July 20, 2012

Another exceptional Summerlicious lunch @ Canoe

All Summerlicious fans know that Canoe is arguably THE hardest place to book, and this year I was lucky again to be able to squeeze in a late lunch seating for 2:15 pm (big thanks to Sandy and your friend that bailed on you!) The key to scoring a reservation at Canoe is persistence! Just keep calling and they'll eventually pick up! In the past, I always had to come during the week for lunch, so I'm very thankful that they opened up lunch service for Sunday this year.
I was completely famished when we arrived at the 54th of the TD Bank Tower. Unfortunately, they were a little slow on turning over tables that day so there was a 30-min wait before we were finally seated. We started off with some drinks- Sandy and I opted for a Niagara peach sangria ($12)- peach lemonade, brandy and Niagara white wine. I was very happy with the fruitiness of this drink and I even ate all the peaches! Mona went for a fresh raspberry iced tea ($7), which I didn't try any of since she was sick. And finally, Jas ordered a Canoe dark & stormy with rum, ginger beer and lemon. I'm not sure why this was named dark & stormy when it really was quite bright and summery.
Bread is an extremely important part of my meal and Canoe did not disappoint in this department. We were offered two types of bread- a focaccia and an onion and pancetta loaf, accompanied by the most addictive chipotle chickpea spread. The hummus-like dip was just to die for! Both types of bread were warm and fluffy, and we all couldn't help but eat too much of it. After we devoured the first basket, our server brought us a second one with another type of bread, which wasn't as good as the first two. Of course, the delicious dip made up for any shortfall of the bread!
Sandy's appetizer was Gooseberry cove cod mousse- double smoked bacon, watercress & crisp baguette. Firstly, the presentation was simply stunning, like art on a plate. The cod mousse was smooth and very pleasant, not overly fishy in taste at all. I also loved the crunch from the baguette.
Mona, aka the salad lover, predictably went for the Romaine & Endive Salad with Thunder oak gouda, toasted seeds and roasted tomato vinaigrette. The salad was very pretty with many components. Sadly, I didn't get to try any, but Mona enjoyed it.
Meanwhile, I was head over heels in love with my chilled summer sweet pea soup, a silky, creamy bowl of deliciousness punctuated by swirls of minted Hewitt’s buttermilk and chunks of sweet Dungeness crab. The flavours were bright and vibrant, and I felt like I was swallowing the essence of summer with every spoonful! And I don't even like peas!
After the impressive appetizers, we all had high expectations for the mains. Thankfully, they did not disappoint. We all experienced serious dish-envy when Sandy's entrée arrived- tree syrup glazed beef short rib with creamy Alliston spuds, green beans and crispy onions. After sampling the short ribs and a piece of those addictive onion rings, I immediately regretted my choice of entrée. The short ribs were beautifully caramelized and slicked with the most amazingly delectable tree-syrup glaze. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender but not to the point of disintegration, so it was still toothsome enough to retain its integrity.  And if this ginormous portion of meat didn't fill you up, that creamy mashed potato certainly would! This was indisputably the standout dish of the entire meal.
My own pasta main was pretty good as well- citrus infused chicken breast with mustard greens, pappardelle and rosemary mustard cream sauce. The chicken breast, though lacking citrus flavours, was tender and juicy. The pasta was cooked al dente and tossed in a tasty, comforting cream sauce. It was a solid dish, and the only complaint that I have is that Sandy's entrée was undoubtedly superior.
Mona and Jas opted for roasted heritage salmon with Brooks Farms asparagus, new potato salad and Nam Phrik cucumber. I didn't try a lot of it, but the general consensus was that the fish was very good. In particular, my friends commented that the ribbons of Nam Phrik cucumbers (which I'm not familiar with) were really tasty.
Unfortunately for us, due to weather, we didn't get much of a view for the duration of our meal (but in truth we were too mesmerized by the food to even care). Between our mains and desserts, the storm clouds darkened the skies significantly, resulting in some very poor-quality pictures of desserts, which I do apologize for. To end off our fabulous meal, Sandy and Jas both had strawberry panna cotta with lychee ginger consommé and basil. When the plate was placed on the table, the panna cotta actually jiggled, much to our amusement! The strawberry flavours definitely brought back memories of my sister's signature strawberry mousse that she used to make all the time. Personally, I prefer my panna cotta to be creamier, but Sandy loved her dessert. On the other hand, Jas described it as "weak mousse".
Mona and I had a Vineland peach trifle with Earl Grey syrup and topped with stone fruit coulis. While Mona didn't like the syrup-soaked cake, I loved the intensity of the stewed peaches, and I yearned for more of that delicious Earl Grey syrup! It was a delightfully satisfying end to the this extraordinary feast.
By the time we finished the meal, it was so late that the staff was already prepping for their dinner service, and I was so stuffed that I skipped dinner that night! On the whole, it was a phenomenal meal on every level. My friends and I were all mightily impressed, especially by the beef short ribs. At $25, lunch is certainly a steal, and the restaurant even validates parking all day on weekends (and after 5 pm on weekdays). For the next 'Licious, I highly recommend all foodies to make that extra effort to secure a reservation, and I'll likely be doing the same myself!
Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

  1. This was by far the best -licious meal I have had. Looking at the short rib makes me want to go back there!!!

    Canoe met all my expectation and more!! So glad we got to go!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That looks so good! I went to canoe last year, def going for the next winter/summerlicious!

    ReplyDelete
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