This week’s review is for Nola’s, located at 9 West Park Row in Clinton. Photo Editor Sarah Condon joined Digital Editor Courtney Potts and her husband there for lunch recently and had this to say:
About the restaurant: Nola’s recently renovated its main restaurant, and we were excited to see the new space. But on the day of our visit, as it turned out, lunch was being served in the Annex, which is their smaller dining area next door. We were one of the first parties to arrive after the doors opened at 11:30 a.m., but seats filled up quickly inside the small space.
The Annex features exposed brick walls and large chalkboard drink menus. The window behind us allowed the late September sun to filter in, and offered a view of the bustling farmers market taking place across the street.
What we ordered: Chicken Nola Sandwich, $11; Tuscan Turkey sandwich, $10; BLT, $9.
Sarah's review: This was my first time dining at Nola's in Clinton, and they did not disappoint. There were not a lot of options for lunch – around 10 entrees and some soups and salads – but I actually prefer to have a smaller menu to choose from; it usually means the ingredients are fresh.
I chose the Chicken Nola Sandwich, which is chicken breast topped with prosciutto and sage, flour dredged and then lightly fried. It's served on a brioche roll with lemon aioli, tomato and fresh greens with a side of fresh house made chips. The light fry on the chicken made it lighter than most fried chicken I've had, which was a nice change as you could taste all of their ingredients. It also was nice to have a meal that wasn’t too heavy knowing I had to go back to work afterwards. The aioli elevated the flavors of the sandwich, and for $11 it was worth the trip.
I wasn't exactly full at the end of the meal, and could have used a few more chips; next time I might order the french fries for an extra charge. The service was quick and our servers were attentive to our table, refilling drinks and checking in with us as meal went on.
Courtney’s review: It was hard to choose just one item from the menu to try, but in the end I settled on the Tuscan Turkey sandwich, which was made with turkey, pesto, roasted red peppers, provolone and toasted Italian bread. (It usually comes with cherry peppers as well, but I asked to leave them off.)
Even without the cherry peppers, I had a bit of trepidation about that particular choice, as I often find the flavor of pesto overwhelming. But luckily, this particular sandwich tasted as good as it looked. Nola’s balance of flavors was spot on, in my opinion, and the pesto gave the sandwich a little burst of freshness. The perfectly crunchy bread and melted cheese were icing on the cake, so to speak. And as Sarah said, the reasonable portion size left you full, but not too full.
My husband went back to basics with the BLT, and was very happy with his choice as well. With a sandwich that simple the quality of the ingredients really matters, and he commented specifically on how flavorful the tomatoes were and how good the bread was. (According to the menu, it’s Alambria Springs Farm sourdough.)
Our favorite part: What really stood out to all three of us was the quality of the ingredients and how well balanced the flavors were. All of our sandwiches were delicious.
Could be improved: We’re not sure if Nola’s doesn’t offer desserts or if our waiter just forgot to ask, but either way a sweet treat would have been a nice ending to our lunch together. As it was, we walked over to the farmers market instead and purchased gelato from one of the vendors there.