I'll bet you'd never guess that a restaurant named Noble: An American Cookery would be pretentious, right?
Last night, thanks to the magic of Groupon, my ex (Punchadelphia) and I had dinner at Noble. It is conveniently situated right across the street from where my theatre company lives, which made it a pre-show dinner no-brainer. Punchadelphia and I are awesome eaters - alone, together, we know how to eat. We like to share, we like to try stuff out, and we're even expanding our comfort zones. We chose two main dishes that both included mushrooms, usually a deal-breaker for Punchadelphia. Me? I love mushrooms. This is probably why our relationship didn't work out.
The decor of Noble is absolutely lovely. I heartily recommend going in for drinks, just to sit at their incredible bar- a gigantic slab of a naturally fallen tree. It is so beautiful. Of course it is winter now so everything is tucked indoors, but in the spring and summer the most popular seats are in the window, facing the street. There is a large granite counter, and seats on either side (some inside some out), so you can dine al fresco with friends who like the atmosphere but hate to actually be on the sidewalk.
We ate upstairs in the deserted second floor. They grow herbs and greens on their roof and the ceiling is all skylight. Again, lovely, even on a cloudy February night. He had a great glass of wine - Clayhouse Red, I think - and I had a Hendricks martini up with extra olives. As I only planned to have one drink, I decided to go for the Big Girl Drink. We shared Peekytoe Crab Salad to start, and the menu describes sunchoke, grapefruit, fennel, truffle dressing.
It was delicious and sunchoke puree, grapefruit sections and fennel were perfect compliments to the crab salad. But on top of the salad was a perfectly formed circle of grapefruit gelée. It was difficult to eat with the salad and, to me at least (though I didn't mention it at dinner), it sort of looked like a flat breast implant. So, we'll call that a draw.
I ordered fluke with littleneck clams, asparagus, celery root, and Meyer lemon. Punchadelphia ordered braised beef cheek with okinawa sweet potato, bluefoot mushrooms, and red wine miso. The fluke was perfect spiced and cooked, served on celery root puree (though it may have been sunchokes again, since that is what it tasted like). The plating made me roll my eyes slightly, as the plate was sauced very precisely in just four places - four tiny Venn diagrams of clam reduction, Meyer lemon reduction, and miso. They were delicious together and perfect with the fluke, so I just swirled them around and stopped judging. On top of the fluke were three spears of asparagus which I can only describe as the most girth-ful asparagus spears I have ever encountered. They were downright pornographic. And tasty.
We were told that the beef cheek dish was the chef's attempt to make an all-purple plate. Wine-braised beef, purple yams, purple microgreens. (Wait, can a microgreen be purple?) It...didn't look awesome. Because in cooking, often "purple" translates to "black," and the lighting did not help this. I actually shied away from the potatoes because I was convinced they were some sort of pureed liver or offal of SOME sort and I was simply not in that adventurous of a mood. Once I found out it was just some goth potatoes, I was into it. Again: DELICIOUS. The beef cheek was fork-tender and totally delicious. It turns out bluefoot mushrooms are fantastic and a new favorite for me. All in all, the food was great, if the presentation was a little funny.
Punchadelphia had Mexican-Chocolate Pate for dessert, which I sampled (of course). There was a bit of ice cream with it and some sauce - a little spicy and a little fruity. Dude. If you like chocolate, this is a dish you must have.
All in all, I would say the food was hilarious to look at, nice to eat. I don't know that I'll need to go back anytime soon, but I wouldn't be mad if someone insisted we go.
Noble: An American Cookery
2025 Sansom Street