Thursday, January 13, 2011


we've been to nosh once before, at lunch, and really like it. it's been a while, and we were in the area wondering what to do... so, on our way to schlafly (which is our usual fallback), we remembered nosh and called an audible. it was dark and snowy and we noticed that no one was in there, so we thought we'd give them some business.

maplewood, mo

nosh is nestled between other restaurants and little shops along this part of manchester road. inside, there are a couple tables up by the window and a row of five or so tables extending the length of the place. a row of large, bright, hyper-abstract paintings really brighten up the place and give some visual interest to an otherwise monotonous palette. the walls and floor are dark brown, but we like that they didn't crowd their limited space with too much color so you can keep focused on what you came there for--your company and your food. it's small, but it feels casual and intimate. 

our server was... satisfying. we don't mean this in a bad way--if anything, we appreciate servers who get the job done well, don't talk our ears off, don't act enthusiastic. he was nice enough, though somewhat distant, even physically: he spent most of the time behind the bar, which was alright with us. at one point we asked how they usually do on monday evenings and he assuaged our worries about the slow night (we were the only ones there, until a couple came and had some drinks at the bar) explaining that some big football something or other was on. all in all, really, no complaints. he was chatty with the other couple and he seemed very in his element. it all seemed to fit the quiet, snowy night. no complaints from us. 

first, just to get this out of the way--we thought dinner seemed a little pricey. some of the entrees were as pricey as niche, franco, or eau bistro... and we don't question the quality or the flavor, but these other establishments are fine dining, and they offer a lot more ambience. we were afraid this was dissuading people from coming in, but our server assured us our worries were unfounded. good to know and glad to hear that people think it's worth it.
we also want to note--because we love that they even bother with this detail--when you sit down, the server brings you a carafe of orange-mint water. we like being able to refresh ourselves, and love how amazingly refreshing this combination of refreshing flavors is. mmm, refreshing! we wish more places did this!

we started with the hummus and balela salad platter, which is definitely a platter. this one's easy: you need to make a trip to nosh just to eat this platter. period.

our entree included a salad, which came next. it was superb. the herb vinaigrette is housemade and soo lovely. some fennel is sliced thinly and prepared well so that the flavor isn't too potent, in case you're not fans of the root veggie. the greens are gorgeous and not too limp, and a little more feta and kalamatas aren't even necessary but don't feel like overkill, either. 

for the entree we ordered the tempeh provencal which was, sorry to say, our least favorite dish of the evening. the tempeh was actually quite nice--good nutty, fermented flavor without the funky sour aftertaste you so often get with tempeh. we opted for polenta instead of orzo, and found it much too oily; maybe the orzo would be better, but we don't think either could cut the dryness of the tempeh. this, probably is where the roasted tomatoes would come in, but it seems they forgot them this evening. too bad. the first comment we made was, "this is nice, but it really needs a sauce." i'm guessing the tomatoes would have done it. the menu also says that there should be some spinach and goat cheese, but ours lacked both of these ingredients, too. it did have sides of broccoli, artichokes, and some shiitake and red peppers that delivered a kick of flavor. we're not sure what to make of it, but the broccoli was weirdly not as warm, almost room-temperature. all in all, it seems like the kitchen just dropped the ball on this last dish. at least we loved our previous ones. 

at the end of the night, we decided that we do indeed really like nosh and we would absolutely recommend it to other vegetarians. in the future, though, we probably won't be getting an entree again, just stick to the hummus platter (which we can't wait to eat again), some salad, and some booze. 

b+ (only because of the entree; otherwise, a-.)

vegetarian-friendly score:

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