Showing posts with label sable fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sable fish. Show all posts

Pluvio (Ucluelet)


Pluvio is in Ucluelet, an eerily calm town about a 20-minute drive from Tofino, and had we not used GPS to find the restaurant, we might have driven by the quiet street the inn and restaurant was located on. In fact, we were able to park right out front despite securing a prime dinner reservation. A win for Ukee!

With a choice of a five-course chef’s menu and three-course prix fixe, we opted for the select your own three-course option ($88) because sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of choice. The meal started with three crispy one bite wonders: a puffed cracker with a smoked fish (?) creamy topping, a delicate lattice leaf chip and refreshing chive dip, and little nests filled with a delicious meaty filling that had me wondering if anyone would notice if I swiped another one from the open kitchen near us. 


After being talked down by my friends, I focused instead of the wine and conversation and soon the first course arrived. Before getting into the dishes, we noticed that food tends to be overly seasoned in BC. Perhaps it’s due to their proximity to salt water, but we found that 80% of the things served were a little saltier than we’d like. And this was true for Pluvio’s dishes, so if you prefer things a little less seasoned, I’d suggest letting them know while ordering.

The cubes of torched sablefish were wonderfully prepared but overpowered by the strong pickled radish and poached apples that surrounded the black cod. Still, the colours did make for an artistic creation adorned with crispy butterflies and translucent fruit flowers. It’s a dish that is best eaten with the eyes. 


If the sablefish was a dish signifying spring, the polenta would pay homage to the cooler months. A surf and turf moat made from side stripe shrimp and lamb sausage surrounded the creamy luscious polenta. The strips of sausage being removed from the casing, flattened, and grilled almost had a steak-like quality to it and made for an interesting protein. Everything worked well together, especially when combined with the dollop of mint purée. 


Smartly, Pluvio serves their bread after the first course to discourage guests from filling up before the mains. Perhaps they should sandwich the bread before dessert as I still couldn’t contain my excitement and dug into the fresh crusty country bread and corn bread. Why oh why is it so difficult to keep away from the carbs?! 


Luckily, I still had room for the hefty piece of confit halibut swimming in a creamy corn and toasted yeast beurre blanc that provided a light but decadent sauce against the meaty fish. The sauce was also great for dipping the crispy chips, which shielded the skinless poached cherry tomatoes. With the halibut, I added three grilled scallops ($12) because as the menu describes, everything is better with scallops, especially when they are cooked wonderfully. 


Pluvio’s desserts are described as “forest”, “field”, and “sea”.  Neither were spectacular and if I could choose, I would have simply wanted the green spruce sponge cake from the forest served with a side of the cold lemon semifreddo of the field. 


In general, I’d stick with the land desserts as the “sea” was way too citrusy from the sea buckthorn caramel and the hard pieces of sponge too sweet when paired with the chocolate crémeux. In fact, if I could have a do over, I’d stick with the cheese plate as you can’t really go wrong with cheese (except if you’re lactose intolerant, I guess). 


Pluvio presents a “search” for your own chocolate truffle box to end, which may stump a baby but made us feel like geniuses. It was a sweet gesture, but after the filling meal the large truffles were too rich. 


Maybe a search for a fruit jelly would work better? Or they could have hidden another one of those meaty nests that were found in the earlier snacks … for me, that would have been such an amazing surprise to find.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Ucluelet, Canada
 Address: 1714 Peninsula Road


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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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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CLOSED: Bacchanal (Toronto)



While Bacchanal translates to “an occasion of wild and drunken revelry”, the actual restaurant is calming - in a chic French manner. On my weekend visit, diners were sipping on wine and devouring sauce-laced dishes, yet remained in their seats. I guess the wine induced dancing-on-tables happen afterwards.

I was quite happy to tuck into the warm crispy baguette; their house-made red fife wheat loaf was legitimately delicious and full flavoured.


What was left of the bread was great for dipping into the paprika and sherry vinegar broth from the moules escabèche ($10). Served cold, the mussels are plump from the garlicky sauce it soaks in.


Oh the heavenly gnocchi Parisienne au sarrasin ($15), it’s as if the French borrowed the Italian potato pasta and the South’s mac ‘n’ cheese and turned into a molten love child. The creamy comté sauce smelled fantastic and the cheese was strong enough without overpowering the gnocchi. Don’t leave without trying it.


Steak and duck are two dishes I attempt to try at every French restaurant; my benchmark dishes for judging the mains at the place. Bacchanal’s steak frites ($24) were respectable, the 8oz flatiron steak done medium rare and relatively tender for the thick slice. Thankfully, the fries were actually thin (thick chip cuts aren’t meant for steak frites – leave that for the fried fish) and when hot ever so slightly melts the aioli.  


While the Magret de canard ($31) was cooked the requisite rare doneness and the rendered skin crispy, the duck breast could have been cut thinner so wouldn’t be as chewy. The plum glaze was on point to give the dish that traditional sweet and savoury flavour, and with a smear of the whipped foie gras heightened the taste even more.


Surprisingly, it was the sablefish sauce Gamay ($37) I liked the most. Not for the actual fish (properly flakey but under seasoned), rather it was the beluga lentil that impressed having soaked in the cooking liquid. Plus, the leafy colourful kale and trumpet mushrooms did make for an impressive looking presentation.


Bacchanal’s baba au rhum ($15) was an eye catching take on the classic dessert, thanks to the carefully piped white chocolate whipped cream. While the cake was delicious (the hint of spice enjoyable), the rum syrup needed more alcohol … after all, how will the restaurant live up to its name of creating wild and drunken occasions?


French restaurants seem to be the choice du jour for openings and Bacchanal is joining the masses. With more choices comes tougher competition… Bacchanal creates respectable dishes, but not good enough to make me want to travel out of my way for. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 60 Sudbury Street


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: