Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Noah Grant's

One of the things I really like about writing this blog is that I go and try a lot of places that I probably never would have otherwise. I am sure that it would be very easy in this City to get stuck in a rut and go to the same few places all the time. Now sometimes these places are hits, and often they are misses, but either way, the sense of adventure is fun, and the need to keep trying new stuff gives me constant hope that I just might stumble onto a gem.

Well, I will just get it out of the way quickly, Noah Grant’s was certainly more of a miss food-wise, but hubby and I still had a very nice time exploring Zionsville a little (took us a few minutes to find the place) and the service was really fun and enthusiastic. It was a fun night, even though the food was not outstanding.

So, Noah Grant’s specializes in seafood, and has quite an extensive menu. Although strangely, while this menu is large, there is not a lot on it that really leapt out at me. Not sure why. But they sort of do that old school seafood thing with various sushi rolls as well (and of course steaks). And our server was as friendly as can be, and was happy to offer up her honest recommendations (and lack of recommendations on certain items) which I always appreciate.

She heartily recommending a couple of the salads, so I went with the Noah Grant’s version of a chopped salad. I have been really into chopped salads lately because I can really appreciate the varying ingredients, and the fact that they are so easy to eat, since the lettuce is typically in small pieces---you can grab a forkful and be sure to get a bite of all the flavors as well as usually a proper amount of dressing as well. I also like the fact that just about every restaurant has their version of a chop salad, but every restaurant’s version is different. Not like the “wedge” which is nearly identical in almost every restaurant you go to. Don’t get me wrong, I like the ingredients in a wedge, and sometimes I order them. But every time I see one on a menu, I sigh. I mean, it just seems so uninspired.

Anyhow, the salad was a little strange. It was not actually “chopped” lettuce at all—it was rather large pieces of romaine that were actually bigger than most regular pieces of lettuce in a regular non-“chopped” salad. Which was odd. It was mixed with blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, bacon and a couple of slivers of avocado. The dressing was the basil vinaigrette which sounded nice to me, but was strangely sweet and was not my favorite. The pieces of bacon were really nice, real bits of recognizable bacon with good flavor. All in all though, I would probably pass on this salad again, and I would certainly pass on the dressing.

We did really like the dipping sauce that came with the bread though—it was a garlic and herby kind of mix in olive oil—really heavy on the garlic. I mean, really heavy. Some people probably would not like it because of it, but we did. The bread was simple slices of French baguette, but went well with the dip.

Hubby had 2 of their oysters Rockefeller and 2 of their shrimp Rockefeller (they sell them individually) to start. I had one of the shrimp which was a shrimp in an oyster shell and I suspect their spinach dip (because they have spinach dip on the menu as well) over the top and heated up. It was a creamy sauce mixed with pieces of spinach and parmesan on top. The shrimp were nice and pleasantly cooked, not rubbery at all. It was a nice mix of flavors if not a totally traditional Rockefeller. Unfortunately (since I only got one) this ended up being the best thing on the table all night.

For my main dish, I ordered, based on the server’s recommendation, the shrimp scampi—she said it was one of the best things on the menu. It was nicely presented with some pasta underneath (and not a ridiculous amount I was happy to see). And the sauce itself was great—the buttery garlic sauce cut with the right amount of lemon and wine to keep it thin and tangy—it wasn’t one of those sauces that seems like it is too creamy for its own good. Yes, I really liked the sauce. Unfortunately, the shrimp were so overcooked, they were pretty inedible. I don’t know, I sort of had higher hopes for a place that specializes in seafood… And it was frustrating because the shrimp on hubby’s appetizer weren’t so rubbery.

Hubby ordered ½ pound of King Crab legs. Now, I know there is no guarantee about the size of legs you are going to get, but these were some of the skimpiest legs I have seen. There was so little meat in them (they were sliced in half) that what was in there was really dried out. Also a disappointment.

We did have fun, and the people were very friendly and checked on us several times. We also enjoyed giggling at the fact that there are two chair rails in this place, and neither of them were saving the walls from the chairs that have unusually pointed edges—there were dings all over the walls—right between the two chair rails. (What can I say; we have a weird sense of humor).

I don’t know, maybe sushi is the way to go here, a lot of people seemed to be ordering it. But based on our meal, and the drive, it will likely be awhile before we go back.

Noah Grant’s
65 South First Street
Zionsville, IN 46077

Noah Grant's Grillhouse & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Exactly!
    This place used to be awesome, especially for lunch. When my wife and I purchased our home (2 blocks from this place) we were super excited that we could frequent it more. Their lunch used to be amazing (the fish tacos and ceviche used to be craved in my household) and the previous establishment that resided here (Bricks) was very near and dear to our hearts. But in the past 2 years this place has seriously gone down hill. In the last few chances we have had to go there they have quickly lost to McDonalds..
    Sorry to be so negative but I am coming from knowing what they are/were capable of...

  2. Was thinking about having dinner in Zville soon and thinking of trying NG.

    Not sure if I read it correctly, but I would have to disagree with you when a server gives recommendations not to order something. For example, if I had rubbery shrimp and small crab legs, I would wonder why the server didn’t have me steer clear?

    I was at a steakhouse downtown (a nice one)about 6 months ago and the server told us to stay away from a few items and we should definitely try the following items because they are “the best in the city.“ They were not the best, in fact..some of the worst.

    Imo, it shows a true disconnect between the kitchen and the servers and I would never want a server admitting there are items on the menu that customers shouldn’t order.

  3. wibia: I know what you are saying--and I am starting to think I should not take advice anymore from servers. And this particular one did speifically tell me to avoid certain things, but still recommended the shrimp...

  4. We attended a wedding reception catered by Noah Grant's about 18 months ago. What stood out to me was the vegetarian sushi -- really delicious! I have not yet eaten at their restaurant....

  5. WOW, I am shocked! I have been there many times, including the recent wine dinner and I have to say that I have had excellent service and excellent meals each time. I particularly like the ceviche, beautiful presentation and delicate flavor profile. I will say that at times the volume level can get a bit overwhelming, especially in the bar. I am surprised that you couldn't find anything on the menu that looked good. it is a very large menu with what I would consider options for everyone. I recommend Noahs to all my friend and suggest that you give it another try.

  6. I agree with foodjunkie. I have never been disappointed when dining at NG. Have always had excellent service and the food has always been quite good. In fact, I'll be dining there this weekend, and will report back.

  7. As stated in my previous post, I did dine at Noah Grants last night, and am reporting back. As usual, I was not disappointed, with the possible exception of the bar selection. But first, the good news. I had the 8 oz. filet, and it was probably the most tender piece of meat I've ever had, and it was done to perfection. My friend had the Risotto, which was also out of this world. Others at the table had the special (Tile fish) which I found to be rather bland, and the scallops which were delicious but very rich. Now, for the downside. For an upscale restaurant, the selection of single malt scotch is meager at best. And the "pour" is totally inadequate, especially at the prices they charge. For 4 people, our total bill including tip was $225. This included 1 shared appetizer, 1 shared side dish, the 4 entrees, and 3 cocktails (no wine). And by the way, the service was excellent and the staff very friendly and cordial. I can't see any reason why I wouldn't return, but I will have a single malt scotch at home before I go. :-)