It seems like a lifetime ago when I worked in Hudson. One of the things I liked best about my time there, aside from the people I worked with, was regular visits to Noble House, a long-standing Chinese restaurant in the center of town.
Up until last month, when I went on behalf of Metromix, it’s probably been close to 10 years since I’ve eaten there. Granted, a lot can change in 10 years – including my taste buds (I wasn’t nearly as picky then as I am now). Would the food be as good as I remembered? Would my favorite dish still be on the menu? Did the restaurant receive its much-needed makeover?
In short, the food was just as good – well, most of it. The main dishes were quite impressive, our starters… not so much. The decor is still bad and the prices seem to have jumped way up. Our dinners far exceeded expectations and I’d have no reservations about going back – except perhaps because the atmosphere is so stale and dated. For me personally, the atmosphere and a restaurant’s overall decor ways heavily when opting where to go. With that kind of food this kitchen is putting out, they need a space to match this level of quality and creativity. I bet if they did, a lot more people would be checking them out.
Here’s part of the review:
Food: Noble House dubs itself continental Chinese cuisine and offers everything from traditional, expected dishes to imaginative creations not replicated elsewhere. In fact, on our visit, we found that the usual Chinese dishes were just average while the more distinctive offerings would get us back in the door any day.
We started with an order of the chicken velvet egg drop soup ($5.75) and the Chinese corn and crab soup ($5.95) plus the Beijing ravioli for the table ($6.25).
The egg drop soup was rather ho-hum. The chicken was rather tough and the scallions overpowered the other more delicate flavors. The creamy and smooth Chinese corn soup, on the other hand, was quite unexpected and enjoyable. Our last appetizer, with a marinated ground pork, shrimp and cabbage filling, was also on the bland side. The homemade pasta skin was way too tough and we would have preferred a more creative dipping sauce instead of soy sauce.
Dinners consisted of beef tenderloin steak ($26.75) made with stir-fried filet tips with onions, zucchini and broccoli in a black pepper sauce and eggplant yu shiang ($18.95) made with large chunks of eggplant and minced pork in a garlic sauce topped with scallions.
Where the appetizers fell short, the dinners more than made up the difference. Though somewhat on the pricey side, each portion was quite large and could easily be shared. The tender beef was cooked perfectly and was boasting with flavor. The only thing that would have made this dish even better would be a bit more heat. The eggplant and minced pork proved to be a perfect pairing, especially as the eggplant sits and soaks up the sauce. Note, this dish can also be served sans pork for a nice vegetarian option. Each dinner is served with a choice of white, brown or fried rice; we opted for fried.
While we didn’t sample on this visit, on previous visits we’ve also enjoyed the Asian sea bass, which is grilled over an open fire; and the lightly breaded walnut shrimp that’s stir fried in a sweet creamy white sauce topped with broccoli and caramelized walnuts.
Décor: Noble House has been around for awhile, and the décor is the first sign of that. The traditional styling appears to not have been touched since the late ’80s. It’s dated, rather stale and in need of a major facelift.
Bottom line: It’s not cheap Chinese by any means, but the entrées deliver and you truly get what you pay for.