Jul 15, 2010

Summerlicious @ Canoe

images from oliverbonacini.com

This year, I've kicked off the Summerlicious with a lunch at Canoe. 45 minutes on the phone and I've scored the last available lunch reservation for a late 1:30p.m. seating. I was warned that the table will be held for 15 minutes only and I will loose the spot if I am late. At that time all this sounded fair and I was anxiously waiting for a "meal with a view".

I've arrived right on time and was greeted by a nice young hostess who got someone else to take me to the table. That person in turn got someone else to bring over the menus… Ilonka arrived just a few minutes later and was brought to the table by yet another person. At that point, there were four people who've served us in one way or another in the past few minutes.

Canoe's décor is surprisingly conservative. Plain white walls are highlighted with wooden panels and very unassuming decorative shelving. The pastel color palette is surprisingly blunt bordering with boring. However, Canoe is famous for its cuisine and the magnificent view on downtown Toronto and lake Ontario. The view is truly breathtaking and I sincerely hope that the food is more like the view and less like the décor.

We both order rabbit rillette for the appetizer that arrives on a long narrow dish accompanies by a rainbow of pickled vegetables and herbs and spicy Dijon mustard. The serving is small, but the silky texture of the rillette and the spiciness and zing of the veggies fully compensate for it. The main course is equally delicious! Roasted chicken and Ontario asparagus served together with a mini cornbread is enough to fill you up. Again, the clash or textures makes the dish interesting and enjoyable to the very last bite.

For desert I get my fave - a creamy panna cotta with a crunchy pastry and blueberry compote. It's delicious and light enough for a hot summer afternoon. Ilonka got a berry tart that was great too! We are both full and happy with the meal, but not with the time it takes our server to get each dish and the bill in the end. We wonder if this is a regular thing, or are the servers simply overwhelmed with the Summerlicious crowd. Overall, Canoe is a solid 7 out of 10, with the majority of points lost to the conservative setting and slow service.


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