Showing posts with label restuarant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restuarant. Show all posts

Ad Hoc (Rome)

Location: Rome, Italty
Address: Via di Ripetta, 43
Website: http://www.ristoranteadhoc.com/inglese/home.htm
Type of Meal: Dinner

 Interior of Ad Hoc (1)

Due to the restaurant’s popularity on TripAdvisor, I suggest you make reservations as we heard many people being turned away as we visited that night. Ad Hoc is a quaint restaurant filled with bottles and crates of wine on every wall which is befitting of an Italian restaurant - if you're a wine connoisseur I'm sure you'll love it!

We were started off with a complimentary amuse bouche and basket of assorted bread. The amuse bouche consisted of bread topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese mixture, it tasted much like what you’d receive on finger food platters.  I liked the bread basket more; there were so many small bites to try flavoured with paprika, olives, walnut, pesto or nothing at all. The best ones were sticks of pesto bread with a crispy and salty top and bottom with a fluffy centre.


Bread basket (1)
My warning is do not fill up on bread as the portions are big!


When I saw they had pumpkin blossoms as an appetizer I was excited – I love these delicate flowers that are wonderfully crispy and light when done right.  Ad hoc’s version of the Pumpkin Blossoms (14.90€) were fried and then stuffed with three ricotta cheese fillings - black truffle, asparagus and honey mushrooms.  As you can already see in the picture of the dish below, the blossoms were anything but light and crispy.  The blossoms were enormous and overly battered and stuffed.  The ricotta fillings were bland, the only one which had even a hint of flavour was the black truffle.  All the delicateness of what could have been a crispy blossom was gone. Instead, I felt I was eating an unseasoned pumpkin burrito.

Pumpkin blossoms (1)



My husband had the Tasting of Salami (14.90€) which consisted of generous portions of salami done four ways – whole cured (?), spicy, blood (?), and the typical fashion. Accompanying the salami were two crostinis topped with a thin slices of melted fat.  Personally, I’m not a fan of salami as the fattiness tends to be over powering but, the spicy and whole cured ones were good.  I would have liked the spicy one to incorporate more heat.  My husband, a cured meat lover, really enjoyed the dish.

 Tasting of salami (1)



My main, not pictured as unfortunately it’s a seasonal dish, was gnocchi with prawns and black truffle.  This dish redeemed the restaurant as the gnocchi was cooked perfectly (not too soft with a hint of chewiness) and well-seasoned with the black truffle butter sauce.  It’s really hard to go wrong when you’re mixing butter and truffles!  The prawns were cooked well; the prawns were a good size, fresh and had a hint of sweetness. The gnocchi was topped with a generous helping of freshly shaved black truffle which added to its decadence.


My husband's main of sea bass (24.00€) was beautifully presented with two fare sized portions of sea bass were wrapped with zucchini ribbons. The honey mushrooms accompanying the dish were delights – tasting like straw mushrooms with hint of sweetness and complimented the light sea bass fittingly. The dish also came with average mashed potatoes which by itself were bland but with the honey mushrooms were great.

 Sea bass (1)


We were too full for dessert but they presented us with some petite fours – licorice candy and soft almond, orange and gingerbread cookies. The gingerbread cookie topped with a drizzle of chocolate was the highlight, in my opinion.

The service was good, but they could have been more attentive with the wine.  Since the wine was not left at the table on ice, there were times our glass was empty and we wouldn’t be served more until the following course. The bill took a long time to arrive, but this could have been due to us receiving a 10% discount for booking online (a pleasant surprise I didn’t know about).

The bill totaled 114€ with a bottle of wine and still water after receiving the discount, but before service charges.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


____________________________
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!
For further general discussions about this blog please refer to http://gastroworldblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-to-gastro-world.html


Photo Sources:

  1. All pictures - Trip Advisor (http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d1381800-Reviews-Ad_Hoc-Rome_Lazio.html)

Blowfish (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 333 Bay Street
Website: http://www.blowfishrestaurant.com/bay/
Type of Meal: Dinner

Blowfish’s roasted miso-marinated black cod with sautéed seasonal greens ($28) is certainly why I keep going back.  It’s simply one of the tastiest miso black cods I've had in Toronto. Cooked perfectly that it flakes apart with the slight touch and yet still soft and moist. Undeniably, what I love most is the sweet caramel consistency miso sauce smeared on the plate beside the cod.  It’s so flavourful and acts as a dip for the patron to add as much or as little as they feel appropriate. If you’d like to try this without the $28 price tag, go at lunch – you’ll receive the same dish but with one piece instead of two while the price decreases to $14.

