Canoe – Lounging Around

I took a friend out for dinner the other week for her birthday.  I met her after work and decided to just wander to some place in the financial district.  Unfortunately my friend couldn’t walk very far since someone had stepped on her foot over the weekend and she didn’t feel like walking very far.  So, TD building….some place close…special occasion…Canoe?  After overcoming some elevator issues we found our way to the entrance of the establishment where were informed the restaurant was booked….unless we wanted to sit in the lounge.  We decided to have a look.  It was empty, right next to a window with a phenomenal view and had free nuts.  Score!

We decided to partake in the Winterlicious tasting menu.  After perusing the menu, my friend decided to start with the Chicken and Goose Liver Parfait with Birch Syrup and Pickled Cookstown Roots.

Had she not ordered this I would.  I don’t know what it is with poultry liver parfaits, but every experience I’ve had with them has been a good one.  This one was no different.  The parfait had a lovely smooth texture and was full of flavor.  It’s not a slap you in the face kind of flavor, but a smooth, rich flavor.  The bread was gently grilled, nothing special and acted more as a delivery device for the parfait.  I decided to start with the Baked Quebec Goat Cheese, Beluga Lentil Vinaigrette and Arugula.

Baked cheese, is this ever a bad idea?  The outside had a warm crisp layer and the inside was filled with gooey cheesy goodness.  I thought the goat cheese would have a stronger, more pungent flavor but it had a more soft flavor to it.  The salad surrounding the baked cheese was a great contrast.  Refreshing, a little tart with a mix of interesting textures like the lentils (little tiny beluga lentils that I’ve never had before).  My friend had the Pan-Seared Albacore Tuna, Spiced Root Vegetable Ragout and Coconut Couscous as her main.

The quality of the fish was good and it was well cooked (perhaps a touch too much for my liking).  There was a very interesting mix of flavors.  The couscous gave it a middle eastern flair as well as the spices in the vegetable ragout.  My friend thought the flavors were a little out of place and didn’t mix as well.  I only had a bite or two so I can’t really say.  Needless to say I was more busy enjoying the Roasted Alberta Lamb Sirloin, Yellow Split Pea and Swiss Chard Confit Garlic that I ordered.

Perfectly cooked, juicy lamb meat.  Well executed, good cut, no complaints on this end (except maybe a bigger portion).  There were a couple pearl onions on the plate that complimented the meat and a split pea mix that added a little more depth and heartiness to the dish.  There were also a few cooked cloves of garlic which were delicious.  I think garlic goes well with almost everything if cooked right so I probably have a biased view.  For dessert, my friend had the Caramel Chocolate Tart with Kernal Peanut Ice Cream

I didn’t try any of this but all I can say is that it looked like a heavy dessert.  My friend didn’t finish it and didn’t seem too overly impressed with it.  The peanut ice cream sounded like a delicious addition but again, I can’t say I tried it.  I had the Pear and Rosemary Bread Pudding, Maple Anglaise and Drunken Raisins.

I’ll admit I read drunken raisins and thought of drunk California raisin characters stumbling around and it made me laugh.  Thankfully it tasted good too.  The bread pudding was awesome.  Great texture.  Light, fluffy with a subtle hint of sweetness.  My favorite type of dessert.  The maple anglaise at bottom was smooth and refreshing.  It was sweeter than the top layer and mixed with everything well.

I also had the wine pairing to go with my meal.  My friend was swearing off alcohol for the week and decided not to cheat (good for you by the way if you are reading this).  The cheese came with a light white wine that was more sweet than dry (pinot grigio?), the lamb came with a heavier, full bodied red (cabernet) and dessert came with a nice dessert wine.  They also accidently brought my friend a glass for dessert (I call it the universe tempting her) so I also had a glass of port.

This was my second trip to Canoe.  The first time was with my parents and we had the regular five course tasting menu with the wine pairing.  The staff were pretty generous with the wine pours so we ended up leaving a little drunk.  All we could remember was that the food was amazing, the wine was delicious and the bill was pretty astronomical. On this most recent occasion, the food was a little hit and miss (although the hits were big hits i.e. parfait, cheese, lamb, bread pudding), the wine was good and the bill was actually a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be.  So all in all, I would go again but probably not for the Winterlicious or Summerlicious menu (I wish the portions were bigger although it is probably proportional to the price).  When I go again, I would probably just splurge and treat myself so a nice full course meal with several nice bottles of wine (and maybe even request the private and intimate atmosphere of the lounge).  Hmmm, maybe I should probably start saving now.

http://www.oliverbonacini.com/Canoe.aspx

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~ by jlowjlow on March 1, 2011.

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