I was star-crossed to be able to go to Auberge de Pommier with C and some of her fam. Owned by the Oliver and Bonacini empire (Canoe, Jump, Biff’s, etc.), this is the sort of restaurant where expectations and preparatory menu gawking accomplish very little. This will not be a foodie freakout because guess what. The evening was amazing, just as it should have been.
Tucked behind country club landscaping, adjacent to a gawdy evangelical temple and benign office buildings, Auberge is located in a simply weird spot north of Yonge and York Mills, a true island in the North York corridor.
Once you forget about the neighbours and walk up the entrance and head inside, you forget everything. This is likely the nicest dining room in the city. Massive cushy chairs, country home stone, undeniably beautiful. Like a whitewashed Club Chasse et Peche but with more money and less adventure in interior design.
Service was perfect – warm, friendly but distant, almost classic French service just without the white gloves, thank goodness. Massive white plates, precious presentations, tasteful portion sizes, lots of butter. Classic haute cuisine stuff. Maw.
Here’s a rundown of some choice selections we had at the table:
- I had caramelized sea scallop and braised beef cheek with sweet peas, morels and summer truffle Champagne cream. Never had beef cheek before, beautifully done, super tender, just like braised brisket.
This totally furthers my proof that apps are always better than mains. Always. Something other than protein/pureed starch/vegetable. The highlights were definitely the appetizers.
- I had grilled beef tenderloin on creamy cauliflower velouté with wild mushroom croquette, horseradish scented tomato confit and Bordelaise. Arguably the best cut I’ve had, just would’ve liked a better sear. Regardless, who wouldn’t be ecstatic over a beautiful Chateaubriand, cipollini onions, and croquettes.
- Butter poached lobster glazed under an aromatic, citrus and tarragon mousseline with braised endive and citrus salad. Beautifully cooked lobster, but other things on the plate weren’t as impressive for us diners. And butter butter butter.
Cara’s dad bought the envy of every wine freak’s dreams – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2006 Reserve.
This isn’t meant to be a gloaty post. If you have a very special evening and you want to celebrate with the best vibe in the city and beautiful French food, you know where to go. I was a lucky man to be able to go, definitely a big check mark on the Toronto restaurant canon.
I’ve decided my links are the best on this side of Somerset. Happy reading.
- Banksy comes to Toronto, people deface his loveliness – [Torontoist]
- Toronto the good? Try great – [Globe]
- Markham votes to build over “best farmland in Canada” – [Toronto Life]
- Bixi Toronto bike sharing program starts May 2011 – [National Post]
- TTC wants you to meet your new ride – [Spacing]
- Turning the Gardiner Expressway into a park – an idea becomes safe for Toronto when New York does it first – [Toronto Life]
- Richard Florida – 10 things I can’t live without – [Toronto Life]
- U.S. Climate bill arrives in Senate – cap and trade by 2025. Yay? – [Scientific American]
- Securing the smart grid – [Scientific American]
- Google’s energy foray: what’s up? – [New York Times]
- Cactus gum could make clean water cheap for millions – [New Scientist]
- What are dark matter and dark energy? – [HowStuffWorks]
- Southpaws – the evolution of handedness – [New Scientist]
- Water ice found on the surface of an asteroid for the first time – [Scientific American]
- CBC execs head to L.A. to poach Canadian writers – [Toronto Life]
- Watch Conan’s visit to Google Headquarters – [Gizmodo]
- The Guardian profiles Brian Eno – [Guardian]
- Liberals, Tories agree: MP expenses aren’t for the public to see – [Toronto Life]
- All the Obama 20-somethings – [New York Times]
- Electoral dysfunction: why democracy is always unfair – [New Scientist]
- Mark McEwan tapped to be head judge of Top Chef Canada – [Toronto Life]
- The rebirth of booze – [Toronto Life]
Looks like we’re in a rare reversing trend over the past couple of years… change may be afoot, lovelies.
Metrics c/o New York Times.
Paul Rudd continues to be associated with the best Chad/dude names. First Tevin, now Tayne. Thumbs.
So. THE place. The charcuterie mecca of Toronto. The Black Hoof on Dundas Street W. Just went Monday night. Overall, delicious but I read too many reviews. Lots of hype. Monday nights are an awesome time to go – it’s their Friday night, I saw Bob Blumer, and there were tables free until 7 or 7:30.
Had the standards – Beef Tongue on Brioche (tasted like the best American style pastrami you’ve ever had), southern fried sweetbreads (best sweetbreads I’ve ever had), large charcuterie, and roast bone marrow.
I’m missing a few, but charcuterie as far as I can remember was:
- lamb rillette
- blueberry salami
- caraway salami
- fennel salami
- chorizo (amazing)
- spicy calabrese
- duck breast proscuitto
- pancetta (nicely spiced)
- foie mousse
- There was a rabbit one that reminded me of a mild kielbasa, and one more salami.
A very memorable meal. Only iffy spot was how the bone marrow was roasted. However, some of the best service I’ve ever received in this city. Thank you Black Hoof!
Me and friends were very glad to see Caribou on Monday night at the Phoenix. His new album Swim is beautiful, repetitive, fun, unabashed, jazzy. Like a fuzzy union of peace and chemicals. I was a big fan of Up In Flames, one of his first records when he was Manitoba.
One of the crowd pleasers of the night was definitely “Sun”, a clear dancey nod to DJ Shadow and Jazzanova. Hear it here.
Caribou - Sun