WHEN I first heard that Noble Crust was planning to open in The Shops at Wiregrass mall a couple of years ago, my fiancé Jannah and I immediately starting visiting the original Noble Crust on 4th St. in St. Petersburg to sample the menu.
We both immediately became fans of Noble Crust’s unique Italian fare with a Southern accent. And, although I still wish Noble Crust owner TJ Thielbar (a former managing partner at Bonefish Grill), Wesley Chapel managing partner Will Perez and Chef Rob Reinsmith would expand the menu at Noble Crust a little, what can you say about a mall restaurant that isn’t open for lunch during the week and isn’t open Mondays at all but is still packing in crowds of happy fans every day it is open?
The food and drinks are excellent — and priced very fairly — the atmosphere is more like something you’d find in New York or Miami than in “The Chap” and the fact that Chef Rob regularly changes the menu and adds unique specials every month or so does keep me (and a lot of other people) coming back and hungry for more.
My favorite starters at Noble Crust include the amazing kale Caesar salad topped with a uniquely soft-cooked egg. The Caesar is special because I usually prefer something more traditional and I’m not the biggest kale fan, but between the gooey egg yolk and the definitely different Caesar dressing, well, let’s just say the salad works for me.
I’m also partial to Noble Crust’s Ricotta Gnocchi, which are homemade potato pastas with pancetta, black pepper cream, parmesan and pecorino cheeses and scallions. The gnocchi were first introduced to Wesley Chapel at the 2017 Taste of New Tampa at Florida Hospital Center Ice a couple of months before the local Noble Crust opened in July.
One of the special appetizers we loved was the cauliflower gratin, which is baked to perfection and covered with cheese, crumbled bacon and bread crumbs, which somehow tenderizes the cauliflower and gives it a crispy coating. You also can’t go wrong with any of Noble Crust’s unique pizzas — from the basic Margherita to the Noble Pig (topped with house-made sweet fennel sausage and large slices of amazingly tasty pepperoni). I haven’t yet tasted the pretzel-crusted calamari, but it looks delicious, too.
Although my favorite main dish is probably still the grouper special with chimichurri sauce (on a bed of perfect garlic whipped potatoes and succotash), I also love the chicken fried chicken parmigiana, served with bucatini (a thick, but hollow spaghetti), the rigatoni & beef short ribs, the double-cut pork chop, the tender, tasty beef, veal and pork meatballs also served with bucatini and the southern fried chicken with Tabasco-honey, black pepper gravy, apple & fennel slaw and your choice of mac n’ cheese or those roasted garlic whipped potatoes. Other side dishes include four-cheese grits, garlicky greens, crispy fingerling potatoes and fried green tomatoes with lime yogurt.
Brunch & Sunday Gravy!
For those who enjoy getting out of the house for a unique Sunday brunch (served beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday), Noble Crust has got you covered, too.
The brunch features great breakfast items like fried chicken and waffles, a southern “Benny” (poached eggs, country ham, fried green tomatoes and brown butter Hollandaise sauce on a buttermilk biscuit), a definitely different egg sandwich (with applewood bacon, scrambled egg and pimento cheese on a garlic butter brioche bun; add avocado for just $1.50 more) or a goat cheese frittata (with heirloom tomato, caramelized onions and Hollandaise sauce). There’s also short rib “Benny” and meatball smash sandwiches that I haven’t yet sampled.
I also still haven’t yet tried Noble Crust’s Sunday Gravy, which includes house antipasto, garlic bread with pesto + ricotta, homemade pork gravy with spaghetti or grits in a family dinner setting. It costs just $19 per person and your first glass of wine is complimentary.
Dessert is a true treat at Noble Crust. My favorite so far has been the thick, dense, creamy slab of peanut butter pie, although I also enjoyed the warm chocolate budino (with salted caramel, cookie crumbles and fresh whipped cream) and the lemon buttermilk pie and bourbon pecan pie also seem to be pretty popular.
In other words, while Noble Crust may not be a traditional Italian restaurant, it is Wesley Chapel’s most unique new eatery and certainly is among my favorites in our distribution areas.
Noble Crust (28330 Paseo Dr.) is open Tues.-Thur., 4 p.m.-11 p.m., 3 p.m.-midnight on Fri., 10 a.m.-midnight on Sat. & 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sun. For reservations (not required, but suggested, visit Noble-Crust.co or call (813) 703-2682.