The downstairs bar at Noble is a long, lean plank. The front table is taken. It opens out as a window onto the sidewalk. My first outing to the Sansom streetery sends me upstairs. The light drifting from the sun-roof is Noble's next distinction. I'd prefer a hint of darkness, but it is just thirty minutes after six on an evening in May. You cannot fool with time.
We can see our food. We can see how good it is. Drink orders in, the bread girl approaches with her basket of olive slices and floury stubs. Honeyed butter hellos.
There's an airy West Coast suggestion in the wood-outfitted room. It's the tongue of the wine, the modern rustic thesis that unfolds. There's the garden on the menu, which includes fresh takes on spring vegetables and a plot of onion-rice pudding.
Roasted Baby Golden Beets, with arugula, pumpkin seed, local goat cheese, tarragon vinaigrette, 10:
Perfectly capable. The beets are edible gems.
Baby Romaine, dried tomato & chili, fresh cheese, cilantro, lime, torn chips, 10:
Another young and able-bodied start, lightly dressed for the weather.
There are no vegetarian entrees. I might request a veggie plate (this almost never fails). I might insist on the veggie burger from the bar menu, because it sounds respectable. Or I might remain confident that the addition of a few sides is all I need.
Poached White Asparagus, domestic summer truffle, Carr Valley Ménage, hazelnut, fried egg, 11:
Proves to be a protein-rich main, topped with a flash-fried, soft-boiled egg. Most fattening, decadent vegetable for miles? N'yet. The onion pudding snags that honor.
Rice & Onion Pudding, preserved tomato, 6:
The generous bowl has the consistency of risotto or grits, pumping with enough onion heart to keep several vegetarians alive.
Pan Roasted Mushrooms, 7:
Of the simple-done-well persuasion, I might be having dessert.
Whenever yogurt attends a dessert menu, I must speak with it. The yogurt Bavarian is a light and safe pleasure, cordoned by a line of dark chili chocolate. The gooseberry bread pudding holds more personality. The tart, cooked gooseberries act like golden raisins and taste like wrinkled peaches. They make me want to dig up a plaid shirt, any plaid shirt, and roll the sleeves up.
Noble Cookery, 2025 Sansom St.