Reviewed by Daphne Choi
This posh place combines the art of posh architecture with the class of fine dining. Located in the atrium of the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, 17 Noir boasts an authentic Japanese sushi and alcoholic bar on the lower level. The Western menu, if it can be called that is served on the upper level where you have a choice between being seated with a view of the falls from a glass enclosed, heated extension, or in a cozy, more romantic private booth lavish with velvet curtains. The fallsview extension has neon lit floors that change, complementing the nightly Niagara Falls lighting. 17 Noir, conveniently located in what is easily the second most visited attraction in the area beside the actual falls, gives you a modest bang for your buck, and is appropriate for both a casual and formal setting.
The first thing you'll notice is that the menu given on the website is a very broad idea of the actual in-season menu. For one, the selections for starters is cut in about half, but the website fails to update their menu regularly. The service began well at the door, but declined throughout the night. I suspect that having a late dinner reservation attributed to our male server being less friendly and more profit oriented.
Putting that aside, the carnaroli risotto with champagne, lobster and caviar (21) was absolutely incredible. By far it was one of the tastiest risottos I'd ever had, saturating just the right about of seafood (you could chew the bite-sized pieces buried within) with the champagne sauce rice was the perfect way to start off the meal. A small warning: this starter was actually very sizeable, and we ate it as a shared dish. Had I attempted to eat the whole thing on my own, I wouldn't have had room for my main dish.
The chef is to be commended for his take on seafoods, but should be given no credit for his rib steak. Case and point: scallop with crab cake curry (seared sea scallops with blue crab cake, tomato and coconut curry, lentils and coriander oil, $40) was delicious. I was particularly impressed with the crab cake, it maintained it's shape, but was incredible easy to eat. The curry had just the right amount of tang to complement the fresh scallops. The rib steak ($45) did not fare so well. It was nowhere near as enjoyable as the other dishes. The meat lacked any sort of taste and did not include any sauce. It took a hugely serrated knife in order to cut through it, and I found myself salting every bit of it. The sauteed vegetables were tasteless and the only thing I actually enjoyed on my dish were the half-mashed (on purpose) potatoes.
In the end, the trip to Noir 17 included the celebration of an anniversary, but we found it inappropriate for the occasion. We might have benefitted more for this purpose had we chosen a private booth. The presentation of the plates nor the service were winning numbers in this show, and the value of the food is all over the board. The major lifesaver of Noir 17, by far, is the seafood. So while there are some daunting characteristics about the restaurant, what keeps me enthralled to return (and the source of the majority of my rating) is clearly the amazing seafood you can get for your buck... but then again, I guess it's pretty hard to mess up seafood.
out of 5.0