Friday, March 23, 2012

Enoteca Sociale, Toronto

This was my first visit to this restaurant in quite some time. I have been frequently out of the country and only here for short intervals. Invariably when I have tried to reserve this ever popular resto, it was booked. Grant van Gameren, the former chef of the popular Black Hoof restaurant is now the resident chef.

We began with a very good puree of cabbage soup, accompanied by grilled sausage (on a separate plate) with wonderful rosemary black pepper crostado (I could have had these wonderful toasts throughout the meal. What great flavour and texture). Loved this earthy dish, a perfect dish for the winter blahs.

I request roasted marrow bone as an app as I saw marrow bones on the menu in another dish. The chef very kindly agreed to satisfy my craving and I was not disappointed. Perfectly cooked bone marrow accompanied by the wonderful crostado!

Baked Kale salad, persimmon, king mushrooms, faro and pine nuts. Bright earthy flavours and for me a perfect salad that is comfort food.

Grilled pork shoulder with roasted parsnip and braised porcini emulsion. This was another dish that hit the spot with wonderful complementary and belly satisfying flavours.

Spaghetti cacio et pepe (no photo). This dish was a bit of a disappointment. The last time I had it here, it was an exceptional rendition, as good as I have enjoyed anywhere, the sauce rich and thick with the egg and cheese and redolent of the intense flavour of good ground pepper. This time, I found the sauce rather uninteresting and thin, lacking in flavour. The pasta itself was fine……but, I’m not Italian. For me, it’s all about the sauce.

Spaghetti carbonara, smoked king crab and house made guanciale. Good idea, but the flavour, in particular, did not work for me, texture of the crab (which was too fibrous rather than fleshy) did not work with the dish and the smoky flavour was lost. In my opinion, this dish can only work with very fresh crab meat, cooked perfectly.

Rutabaga mezzaluna with pickled black trumpet mushrooms and lemon, maple butter. The pasta was perfect, delicate and not too thick. The sweet flavour of the rutabaga filling went so well with the mushrooms and butter. This was a very good dish, one of my favourite courses of the night.

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