What’s on the menu at Nota Bene, David Lee’s redesigned restaurant

What’s on the menu at Nota Bene, David Lee’s redesigned restaurant

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Name: Nota Bene
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact: 180 Queen St. W., 416-977-6400, notabenerestaurant.com, @NotaBeneToronto
Owner: David Lee
Chefs: Executive chef David Lee and chef de cuisine Geoff O’Connor

The food

The new menu still has carnivore staples like foie gras and wagyu, but it’s rounded out with plenty of meat-free options. “Vegan cooking is such an interesting challenge,” says Lee about his heirloom carrot dish made with sunflower-based faux sour cream. “It’s much harder to make something decadent without dairy.” The restaurant also offers a cinq-à-sept menu (which actually starts at 4 p.m.) that’s divided into snacks (buttermilk-fried cod tongues, chicken-fried mushrooms) and small plates (ceviche, octopus a la plancha).

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Hamachi ceviche in a leche de tigre marinade and topped with charred scallions. $12.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Octopus a la plancha with capers and pimentón (left, $12) and crisp pork cheek (right, $4 before 7 p.m. and $7 after).

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Bar snacks (clockwise from top): Chicken-fried mushrooms, tuna tartare, salt cod fritters, suckling pig with green papaya slaw, avocado with B.C. striped prawns and puffed beef tendon. ($4-$12).

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Roasted Cookstown heirloom carrots, served on sunflower “sour cream” with Malaysian red curry oil. Sided by a kale, radish, hemp hearts and dhal salad. $16.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 Photo by Caroline Aksich

The Tsukiji Fish Market sashimi plate changes daily. This selection includes madai (Japanese red sea bream), hamachi and kampachi. $MP.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Braised Haldimand County lamb shoulder and chickpea stew served on a sunchoke purée with papadum crisps. $38.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Halibut cheeks with smoked shiitake mushrooms on a lima bean mash with black garlic and gremolata. $36.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Roasted marshmallow topped with Hewitt’s milk ice cream, chocolate ganache, puffed grains and a sea buckthorn coulis. $12.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Vegan avocado sorbet with rhubarb preserve, house-made granola and blueberry dust. $12.

The drinks

A 15-bottle roster of gin and a short cocktail list with riffs on classics like the Fig 75, which blends Beefeater with crème de figue, prosecco and lemon. A new addition to the menu is sake, including some of Toronto’s own.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

An order of gin comes with various accoutrements (cucumber, grapefruit wedge, dehydrated hibiscus) and can be paired with one of Fever Tree’s tonics. For the full G&T experience, guests can choose the ice format: a large cube for minimal dilution or crushed for maximum chill.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Ruby Dee: Tromba tequila, Crème de Cassis, grapefruit, lime and orange bitters. $15.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 
The space

Design firm +tongtong (Café Belong, Drake Devonshire) reimagined the split-level space. The bar is flanked by two new additions—a po-mo tree sculpture and a backlit wine display—and the main dining room now has 70 Nevada-sourced tumbleweeds hanging from its ceiling.

(Images: Caroline Aksich) (Images: Caroline Aksich)