Located on West Fourth, this restaurant has a great open kitchen that allows passersby to see all the action.
To start our night, we opted for two cocktails, one was similar to an Old Fashioned but with gin instead of whiskey. The other was a little bit like a spiked lemonade. I preferred the gin drink by far.
I have long been a fan of "daily specials" so when the Appetizer of the Day was Chili Chicken Wings, we were sold! Despite our server saying that these weren't breaded, they were, albeit lightly. The chili flavour was very mild and more sweet and hot. The wings themselves were super juicy with a healthy crunch on each bite. I might have wanted some dipping sauce on the side, maybe a chili lime concoction?
This is the infamous Canned Tuna, raved about by both Alexandra Gill and Mia Stainsby, and with good reason. This is large chunks of Albacore cooked sous vide in a mason jar with Olive Oil, and fingerling potatoes, with a strong hint of lemon. Served with crunchy crostinis and a bit of salt, this was a real DIY dish. First, mix all the ingredients of the mason jar together, then smear onto the crostini. It's easy to do since the slow cooking process gave it a very creamy and spreadable texture. Then sprinkle some of the rock salt on the whole thing and you've got a great appetizer.
Our first entree was the Potato Crusted Chicken. Our waitress explained that the chicken is cooked sous vide, which made it super tender and helped it to stay moist. The potato crust was like the thinnest latka ever, wrapped around the chicken and then fried to a perfect crisp. The ratatouille still had texture, I was a little worried that it would just be a mushy mess, but that wasn't the case at all. I think cooking chicken sous vide is one of the best way to avoid a dry dish.
For our other entree, we tried the Halibut and Chorizo. Do you see the pattern? Chicken, Fish, then Chicken and Fish. No, we didn't plan it but it was a little funny when we realized it! See the healthy portion of halibut This was the most expensive dish on the menu, but given the portion size and the ingredients, I would order this again. I didn't really know what to expect, but I guess I thought it would be a grilled halibut with some chorizo on the side. We were surprised by the thinly pounded out chorizo used as a crust. It reminded me of bacon, but when you have it with the halibut, the mouth feel is akin to a very nicely grilled piece of fish complete with a crispy skin. This was a winner. And below the halibut is a good portion of chowder, made with mussels instead of clam. The dish was very comforting and filling as well.
For dessert, we got the Lemon Pot de Creme as recommended by the GM, Ron MacGillivary. This was excellent, just tart enough for my liking with a little bit of lemon granita and mandarin segments. Creamy, smooth and a perfect way to end the meal.
Oh wait, you can't be a fan of Top Chef Canada without wanting to try Curtis Lok's macaroons. By the way, he has the best twitter handle! So we got the day's special macaroon, another tart dessert, the Lemon Lime Macaroon. These were really good with a creamy middle of lemony-limey goodness and a perfectly formed macaroon top and bottom. Not a crack in sight!
We managed to stop the chef, Trevor Bird, en route to the kitchen from the pantry with a bucket of bean pureee. He was nice enough to sit down and take a quick photo with me.
Just me watching the world through macaroon goggles, sort of the best view ever, right?
- Very knowledgeable staff, got questions? They have answers!
- Open for lunch but no Canned Tuna, that's dinner time only!
- Brunch Caesar (weekends only) features housemade pepperoni garnish