305_6206_38450.jpg

    I have had this before but tonight the preperation was a little different, the tuna being seared. Chef Curtiss is a wizard with crudo. The flavor combinations he conjures up are magical.

    Some pasta

    Agnolotti

    Pancetta, Pork, Beef, Herb Butter

    gallery_35305_6206_7099.jpg

    It doesn't seem that pancetta, pork, and beef would be a light dish, however these little stuffed pillows were delicate and delicious.

    Spinach Mezzaluna

    Ricotta, Mascarpone, Pecorino, Balsamic

    gallery_35305_6206_63232.jpg

    Molto bene Chef Curtiss

    A little gelato to end the meal and Bob's you uncle you have another dining option at noca.

  4. Simple Supper II

    Went back for The Simple Supper last night and didn't take my camera so I have no pictures to share, but the meal was excellent.

    The Summer Salad consisted of red oak, nappa cabbage, shaved fennel, red onions, with citrus honey vinaigrette.

    Everyone in the goup ordered the same entree. Hangar steak, baby green beans, beech mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and beurre rouge.

    Crudo was also available with a choice of big eye tuna, kampachi, or fluke. We didn't order any last night but I have had it several times and it is good enough to be thought of as a signature dish.

  5. Sunday may become the new Saturday night.

    With a fixed three course menu at an attractive price NOCA's SIMPLE SUPPER on Sunday nights could become a tough reservation to get. The offering is a salad, choice of entree from fish, meat, and vegetable, and desert. Price is $35.00.

    I dined with two others and we ordered the entire menu.

    Vichysoisse with sea bean was sent out as an amouse.

    gallery_35305_6184_30877.jpg

    Next was the Sunday Salad: Baby greens, Camparai tomatoes, caperberries, red onion, Nicoise olives, garlic croutons, balsamic vinaigrette.

    gallery_35305_6184_25171.jpg

    Main Courses

    Halibut was the market fish tonight with tomato confit, zuchinni tortellini, balsamic reduction.

    gallery_35305_6184_33589.jpg

    Skirt Steak with white bean ragout, melted onions, red wine sauce

    gallery_35305_6184_59470.jpg

    Tasting of Summer Vegetables, poached, roasted, and glazed.

    gallery_35305_6184_60457.jpg

    This showed up before dessert

    gallery_35305_6184_46309.jpgCotton Candy: It's not just for breakfast anymore.

    Followed by the actual dessert as listed on the menu

    Brownie Sundae, marscapone glelato, salted spanish peanuts, carmel fondue

    gallery_35305_6184_34995.jpg

    Not being able to leave well enough alone we asked if the Gelato sampler available on other nights was a possibility and...

    gallery_35305_6184_5285.jpg chocolate, coffee, pistachio, and malted vanilla.

    NOCA has hit its marks every other night I have dined there and the Sunday Simple Supper is a winner for the customer and could turn into a home run for NOCA.

  6. Had dinner at the Painted Horse Cafe a couple of nights ago.  The ambiance was very comfortable, service was quite good and the food was good, not great but very solid.  I had foie gras app and a lobster entree.  While the vanilla sauce that came w/ the lobster was not my cup of tea I know its a hot combination these days.  Everything was prepared very well.  The person I was with had the veal loin and while it was slightly under-seasoned they enjoyed it and the tuna tartar app.  The brownie dessert was pure comfort food.  Nice place for a casual Sunday evening.

    drpny,

    I have had similarly satisfying meals at Painted Horse.

    On one occasion I was dining with a friend and her 18 year old son. The 18 year old has been dining out with the adults since he was a toddler so has experience a lot gastronomically for a youngster. He had the lobster and after the first bite started laughing and said it was one of the best things he ever tasted. I'm sure every chef would like to get that kind of response.

    ahurwich

  7. Genny,

    I've been spending a little more time in the east valley recently so have had the opportunity to try some different restaurants.

    We ate at Dual and I was not as impressed as you. Right off the bat, any restaurant that is offering a tasting menu should not be plopping a glass of water with ice and a straw on the table and not offering a choice of tap or bottled water.

