Showing posts with label beef tenderloin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef tenderloin. Show all posts

Quatrefoil (Dundas)


For my husband and I, each summer brings a week (at least) of staycation, where we take time off work and spend it exploring Toronto and its surrounding cities. Any locality that’s a 2 hour drive or less is fair game for a visit and after four years there’s still plenty of places to see.

Hamilton and its surrounding neighbours have been a favourite haunt. A typical outing consists of driving for an hour, hiking through beautiful scenery to stretch our legs, changing as discretely as possible in the car, strolling through a quaint town, and having a lovely meal to cap off the day.

August 2019 brought us to Dundas, Ontario and dinner at Quatrefoil. Their town is made for the eco-conscious with numerous stores selling sustainable and earth-friendly products (I found some great reusable produce bags for grocery shopping).  The end of the walk lead us to a quiet side street and a house that’s morphed into a restaurant. While the outside is a historical home, the dining room looks rather modern, complete with Instagram friendly white marble table tops.

On Fridays they offer a five course tasting menu ($72 a person) with wine pairings (additional $55). Like traditional meals, it starts off with an amuse bouche, a portion of braised veal cheek situated on a light tapioca cracker with dollops of crème fraiche. It’s a tasty bite, but a tad salty even with the tangy yoghurt.  


Followed by a great selection of bread including brown sugar pumpernickel (great combination), chewy French bread, oily poppy seed puff pastry, and a decent cheese and chive puff. It’s an enticing place and I had to try a bit of everything.


Quatrefoil presents beautiful plates. The seared sea scallop arrived with a lovely golden crust and while it was starting to split, the centre was cooked perfectly remaining tender and sweet. The buttery sauce was lightened with strawberry vinaigrette and the dish kept fresh with sweet spring peas and crunchy fennel. It paired wonderfully with the Chablis.


For a sweet and savoury course, I rather enjoyed the compressed cantaloupe salad. The melon was squeezed until the juices are removed so you get its sweet essence but it doesn’t overwhelm the other elements. It went nicely with the creamy whipped ricotta and the garlicky pesto and arugula keeps the dish savoury. It’s all topped with slices of summer truffle – eat these with the ricotta as with the strong pesto its mild flavours become lost.


The apex of the night was the Arctic char where the fish’s meat was flakey and tender but the skin could be a touch crispier. Paired with a tomato vinaigrette – a popular choice - at Quatrefoil it’s seasoned beautifully so you get a fresh tomato jus that’s also flavourful. The warm quinoa base acted as a great side.


Sadly, the last half of the meal is where the menu starts to falter. Tenderloin, when left in a longer cut, can be finicky to work with given it’s thicker in the middle and tapers off at the end. This leaves the thickest part of the steak arriving medium rare while the rest of it was really overdone – the heated plate probably didn’t help.


Without a proper steak knife, cutting through the thinner portions was difficult. Yet, the passable beef aside, the rest of the dish was tasty – the red wine and shallot jus lovely and slightly thickened so it clings to the meat. All the accompaniments were also great: meaty maitake mushroom, crispy broccolini, and the scrumptious potato and cheese croquette… it was the highlight of the dish.


The strawberry crémeux looks pretty but is a really sad dessert. Our waitress takes a fairly long time explaining all the individual sorbets (yogurt cheesecake, strawberry, and strawberry cream) and describes the dish as having an olive oil cake. It took me a while to realize that this “cake” was actually the crumb that propped up the decorative leaf.


I’m done with the deconstructed dessert and wish the preparation would just go away. If this is meant to be a trio of sorbets than give a larger scoop of each and call it that. Meanwhile, if this is meant to be a cake than just create a cake. As it stands, the meagre portions and laying each element out on a dish just seems like a lazy excuse to not employ a proper pastry chef.

Sweets are definitely not Quatrefoil’s forte, even the final bites were a letdown: the cappuccino macron too sweet and while the dark chocolate and strawberry truffle had promise (well balanced flavours and good quality chocolate) the shell was too thick.



Nonetheless, the friendly service and easy going pace of the dinner is what makes dining at Quatrefoil a treat. They were also accommodating, allowing me to get half a wine pairing so that I could have a taste with every dish without falling asleep on the hour drive home.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dundas, Canada
 Address: 16 Sydenham Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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CLOSED: Vertical (Toronto)

Seated in the quiet dining room of Vertical, located on the third level of First Canadian Place, the overlooking view of the elevators provided an interesting people watching vantage point: a glimpse into their lives before rushing off to other destinations following work.

The last time I’d been to the restaurant was years earlier, for lunch, a failed pomegranate kale salad that was too seedy and tart to be satisfying. If it weren’t for That’s The Spread and winning a gift card from their online contest, I may have never returned. And that would be a shame as the dinner menu by Chef Pasquini is good – Italian based dishes that are a far cry from the salad of the yesteryears.

Plenty of thinly sliced finocchina, capicollo, and 24-month aged prosciutto di parma were given in the assorted salumi ($20), a starter that’s great for sharing. The finocchina, a Tuscan salami, was a tad fatty for me but was luckily my husband’s favourite. The leaner neutral capicollo was a better bet and we both enjoyed the prosciutto, which was flavourful without relying on salt.


Accompanying the meat was a small bowl of crunchy pickled vegetables and great grainy mustard, though what it really needed was bread or crostini. After referring back to the menu for the post, I now realize you can request complimentary ciabatta; a reminder from our server would have been nice as I’d certainly would have benefited from one.

My main, a beef tenderloin ($42) was a thick chunk and well prepared – a good sear and left medium rare inside. The splash of salsa verde studded with Jerusalem artichoke, over salted swiss chard and cubes of deep fried polenta made for a beautiful spring-coloured presentation.


Although their mains do have garnishes, it’s not substantial so you’d likely need a supplementary side. We shared the brussel sprouts ($9) which were simply tossed with a good quality olive oil, lemon and a hefty portion of garlic.


The ravioli ($25) were deliciously filled with a smooth parsnip puree mixed with shredded braised short rib and then garnished with a dusting of scorzone black truffle, which goes so well with the creamy sauce.


Given the main courses were rather small, we certainly had room for dessert. The warm doughnuts ($10) were a great way to end: six plump soft pastries that were thankfully not oily. The coffee dipping sauce was rather weak and could benefit from a bit more espresso, but the doughnuts had enough cinnamon sugar coating them that they were tasty on their own.



As a warning, the portions at Vertical certainly don’t follow the Italian tradition of abundance. Nonetheless, after the dessert, we were satisfied without feeling overly stuffed. The dinner was much better than my last visit. After all, I’ve finally learnt Homer’s lesson – you don’t make friends with salad. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 100 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Vertical Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato