Showing posts with label tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tasting. Show all posts

Canoe (Toronto)

Canoe Toronto

Since September 1995, Canoe has been showcasing Canadian cuisine and this year the Toronto fine dining restaurant turns 20! Their menu goes beyond poutine and apple fritters, taking our country’s fare to a prominent level. In celebration of their birthday, a special 7-course tasting menu was developed ($100 or $150 including wine pairings).

Dishes are also offered a la carte; in the post, I’ve included their individual prices should you just want certain ones. Certainly, the tasting offered dishes from coast to coast: grains of the prairies, rabbit & fruits of Ontario, venison of Quebec, and seafood from the coastal provinces. Only the territories seemed to have been neglected, maybe for their 25th celebration Canoe can make it up to them.

Here I thought mason jars would only be showcased in hipster restaurants, only to find Canoe’s amuse named after it. Inside laid a thin layer of luscious chicken liver and foie gras mousse, which incorporated a sweet and savoury element. The spread tasted equally delicious on the accompanying crunchy pita or slathered on the house pancetta bread.

Not quite sashimi nor poached either, the lobster carpaccio ($28) was quickly sous vide before being finished off on a hot plate. The result: a sweet delicate lobster that was sublime and makes you yearn for more. The pickled daikon, crunchy hurricane roll wrapped lobster claw and the snap from the black sesame shrimp chip were satisfying as well, but all could be replaced by just another bite of the delicious crustacean.

After the lighter dishes, the woodsy forest lasagna ($22) was a nice transition. The slice was packed with morsels of wild James Bay rabbit, which paired well with sautéed matsutakes (a meaty mushroom) but could have left out the heartnuts (the child of a walnut and macadamia). The dense forests of Canada were also showcased using caribou moss, crunchy pieces of spruce and a deep fried maple leaf.

A fruity bubbly concoction of Muskoka cranberry cream soda made its way quickly, to avoid deflation, for us to cleanse our palettes.  

The only decision you’ll need to make is fish or meat for the main. Not drawn to the dried grapes (isn’t that a raisin?) and ice wine jus described in the Cerf de Boileau venison ($48), I opted for the fish. Though, if you’re in the mood for something richer - get the venison – it was flavourful, succulent and for such a lean cut very tender.

Being a lighter fish, Canoe did a good job with pairing the Fogo Island cod ($40) with a strong savoury broth. Moreover, the crisped caramelized skin was a treat to get to before it was softened by the soup. The Tanner crab (also known as snow crab) boudin, although tasty, could have been stronger… I was expecting the texture to be more sausage and less mousse. Slivers of pickled seaweed and soft creamy diced potatoes finished the dish and left me comfortably full and satisfied.

For dessert, rather than relying on popular soft fruits or apples, Canoe decided to highlight the 100km company’s squash ($12). It’s a daring love it or hate it choice and the dish ended up being a bit of both for me. I really enjoyed the sweet side of the dish: pureed squash wrapped in crepe and mixed with cold white chocolate ice cream and crunchy Prairie seeds and grains. However, the cubes of salty squash on the side was just such an extreme contrast, even covering it with Birch honey didn’t help.

Not to disappoint, they did showcase the beloved Niagara apple to end: a sphere of poached apple on a crunchier disc that’s balanced on a sweet apple gelee. It was a pleasing last bite.

As a warning, the tasting menu progresses slowly – the first two dishes alone took an hour. After politely asking if they could speed up the progression (whenever possible), they kindly accommodated and in time came quicker. Overall, the meal was almost a three hour affair. If you don’t mind taking your time, the Canoe Twenty menu is available until November 20, 2015 – happy birthday Canoe and celebrate with them while you still can!

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 66 Wellington Street West

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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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