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Citizen Times - Sep 1 2021

Matthew De Robertis

What you can get for under $30 at Noble Cider Downtown

As some of us fight the end of summer, nothing so single-handedly pulls me into that fall mindset than a cider doughnut. Soft and fluffy, dusted with sugar or with a crisp exterior and wringing with apple flavor, they are impossible for me to turn down.

At Noble Cider’s downtown taproom, the cider doughnut is imagined as more of a doughnut hole or fritter: a deeply golden exterior with a crisp bite that gives way to a soft and warmly spiced interior. Though dusted with sugar on the outside, the doughnut isn’t too sweet. Instead, the sweetness is in the bourbon hard cider sauce sitting on the side. With the rich, deep color of caramel, this sauce is as drinkable as Noble's cider and the perfect match to the doughnut.

Cider doughnuts are a staple of the Noble menu downtown. Yet, if you, like me last experienced Noble downtown as the Greenhouse, prepare for a change. Sadly, another casualty of 2020, Greenhouse closed its doors. Yet, Noble has reenvisioned the space as a taproom providing a more casual menu and experience.

A new chef is at the helm for Noble’s updated concept. One thing appears to be in common with all items, if they don’t use cider somewhere in the dish, it at least is made to complement the flavors of cider.

Take for example the Noble Grilled Cheese. At first glance, a grilled cheese sandwich may seem like something that should be on a junior menu. Greenhouse takes thick slices of local sourdough bread and layers it thick with white cheddar and gruyere cheeses. There is something about the pungency of the gruyere against the brightness of a cider, which hopefully you’re sipping here, that just plays extremely well together.

The grilled cheese is served with a side of Brussels sprouts slaw. Do not be turned away at the mention of Brussels sprouts, this is an amazing side dish. Ingredients weren’t listed, but if there isn’t cider in the vinaigrette, I’d be surprised. You’ll also find sliced red onion and small diced pieces of date lending just a hint of sweetness to the slaw. For $13, this grilled cheese will not disappoint.

In fact all of the other sandwiches sound as though they will not disappoint. Take for instance the grilled local veggie sandwich tossed in balsamic and topped with herbed goat cheese. The roasted pork sandwich with apple compote, provolone and topped with horseradish crema was in fact a strong contender for me, but so was the smash burger.

What may make the meal even more enjoyable at Noble is the space itself. If you ever dined at Greenhouse, you remember the large bay doors that opened up on a sunny day, the bright and airy dining space overlooking an open, but glassed-in kitchen. It just provides a place where you really don’t want to leave.

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