Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ursa Restaurant, Toronto.

Chef/co-owner, Jacob Sharkey Pierce, has a way with bright, clean flavours and lovely, appealing presentations on the plate. His unique healthy food perspective is brought to bear on a cuisine that well represents both contemporary rustic and modern evolutions in restaurant food. His insight and techniques make him stand out in this regard.

Mushroom broth with mildly smoked and grilled wild mushrooms, delicate chestnut agnolotti, all in a complex tasting kambucha-sherry broth.

White tail deer tartar with 2 slabs of a firm, but creamy textured, blueberry cured fois gras, scattered micro-greens and Icelandic moss. This is good tartar, clean tasting with interesting and complimentary flavours.

Hamachi tartar: sliced yellowtail, house made miso, preserved lemon, shiso leaf and kumquats.

Winter roots: raw, dried, preserved, all dressed with a walnut vinaigrette and house made kefir below on the plate. An incredible range of beautifully presented ingredients in a dish based on flowers, herbs, leaves and veg such as pickled radish, carrots celery hearts, candy cane beets, fennel fronds, jerusalem artichokes and misc. leaves. Very "healthy" selection.

Wild, line caught Haida Gwai halibut with a puree of northern white beans, crispy cauliflower and almonds. Leaves of new baby ramps add a delightlful, sharp counterpoint to the ingredients on the plate.

Niagara pork loin, whey brined 27 hours, cooked sous vide 8hrs, then pan sauteed with apple cider glazed pork belly, lentils, kale, jerusalem artichoke puree and bulberry mustard. The delicious favour of the beautifully pink loin are truly well appreciated considering the lovely tenderness of the meat.

Deconstructed lemon meringue pie and cookies. Yuzu lemon curd, blueberry preserve, meringue, spruce caramel and duck fat sable cookies.

“Milk and honey” with pomegranate, dehydrated grapes. House made sweet ricotta, which I really enjoyed, mini bottles of "milk" which contain whey (don't know what this added to the dish, except a sense of humour and a touch of "health"), rosewood honeycomb, fragrant leatherwood honey, bee pollen, pear and spelt rye. 

Raw dark chocolate as rich tasting mousse-like cake, with pumpkin kefir puree, pumpkin and hibiscus liquid. I really enjoyed the pairing of dark chocolate and pumpkin.

White basmati rice tuile with tart anuka pickled root veg accompanied by powdered rice bran, alfalfa and brown sugar for dipping.

You might feel healthy afterwards. You will certainly be satisfied. Worth a journey not only for the good food but to experience this chef’s perspective on how healthy cuisine fits in with contemporary cooking.

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