Over the holidays I went to Canoe for the first time. It’s been considered one of the best restaurants in the city for a long time and since my new job is just across the street, I figured it was time to try it out already. Located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank tower, the view is great. The interior is attractive and simple, with a focus on wood and neutral colours. Chefs Anthony Walsh and John Horne focus is on regional Canadian cuisine.
Picture taken from Canoe website.
I usually like to go with the tasting menu if one is offered but in this case, it didn’t really appeal to me. The meat course was chicken (why would they do that?) and two of the courses featured ingredients I was allergic to. Instead I just ordered off the menu. On the topic of allergies though, the kitchen and the wait staff were all very accommodating when I told them I was allergic to certain nuts. They let me know I could get anything without them and advised me of any item where there could be cross-contamination.
To start off I had a Canoe champagne cocktail – orange vodka, grand marnier, champagne, bitters and dried cranberries. It was great, and I loved watching the bubbles play with the cranberries (simple joys).
For my appetizer I had the Clover Roads duck “tongue to tail”. This was delightful. It was plated on a charcuterie board and featured many different parts and preparations of duck. The duck breast was wonderful and cooked to a perfect rare. There were thin slivers of duck heart, fried duck tongue, rilettes, and a great foie gras pate served on a pumpkin muffin. The pickled accompaniments and dots of reduced balsamic enhanced each bite.
This is the pan-seared Quebec Foie Gras, which was also very nice (I’ve rarely met a seared foie gras I didn’t enjoy). It was served with brioche, as is the norm. The special touch on this dish were the peanuts and blueberry compote, which combined together for a PB&J experience.
For my main I did something I rarely do and ordered fish instead of red meat. I got the Blue Arctic Char, served with zucchini, sweet corn, wild rice and pickled bitter melon. Everything was great. The fish had a nice, crispy sear on it. The sweet corn really enhanced the wild rice and the pickled melon added a nice sourness that balanced everything.
This is the 45-day aged Rib Eye. It came with roasted carrots, portobello pickles, layered potatoes and smoked mustard aioli. The steak was delicious, but my favourite part of this dish was the layered potatoes. A really easy way to win me over is to give me a fancy potato preparation and let me soak it in steak jus.
For dessert I had the butter tart (the picture is taken from a funny angle to try to hide the fact that I dug right in before remembering to take a pic). I had to go without the chocolate covered pecans. I love a good butter tart. This was a great one. Very sweet but so perfectly textured and rich, with amazing, crumbly crust. This was served with smoked vanilla ice cream and a coffee cream mousse.
Someone else also dug into his dessert before taking a picture. This is the freshly churned ice creams. The flavors were watermelon, blueberry, and … I don’t remember. Toffee, maybe? They were good, but ice cream isn’t a particularly exciting dessert to me.
Overall, going to Canoe was a very good experience. The food was immaculately prepared, the flavours were great, and the atmosphere and service were very inviting. My favourite dish of the night was the duck appetizer, it had so many wonderfully different tastes, textures and presentations.