I’d waited and waited…a restaurant called Nosh. It was like the mother ship calling me home. I mean, that might have been one of the most-used words of my childhood. Every Sunday when we would go to my Zada’s, his wife would always ask if I wanted a “little nosh” even if we had just eaten dinner. I think I was being punished for being thin.
Fast forward – and I’d seen the restaurant Nosh a couple of doors down from my regular salon. And, I knew it as the former location of Aurora. Add to that, my gal Robin had been there before and raved about the short ribs…I was in.
So my gal pals and I make a reservation for 8:45pm. Thanks Open Table for getting us in. We arrive a couple of minutes early and are told we’ll need to wait at the bar for a few minutes. After dodging servers, we land a couple of stools at the bar. Thanks to the cute bartender Moses (actual first name, Aaron), we were able to enjoy a cocktail to accompany our wait. After gossip and questions about Moses’ tattoos…we realized that it had been an inordinate amount of time since we’d arrived. Thus – it was time for a second drink.
It was also about this time that I started asking for freebies from the hostess. I mean – what’s the point of a reservation if you are going to end up waiting an hour for a table, right? I manage to score us some free hummus…despite the hostess’ protestations that she was likely to get in trouble for comping us something if management found out. Really? Perhaps I should have told her up front about my blog and maybe they might have been more accommodating. Surely the avoidance of a scathing review is worth a plate of so-so hummus. Did I mention that we got charged for all of our drinks too?
I guess I should note – we could have been seated sooner had we been willing to settle for spots at either the food bar that overlooks the kitchen (would have forced the 3 of us to sit side-by-side which doesn’t really facilitate conversation plus it was about 110 degrees there) or at a high-top in the bar. At that point, it was a matter of principle. I made a reservation – I expect a proper table.
And after an hour and five minutes, we received that proper table. We were assured by the hostess (whom, by now, I shouldn’t trust) that our waiter was awesome. Let’s put it this way – he was so the opposite of awesome, it wasn’t worth it to me to remember his name for this post. Plus, the only time his name was ever mentioned was when the hostess said it; he didn’t even bother introducing himself when he greeted our table. We should have left and headed for the Jack in the Box drive through immediately. But…it turns out that we’re gluttons for punishment.
We order their special appetizer of the evening – fried green tomatoes (FGTs). Robin and I are, after all, on the prowl for the best fried green tomatoes. These were pretty tasty and were different from others I’ve had. This one was almost a fusion of traditional FGTs and a caprese salad, given the addition of fresh mozzarella on top. Either way, it beat the hummus, but still doesn’t measure up to the FGTs at Hattie’s or Screen Door.
Get ready for the most grievous offense of the evening. You ready? I already know that I’m going for the short ribs. I mean, they’re accompanied by cheddar grits. Done and done. Jennifer is thinking scallops or tuna but hears the siren song of the cheddar and bacon potatoes that accompany the beef tenderloin medallions. What’s a girl to do? Ask for a substitution, of course. What is our no-name waiter’s response to this seemingly small request? “I’m not going to be the one to ask for that.” Seriously? Seriously.
Now, I can’t help myself. So of course I ask, “Aw…is there a little bit of strife between the wait staff and the kitchen tonight?” At this juncture, NNW backpedals a bit and notes that the menu kindly requests no substitutions but reiterates his original statement. What’s that sound? The sound of your tip dropping exponentially.
After all of this, you’re probably wondering…what about the food? Well, the short ribs were good, but inconsistently cooked. I had one that just melted and fell apart just as any good braised short rib should. Then I had another that was crazily tough. Perhaps this particular guy didn’t get his fair share of the braising liquid, I don’t know. Had the texture been consistent, my reviews would have been better, despite my irritated mood. The grits kicked ass. So, at least there was that. The rest of the table seemed to enjoy their food as well – yet I didn’t see anyone whipping out pen and paper…er…I mean, their iPhones – to write home about it.
Lest I forget. Midway through our meal, we see a girl at the table next to us get the tenderloin medallions with a side of those delicious potatoes. One look and Jennifer decides she just has to have them, so we order a side a la carte. Note – the kitchen staff is far more generous with the side items when they accompany an entree than they are when you actually pay the a la carte price and order them solo. At least, this is the case with the potatoes.
We had dessert – but it isn’t really worth mentioning. It was chocolatey. It was tasty. It wasn’t memorable. The pecan pie I currently have baking excites me more, to be quite honest. That’s a big statement, actually, because there isn’t even the least bit of chocolate in said pie.
All in all, what’s my official verdict? I’m sure Nosh is a perfectly lovely restaurant on a Tuesday night when there is a steady flow of customers but the place isn’t bustling. The food is solid – not terribly creative – but everything was properly seasoned and (aside from my lone short rib) cooked quite well. But on a busy Saturday night, avoid it at all costs. The shoddy service will overshadow the food. At least, it did for me. Saving grace? The girls and I wanted to debrief and vent about our experience, so it gave us an excuse to go out for drinks after. To the guy we met at Marquee Grill in Highland Park Village: I’m still waiting on the bottle of Pappy Van Winkle you promised. Chop chop.