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[whitespace] Nola's

Bistro

Chill Is Gone:
Nola, 535 Ramona St., Palo Alto

By Kelly Luker

DON'T KID YOURSELF--they may be small and toothless, but oysters are dangerous little muthas. While they make a lovely display nestled in their shaved ice at the oyster bar, the bivalves don't do well if their chill factor is not properly maintained. Neither, for that matter, will you or your intestinal tract.

At least four customers found this out the hard way after a little shuckin' and jivin' at this Cajun-Creole eatery in the chic University Avenue section of Palo Alto. And wouldn't you know it? One of the victims of vibrio infection (a potentially deadly poisoning from bad oysters) was a doctor.

So, Nola takes the offending item off the menu, but when EH inspector Roger Chin checks back Sept. 14, the refrigerator's still too warm (58 degrees as opposed to 41F), the cutting boards and slicing machine were grody, rat droppings littered the storage area and fruit flies were buzzing around the bar. In fact, a bottle of booze had to be tossed because of "foreign substances" floating in it.

Be the time Chin goes back to check a week later, it's so bad that Nola "voluntarily closes," which, by the way, does not make it into the written report. Chin thinks he may have "forgotten" to write it down.

A $15,000 new refrigeration system later, and there's still problems as of April 5 of this year. But they do get a "much better" checkup a week later.

Chin admits he would eat there today. So we went with the blue-cornmeal-crusted soft-shell crab po' boy. Admittedly, it was a concoction more Bay Area than Bayou, but it hit the spot. Juicy and pungent, the sandwich came with a sizzling stack of Creole fries. To quote Metro's own food reviewer, Christina Waters, from a 1996 review of Nola:

"How do you say incredible in Caribbean? Incroyable will have to do."

RATING: 4 forks


Introduction: Bottom Feeders.

Making The List: The methodology and ratings.

Not on the Menu: Gruesome complaints and bizarre things allegedly found in food.

Wok on the Wild Side: Asian restaurants still get disproportionately high rate of poor inspection reports.

Chew Fly, Don't Bother Me: Tory's Restaurant in Cupertino.

A Fowl Feeling: Mai Garden Restaurant in San Jose.

Fast Food Frightmare: Mr. Chau's Chinese Fast Food in Palo Alto.

Overly Greasy Spoon: Bob's Surf 'N Turf in San Jose.

Not Cool Enough: Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto.

Pastor Its Prime: El Mexicano Taqueria in San Jose.

How Fresh? Fresh N Healthy Vegetarian in San Jose.

How Now Stale Bao? Thanh Mai in San Jose.

Coffee To Go, Please: My My Coffee and Sandwiches in San Jose.

Vermin in the Vermicelli: Florentine Restaurant in Mountain View.

Off-Screen Horror Show: Century Capitol 16 Theaters in San Jose.


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From the June 8-14, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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