Friday March 8, 2013
Today I brought my dad, my brother and my husband. The former two being more foodies than my husband and up for new experiences. This cute corner restaurant was well decorated. An eclectic mix of kitchy cow photos and décor scattered throughout a fairly modern space. The kitchen prep area was open for us to watch the master butchers at work, creating their artisanal creations. Our table for four was comfy, cozy and well stocked. The lone waitress was friendly and helpful and informative to our first experience at the restaurant. She mentioned the plates were like small tapas, small highly flavourful bites meant for sharing and tasting. Read: not for big eaters, those who are super hungry or cheapskates!
The blackboard menu had maybe 2 dozen items to choose from all of which sounded intriguing and tantalizing. We had a hard time narrowing it down to our selections but decided on a good variety so we could all sample and try each others.
The food came fairly quickly, seeing as we were only 1 of two tables filled on this Friday, the only day they are open for lunch service. The pork belly tacos came first, usually an order of two but we ordered enough for all 4 of us to try one. They were definitely small but huge in flavour. The pork belly was tender, not chewy and cooked to perfection. A mix of corn, greens and something white n crunchy , perhaps pickled radish was served on soft corn tortillas. Having recently visited Mexico, this is how all tacos should be served. The corn tortilla is highly undervalued here in Canada, but adds such a distinct flavour to tacos. A fresh squeeze of lime over top enhanced this already super flavour packed two bite taco. For $14 for two tacos, its best you stop and savour and appreciate it in its entirety, instead of inhaling the thing.
Next came my tongue n cheek dish. Confit beef tongue and braised pork cheek, done in a rich gravy over creamy whipped potatoes and asparagus. For those faint of heart to new meats, this is a must try. Sure the tongue looks tongue-y, but its hidden well under the cheek meat which really just looks like tender roast beef. The blend of the two slowly braised meats, the sauce and the velvety smooth potatoes was quite heavenly. We rationed it between three of us and the bowl basically got licked clean.
Lastly came my dads bone marrow, which was roasted to perfection and served on a beautiful board outfitted with a few piles of crostini, parsley salad and sea salt flakes to top with. Three bones sat vertically waiting for their insides to be scooped and smeared across a little toast. My dad showed us the way, having had bone marrow before, and feeling his heart stop he might add on that experience. We were warned of its extra rich, artery clogging ability, but in moderation everything is worth the indulgence. The crostini was a perfect vessel to smear the fatty marrow onto, topped with the refreshing parsley salad and a few flakes of salt and it was utter perfection. Two to three of these little guys is all you needed to appreciate and savour the flavour.
None of us were full by the end, especially my husband who could’ve eaten a whole cow, but at least three of us had fully satisfied taste buds. One of the chefs, presumably the owner too, was kind enough to give my dad one of his work shirts, with their logo and name on it. My dad mentioned he liked it and wanted to buy one, and the chef found one laying around and gave it to him. I think that eased the $80 bill for our lunch a bit. My dad had wine and each course was around $15 each, but for a special date, my birthday in this instance, it was worth the little splurge.Food: 4.5*, Value: 3.0*, Service: 4.5*, Décor/Ambiance: 4.5*
Overall: 4.1 The artisanal craftsmanship that goes into each plate is undeniable. The use of ingredients and really the nose to tail style of cooking is nowhere to be found here in Hamilton, so it’s worth the new experience and the cooking is so great that you won’t be disappointing or grossed out by something different and out of the box. Perhaps keep this place for late night apps and wine with a date, or at least go under the assumption you will most likely not be unbuttoning your pants when you leave. Eat before you go maybe?