This week we walked down to the bottoms for a delizioso Italian meal at the aptly named, Note Bene Restaurant & Bar. The atmosphere conjures wine cellars, cozy underground bakeries, and backyard evening picnics all at the same time.
Although Note Bene has been open less than 10 years as a brick and mortar restaurant, accolades already line one of its walls. Rightly so. The dishes are equally traditional and innovative. Both the food and cocktail menus change with the seasons. The service is attentive without being intrusive; informative without being pretentious.
We started our meal with a winter vegetable favorite, roasted cauliflower paired with a Verdant Words cocktail for me and a Troegs Perpetual IPA for my husband.
I loved that the cauliflower was roasted so that all the flavors were baked in, but the vegetable was not either mushy or dried out. The cheese sauce with chives and chili flakes was marvelous.
My cocktail had some ingredients that were new for me. I had never tried a pistachio flavored drink before. Nor had I ever tried Cachaca, a Brazilian rum made straight from sugar cane, or Green Chartreuse, a mint liqueur. The combination of those two liqueurs, lime juice and pistachio orgeat made for a refreshing drink that improved with each sip.
I chose the Buckwheat Agnolotti and my husband chose the Branzino for our entrees’. Our server warned me that my entree’ choice was a smaller portion, but I wasn’t dissuaded from my selection. Our appetizer shaved off the edge of my hunger pangs. I might even have room for dessert.
I wasn’t disappointed. The buckwheat pasta was flavorful, filled with just the right amount of robiola, resting in a kobocha pur’ee, dressed with sage and sweet grilled vidalia onion. It left me satisfied, but happy to end the meal on a sweet note.
The Sicilian honey cake with Sambuca toffee sauce and honey gelato reminded me of a decadent French toast. The cake was grilled and the toffee had orange pieces, adding texture and depth to the flavor profile. The honey gelato worked in perfect harmony to add sweet creaminess to the dessert. I enjoyed eating until I was satisfied, not uncomfortable, then walking home afterwards. Oh the joys of living in Church Hill!