Sunday, February 13, 2011

La Chaine Des Rotisseurs at Cava Resto, Toronto

It is always a great comfort for me to return to food inspired by a gent I consider one of Canada's great chefs, Chris Macdonald and his extremely able partner, the executive chef of Cava, Doug Penfold. The excuse this time was a dinner organized by my confreres in La Chaine des Rotisseurs.

We began with duck thuringer sausage with a fig tapenade and a pincho (pinxto) of sea urchin with lardo and spicy pickled cabbage. These apps clearly demonstrate the originality and creativity of these chefs, apps that are inspired by the chef's travels and well grounded knowledge of cuisine. The duck sausage was nicely gamey, well flavoured and the sweet aspects of the fig were such a good complement. I have enjoyed sea urchin with lardo in 2 of New York's great restos, but this execution was my favourite. Both the lardo and sea urchin have creamy qualities, but different textures and the more savoury lardo is an interesting match for the urchin's intense flavours of the sea. The pickled cabbage set both off both of these ingredients so well.

Our first course was salt cod composition, salt cod carpaccio with garlic chips and pequillo peppers, salt cod custard topped with chopped chives and caviar and a deep fried, Fanny Bay oyster Wrapped with cod puree and a bread crumb crust on a bed of sauteed leeks. And what a composition this was! 

Next, we were served Lois Lake steelhead salmon with jamon iberico. The fish, was perfectly cooked medium rare with a very delectable and crispy skin, was placed on the ham and a wilted purple cabbage slaw and all surrounded by a lovely beurre blanc.

The main was milk braised Texas red wattle pork loin with roasted Kawartha root vegetables with a nutmeg flavoured cream sauce. This was truly delicious pork, rounded, complex, strong pork flavours with a creamy textured fat that demanded to be eaten despite one's elevated cholesterol issues (I just had a bight!).

We were then presented with a selection of Spanish and French cheeses, courtesy of the exceptional purveyor, The Cheese Boutique. They were in wonderful condition and perfectly ready to be enjoyed at their best.

Creamy ash rind cheese from the Loire valley.

A fabulous french cow and goat's milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves and ideazabel, a firm smoked, unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese.

The cheeses were enjoyed with perfectly matched traditional Spanish quince jelly and house made fig nut "cookies".

Our dessert was an exceptional milk chocolate bergamot bombe topped with a wonderful dark chocolate croqueta. 

Cava Restaurant
1560 Yonge St (just north of St. Clair)
Toronto, ON

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