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Review of Nola's

Ranked #1 of 24 Restaurants in Clinton
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$1 - US$30
Cuisines: Contemporary
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed February 4, 2018

A beautiful spot for dinner. Atmosphere is chic and cool and the menu is delicious. Also enjoyed the wine list too, would definitely recommend as one of the best restaurants in Clinton to try.

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Thank Wendy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 - 17 of 191 reviews

Reviewed February 4, 2018

After visiting our son at college, we took him for an early dinner here. I noticed on their Instagram page that they are featuring lots of interesting drinks. The bar aspect and tapas dishes seems to be trendy. Happy to report that the food remains very good. Dinner menu is small but usually covers steak, fish, chicken, vegetable options. We went for the comfort food of chicken and mashed potatoes on a cold winter night and were not disappointed.

Thank suzyd43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 28, 2017 via mobile

The ambience of this resturaunt is perfect for a date or casual drinks. It was very recently remodeled featuring a chef's bar and clsssy bar seating. The rotating food and drink menu is some of the best in the area. The bar tender makes great drink suggestions. Pricey but worth it.

Thank Caitlin O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 19, 2017

We have always enjoyed Nola's (see my other review). We respected its simplicity (right down to the basic wood paneling and Ikea chandeliers). Most of all, we admired its commitment to quality, innovation (albeit with hits and misses), and, for Clinton, its pioneering practice of building relationships with local producers and farmers and featuring the products of their labor on a creative menu. There was a bar, but it was a relatively quiet, almost a "service" bar, to the left as one entered. Now, what was the bar seems to be the sum total of Nola's "dining room" (a request to be seated "up in the back" was met with a curt refusal: "that's now a lounge").
So what is Nola's now? It seems to be mostly bar, and a very noisy one, at that (it is holiday time, after all).
Even the menu seems to have undergone a change, a sharp downhill run towards "tapas" and other high-fat, cheese-based concoctions. This is essentially bar food designed to line the stomach more than excite the palate.
It's too bad and it's almost too obvious; the owners, at least at this point, seem to be working not on their ambitious community-oriented dream, but on fattening their own 401K's.
The new dining space is small--a few banquettes of green velour under an aubergine, advent, or even worse color of purple painted wall. A couple of farm tables for group--intentional or accidental--dining "separate" the bar from the single row of banquettes. There's one small nook in a window, where the noise was still conversation-killing.
The main courses (the complimentary salad or soup seem to have been jettisoned along with those Ikea chandeliers) cling to the former offerings and are of good quality (some retain a perfunctory gesture as to their farm origins).
A broiled salmon dish had a small mountain of barely warm blue-cheese infused mashed potatoes, topped, curiously, with two large wedges of roasted sweet potato. The kale that completed the "bed" on which the salmon was reposed was very nicely cooked but drenched in a sweetish fruit juice tasting reduction of unclear origin. The overall effect resembled a collision more than a design.
The service--a bot stressed--was up to the usual Nola good standard and the breads remain top notch.
So, what kind of bar is the new Nola's? That answer will no doubt best be provided by other reviewers who have more experience that we do. Two in our party ordered their Negroni. It being winter, I was hoping for the clean, almost sharp and penetrating taste that this particular variation on a Manhattan can deliver. The New Nola's version contains a boutique Italian gin (or so we were told) and, strangely, a lot more than a splash of club soda (or sparkling water). As such, it seems more appropriate for an Summer afternoon on the porch than a cold night in Clinton.
I'd gladly accept their new version, however, if it were served in their original rendition of the restaurant, one that justifiably earned Nola's the reputation for being best in town. Maybe they will be the best bar in town.
Sadly, in its new manifestation, Nola's seems to have traded its identity as a restaurant and its soul for a new business plan. I am sorry to say that we will be searching for other places to dine.
PS: I am also hoping that perhaps their Annex--a not unpleasant room--might become a new dining room where one might have both a conversation and something good to eat.

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Thank Vicarmuddlebush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 11, 2017

My daughter & I had lunch at Nola after a tour of Hamilton College. The atmosphere is very nice, the staff very friendly and the food was delicious. If my daughter chooses Hamilton College, we will will definitely be back for more meals at Nola!

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Thank Magnificent_U2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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