The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2010

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Page 60 of 100

ON-PREMISE pATTer Coming of Age in San Diego THIS NOBLe eXperiMeNT YIELDS RESULTS story and photos by Amy K. Fellows S an Diego has long struggled with its own coming of age. Proprietors of its restaurants and bars are constantly drumming up new concepts to propel “America’s Finest City” into the running to become one of America’s most “Up and Coming” cities. Many try; some succeed. And some succeed exceptionally well, as is the case with Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton’s Noble Experiment in San Diego’s East Village. One of the fi rst of its kind in San Diego, Noble Experiment is a self-proclaimed “craft cocktail bar” that has been deemed a “speakeasy” by many locals. And although its owners aren’t wild about the comparison, it’s easy to see why Noble Experiment co-owner and bartender Nathan Stanton it has happened. Noble Experiment’s entrance is a secret door disguised as a wall of kegs, while the bar itself has no windows and no exterior signage. And its unique qualities don’t end there, as Tafazoli explains: “Our business model runs contrary to everything that makes a bar profi table.” It seats just 42 guests. “We have no interest in packing people in. Once the seats are full, the bar is full,” insists Stanton, as Tafazoli adds, “Too many bars today are designed to avoid human interaction. We wanted to create a different sort of atmosphere—one where guests could hold a conversation.” Once inside, patrons immediately feel that difference. The room is dimly lit, the air is cool and the atmosphere is laid-back. Music plays quietly in the background so as to not disrupt conversation, and it’s a breeze to get from one side of the bar to the other, even on a Friday night. Additionally, the service is top-notch. On a recent visit by 60 / the tasting panel / june 2010 THE TASTING PANEL, the bartender gave us his undivided attention, taking a few minutes to discuss in detail what types of cocktails we prefer before confi dently saying, “I know what to make for you.” The cocktail that followed was spot-on, as is the entire cocktail program, created by indus- try expert Sam Ross from NYC’s Milk & Honey. When we enquire about rumors we’ve heard of exclusiv- ity and the inability to get a table, Tafazoli quickly sets us straight: “It’s not about who you are or who you know. Here everyone is equal. All you have to do is make a reservation. It’s that simple.” As San Diego tries to fi nd a place within the rungs of America’s most chic cities, Tafazoli and Stanton, with the opening of Noble Experiment, have actually taken a defi ni- tive step to insure that that happens. Old Fashioned One white sugar cube 2 dashes Angostura bitters 2 oz. Elijah Craig 12 Year Old bourbon Orange and lemon zest Muddle sugar cube and bitters. Add bourbon and ice. Prescription Julep 10 mint leaves 1 sugar cube Dash of simple syrup 1 oz. rye whiskey 1 oz. cognac Add all ingredients to a Julep cup and lightly muddle. Half fi ll cup with crushed ice and swizzle. Add straw and fi ll with ice. Garnish with 3–4 healthy mint sprigs; drizzle Jamaican rum on mint sprigs.

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