July 17, 2011

Summerlicious @ Canoe (again)

Last year, I went to Canoe for a summerlicious dinner, and I was slightly underwhelmed by my experience. Since then, the restaurant has undergone a renovation, so my interest in dining here peeked again. However, I wasn't willing to fork up $45 per person for dinner, so this time around, I opted for lunch at a much more reasonable $25.
In truth, I really couldn't see the results of the renovations at all. The restaurant looked exactly the same to me as it did before, or perhaps my memory fails me. Maybe these walls weren't like this before?
Firstly, the bread was already vastly improved from last year. I quite enjoyed their house-baked bread with lemon chickpea spread. As expected, the spread tasted like hummus, but the addition of lemon was refreshing and contrasted well with the richness of the olive oil.
We also ordered a honeydew lemonade because it was such a hot day. I felt a little guilty for splurging out for a drink that I totally didn't need.
Chilled soups seems to be a very popular menu item for this year's Summerlicious. After the disappointing experience at O&B Café Grill, I decided to give it another try, since the other two appetizer didn't appeal to me. This was the chilled Holland marsh leek and potato soup with marinated baby shellfish and chive oil, and it was exactly how I imagined a well-executed chilled soup should be: creamy, smooth, and refreshing. The chive oil was a great aromatic addition that really elevated the flavour profile. Every spoonful of this delectable soup was a delight! Canoe re-instilled my faith in chilled soup.
For our entrées, my boyfriend predictably chose the Wellington County flatiron steak with smashed Cookstown fingerling potatoes, corn and wild leek aioli. This dish was also really well-executed. I usually find the flatiron cut to be too tough for my liking, but the steak was surprisingly tender and had a rich, meaty flavour. In addition, the creamy leek aioli was ridiculously good and I made a great effort to mop up every last drop with the accompanying veggies. Flavours aside, I also liked the presentation a lot, and I thought it was a very well-composed plate.
The most disappointing dish of the meal was my Yukon gold potato gnocchi with fennel, comfort cream and vine ripened tomato broth. The gnocchi themselves were pretty good with a soft, but slightly chewy texture. The tomato broth was also incredibly aromatic (and acidic). Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of pasta in broth, as I much prefer my pasta with sauce. I also wasn't sure what the "comfort cream" was, since nothing on the plate was remotely creamy at all. However, I wouldn't say that the dish was bad, but I enjoyed the flatiron steak a lot more. In retrospect, I should've ordered the pan fried walleye instead.
For my dessert, I went with a safer choice: Canoe pecan tart with cherries and crème fraîche ice cream. I absolutely loved it! The tart filling was perfectly gooey and rich, full of delightfully crunchy pecans, and encased by a thick, buttery tart. My boyfriend thought that it was a little too sweet, but it was perfect for my sweet tooth. The pecan tart was truly an amazing end to my meal.
The other dessert was the bitter sweet chocolate terrine with vanilla marshmallow and Barrie Hill Farms strawberries. The terrine resembled a layer cake with different components for each layer. The bottom chocolate tier was very rich and intense, which my boyfriend loved. Compared to my tart, it was also not as sweet. The middle fruity layer complemented the chocolate well.  The top layer composed of lightly burned marshmallow, which added a creamy dimension to the terrine. Personally, I'm not a big fan of marshmallow, so I preferred my pecan tart more. But if you love dark chocolate and marshmallow, you will love this dessert (as my boyfriend did).
I had an outstanding meal at Canoe that wiped away the memory of last year's underwhelming Summerlicious dinner. We were disappointed that we didn't get a window seat, and as a result, didn't really have an opportunity to enjoy the stunning. However, the food was excellent, and I felt almost happy to pay $25 for the meal (I'm usually very cheap). I was also very full from the meal, despite the relatively small portions. In future licious events, I would definitely consider coming back here for lunch. 
Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

  1. Wow how in the world did u get reservations I hear it is impossible! I had enough difficulty getting through for Summerlicious at Auberge du Pommier which I will be going to today. Any tips? Just so I know for next year or maybe Winterlicious becuase I would really like to try Canoe as well. :)

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  2. I think it's actually not that hard to get a reservation at Canoe for lunch as long as you call early. Dinner might be a little more tricky. You have to keep trying until you get through to the line. And if you have American Express, you can call two days earlier so that's very helpful.

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  3. oh really? I didn't know... my friend said her coworker had Amex card and still had to call for 30 min so I didn't bother haha. Cool then I'm def gonna try for Winterlicious! >)

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