Roasted miso-marinated black cod (1)

Off of the seasonal menu we ordered the binnaga-maguro ceviche.  Diced pieces of albacore tuna, avocado, veggies and pine nuts are marinated with a jalapeño yuzu sauce then served on a Tostito sized crispy taro chip ($18).  I didn’t hate it, but it wouldn’t be something I’d order again.  The tuna was marinated for so long that the texture was sort of chewy.  Additionally, something about the marinade made it taste with salted dried cod fish, not exactly what you look for in a ceviche.

Binnaga-maguro ceviche (2)


Another highlight for Blowfish is their interesting non-traditional makimono rolls.  The brown-eyed pea ($9) is one of my favourites.  It’s pretty simple - crispy thin spears of asparagus and thinly sliced snow peas all wrapped in dark brown rice rolled in sesame seeds.  The contrast of the chewy rice and crispy asparagus is great.  The brown rice’s texture is also my preferred consistency as I find the white rice rolls can be a little gluey sometimes. Spicy sauce sits on the plate for you to add as you wish.


Brown-eyed pea roll (3)

What we ordered: A simple spicy salmon roll ($10).  Unlike most restaurants the salmon isn’t chopped up into little pieces then mixed with tempura bits and sauce.  I like that each roll incorporates a whole piece of salmon and that the tempura bits aren’t overwhelming.  Nonetheless, the sauce is too mild to truly be considered spicy and would prefer if they kicked it up a bit.


Spicy salmon roll (4)


An alternative I’d recommend from past meals: Spicy tuna on crispy sushi rice ($17).  The soft tuna paired with domino sized crispy rice cakes is a great combination.  Also, they top each piece with a thin slice of jalapeño providing the heat I like when you order a spicy roll.


Spicy tuna on crispy rice cake (5)

What we ordered: Spicy rock shrimp tempura style ($20).  It was disappointing; the shrimp although looking quite large was really a large piece of batter and ends up feeling like you’re eating a chicken ball.  The spicy sauce is essentially the same as all the other dishes so wasn’t flavourful enough.  The only dish we ordered that had leftover pieces.

Spicy rock shrimp (6)

An alternative I’d recommend from past meals: If you really want to try the spicy rock shrimp, order their spicy tuna with rock shrimp roll instead ($18).  It’s essentially a spicy tuna roll with a rock shrimp on top.  Perhaps it’s because they have to make the spicy rock shrimp smaller so that it sits on the roll or maybe it’s due to them not being stacked on each other and getting soggy, but the spicy rock shrimp doesn’t taste as bad. 

Spicy tuna roll with rock shrimp (4)

During dinner, you are also treated with a complimentary dish of edamame for the table which is wonderfully warm and sea salt coated.
I also tried their watermelon mint sake sangria ($16) made with prosecco, watermelon and passion fruit juice and tons of fresh mint.  It was a tasty but mild drink – since you couldn’t taste the alcohol, in the end, the drink tasted like you’re having fruit juice with mint leaves.  With the hefty price tag, I’d rather skip the sangria and stick with wine next time.
Normally, I go to Blowfish for lunch.  This time we went after work and found the service, although friendly and attentive, to be too much.  After all our dishes were served, a waiter would come by every 10 minutes to ask if we were okay.  If that weren’t enough, each time they would try to clear away a plate – most of the time the dish still had a piece of food on it!  This left us either scrambling to take the last piece or just asking them to leave it.  Restaurants should take note, if a table has a dish that still has food on it and looks like they are still eating - don’t clear the plate.  I guess during lunch hours the duration of the meal is limited so we appreciate the fast service, but during dinner I find this element slightly annoying.
Overall mark - 8* out of 10

However, the roasted miso-marinated black cod itself would get a 9!


____________________________
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!
For further general discussions about this blog please refer to http://gastroworldblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-to-gastro-world.html


Photo Sources:
  1. Roasted miso-marinated black cod - Mastercard Fashion Week (http://worldmastercardfashionweek.com/Stylicity/?p=2663)
  2. Binnaga-maguro ceviche - Dinehere.ca (http://dinehere.ca/toronto/blowfish-japanese-restaurant-sake-bar-bay)
  3. Brown-eyed pea roll - TorontoLife (http://www.torontolife.com/daily/daily-dish/opening-daily-dish/2011/03/10/introducing-blowfish-on-bay-the-financial-district-outpost-of-the-king-street-resto-lounge/attachment/brown-eyed-pea/)
  4. Spicy salmon roll and Spicy tuna with rock shrimp - Cutting dollars and pounds (http://cuttingdollarsandpounds.wordpress.com/category/food/)
  5. Spicy tuna on crispy rice - Foodspotting (http://www.foodspotting.com/places/119072-blowfish-restaurant-saki-bar-toronto/items/76986-spicy-tuna-on-crispy-rice-cake)
  6. Spicy rock shrimp - Hotchner @ Foodspotting (https://www.foodspotting.com/38855-hotchner/items/2857-shrimp)



Blowfish on Urbanspoon