    The restaurant space did look good, maybe not too surprising for this rural area anymore. However, some of the patrons still had a bit of a scruffy edge. Please remove all baseball caps upon entering the premises.

    We also had the tuna tartare and it was very tasty although I would prefer a finer chop to the tatare.

    Entrees were the Seared Duck Breast sweat pea risotto w/Marsala sauce and Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna with mustard glazed cous cous, green beans, peppercorn sauce. I enjoyed the risotto and cous cous more than either entree with both duck and tuna being somewhat bland.

    We did not order dessert and had brownies at home instead.

    If you haven't yet, try Binkley's or Vu in my part of town.

    ahurwich

  8. Eliot, bravo for keeping this restaurant in the news.  I too have eaten many times at this restaurant since Chef Brian has been at the helm and have found his food to unmatched in the Valley (ok I know you'd say Binkley's but top two for sure).  Quite frankly the food is far superior than when the past chef was the top toque.  :smile: Lets keep talking about it and perhaps we can pry more of the Valley diners out of their comfort zone and into a truly awesome dining experience.

    drpny,

    I have eaten at Vu twice and am as impressed with Chef Brian Lewis as both you and molto e. The word needs to get out.

    ahurwich

  9. Tis the season...wishing you and yours a tasty white truffle season

    gallery_30892_2035_56119.jpg

    Out of the ground in Italy on Tuesday...in Phoenix on Friday...got the call and off to the ATM

    gallery_30892_2035_181755.jpg

    Mrs. White Truffle picks out a favorite

    gallery_30892_2035_111849.jpg

    YEP

    gallery_30892_2035_684914.jpg

    Dinner...Baked eggs with truffled cream

    being served this evening at Mary Elaine's, Sassi, Binkley's, Sea Saw and the Vu at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch

    Reward for combination to James Beard Award winning Chef Brad Thompson's Truffle Humidor at Mary Elaine's (it's full)

    Molto E aka Deep Truffle

    Thanks for the heads up. Calling for reservations and hope to be wallowing in truffles soon.

  10. Dinner at SEASAW saturday night 12/03. Had a variation of the chef's menu that included Bream, Spanish Mackrel, and Blue Fin, all line caught rather than farm raised, as well as a few of the dishes shown in Molto e's pictures above. The various dishes fell into three catagories: best, even better, and beyond. I hope more people in Phoenix find and appreciate what chef Nobu is doing here.

    ahurwich

  11. This is the time of year to reflect and give thanks and number one on my the list is Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek. I thought that I would have a light meal the night before Thanksgiving.

    gallery_35305_1628_218622.jpg

    The meal started with an Amuse Bouche of Butternut Squash soup

    gallery_35305_1628_1347449.jpg

    The second Amuse was Citrus Cured Salmon rolled around lemon scented fromage blanc

    gallery_35305_1628_965003.jpg

    First courses:

    Boudin Blanc- choucroute, juniper-white wine emulsion

    The choucroute was absolutely delicious

    gallery_35305_1628_1170807.jpg

    Menage a Foie Gras- Flan, mousse, drops, balsamic reduction, quince marmalade, melba toast, bread and butter parsnip pickles

    Foie, Foie and more Foie

    gallery_35305_1628_375989.jpg

    Second course:

    Truffles-white truffle biscuits and gravy, sunny side up quail egg, black truffle cream filled doughnut holes

    I licked the plate clean

    gallery_35305_1628_103833.jpg

    Entree:

    Veal Squared- red wine braised cheeks, crispy sweetbreads, baby carrots, baby turnips, smashed yukon potato

    I never miss a shot at Chef's crispy sweetbreads

    gallery_35305_1628_98711.jpg

    Kobe Flat Iron Steak- scalloped potatoes, confit garlic, haricots verts, crispy bone marrow, red wine demi-glace

    This is the best steak that I have ever had as they say like BUTTER. This is Wagyu from Australia and so goooood.

    gallery_35305_1628_61701.jpg

    gallery_35305_1628_826492.jpg

    Dessert:

    Snack Foods- Twinkie, cup cake, fig newton and smore

    gallery_35305_1628_837892.jpg

    Chocolate- a trio of chocolate delights

    gallery_35305_1628_616630.jpg

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