Monday, May 28, 2012

Edulis, Toronto, A Noteworthy Canadian Resto

I have eaten twice within a week (exceptionally rare for me) at Edulis and I must say that those 2 meals have been among the most satisfying restaurant meals I have eaten in Canada. This is a cuisine for those who truly enjoy eating, that speaks to your soul, representative of farm and sea, crafted in a humble, respectful, knowledgable way. To me, this chef speaks with the vernacular of Rene Redzepi, of Noma, but with no pretensions at establishing a great resto (not that Rene is pretentious, he is definitely not). The chef's pleasure is to just cook ingredients he thinks are special (and he has such good taste .....not a pun on words) in a way that brings out their wonderful natural flavours, complementing them with the simplest seasonal elements. This is a resto you can go to for a simple roast chicken, BUT WHAT A CHICKEN!! The front of house partner Toby Nemuth and partner/ chef Mike Caballo show their conviviality and passion in every small thing they do for their clients. Enjoy how this meal unfolds. My food loving friends and I scooped the menu, which changes frequently!

We began with complementary olives with anchovy, olive oil and gundilla peppers, a very typical Basque presentation.

Green and white asparagus, pickled red onion, albacore tuna, lightly smoked in house, and arugula, all dressed with a vinaigrette sauce.  

Fresh, house smoke herring, and folks, it does not get better than this (and I have tasted herring in and out of season in every Scandinavian country, England and France). This is a herring version of what we understand of smoked salmon which is essentially mildly salted and smoked raw salmon. This is not brined herring that is readily available in jars. This has the unmuted flavours of the raw fish all dressed with sunflower oil with layers of razor- thin sliced, multicoloured heirloom carrots, and onions. The herring is accompanied by a small cast iron pot filled with warm potatoes dressed with a dijonaise sauce. These potatoes are the perfect complement for this dish. I could have made a meal of the herring and potatoes alone, accompanied by the very good house made red fife bread.

Spring onions with crispy porcini tempura, foie gras torchon with a pine nut vinaigrette and burdock reduction. These ingredients produced such a wonderful contrasting mouth feel between the silken texture of the rich foie gras and the crunchy elements of the porcini. The burdock reduction brought an almost beefy flavour to the dish.

Spot prawn ceviche, seasoned lightly with Peruvian hot pepper and bathed with a Spanish white gazpacho (sherry vinaigrette almond sauce). 

Sweetbreads and melted onions with chive tops, then a warm stinging nettle broth is poured over all. A remarkable combination of subtle flavours. 

House smoked bacon, chick peas and cock's combs with "bravas" sauce, a Spanish, mildly spicy sauce classically made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, paprika and vinegar. A hearty, earthy farmer's dish.

Clams, pig jowls cured with bonito with wild leek greens. Bravo!!

Squid, grilled over charcoal, with onions and herbed bread crumbs. You have never had such perfectly cooked fresh, silky-soft squid, except perhaps at a rare, very good Spanish resto.

The dish below was only offered on my second visit, St Canut, milk fed, cream finished pork, from Quebec, served as Chuletillas, (a grilled chop) with spring garlic and crisp roast fingerlings. Such a simple, beautifully flavoured dish, but so satisfying.

And for me, the piece de resistance, which must be ordered in advance when you place your reservation, hay baked chantecler rouge chicken, produced in Quebec, Canada's answer to poulet de Bresse. The chicken was perfectly cooked, beautifully juicy with the perfection of texture created by cooking "a point"!

We ordered 2 desserts and I highly recommend both if they are still on the menu when you go. The photo below is the coldfoot flower and green almond ice cream with stewed rhubarb and olive oil. The flower has a subtle mellon like flavour. What a great refreshing dish. The second dessert (no photo) was a baba au rum cake with Chantilly cream and a reduced Appleton reserve rum syrup. This was DEVOURED quickly!

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