Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Atlantic, Toronto: Mastery of a Symphonic Range of Flavours

I delight in revisiting Atlantic restaurant, from time to time, to enjoy chef Nathan Isberg's command of a symphonic range of intriguing flavours that are not a part of the routine, typical food lexicon. The following images are from 3 different dinner events I enjoyed at Atlantic. The range of dishes presented is a compendium of my impressions of a chef not noticed enough in this fair city. Chef Isberg's reptoire of ideas is truly extensive. Atlantic should be on any local food lover or visitor's map of the best restaurants in Toronto.

White bean soup with wild onion seeds and shaved Alba white truffle.

Beets cooked in alfalfa hay with wild pear, hazelnut oil and curry béarnaise. The mild smoky flavour imbued by the hay and the curry spice were a flattering contrast for the sweet flavours of the beets and the pear.

Cedar cured, raw coho salmon, sea buckthorn berry, fennel fronds, yuzu juice and green tomatoes.

Butternut and acorn squash, sage fritters, nettle and crispy fried sage leaves with extraordinarily delicate, egg-free tortelloni. Certainly among the best pasta experiences that I have enjoyed in Toronto. Ground pepper flavour haunted the background.

Yesterday's caught, Ling cod, potato noodles, lemon grass and mustard greens.

Dehydrated blueberry in powder form, chickweed, caramelized honey, wild garlic, charred shimeji mushrooms, roasted black radish, all served with sliced, juicy, roasted partridge.

Grilled fresh British Colombia sardine with a barely poached, perhaps sous vided egg.

Halibut cheeks brussel sprouts, tobacco junket, whiskey and sliced carrots

Scandinavian "filmjok", praline (hazelnuts, puffed rice, apricot kernels) apricot hazelnuts. hazelnut oil, wild honey and wild apple mousse. A delightful finish.

Dinner for The International Wine and Food Society.

Fried crickets appetizer.

Port, beet and duck parfait with bread crisps.

Pumpkin, lobster, pickled squash and apricot kernel and flax. (no photo). The apricot kernels and pickled squash provided innovative and highly complementary flavours.

White soy, raw bream, kombucha and flowers. Exceptionally fresh fish with an interesting combination of flavours.

Green apple, celery, salsa verde, pistachio and yogurt. A great combination of very clean, palate cleansing, refreshing flavours.

Mustard green dumplings, cedar roasted kale chips, cedar, cauliflower and a duck egg yolk. All of the green flavours went so well with the rich yolk and cauliflower.

Blueberry, elderberry gelee, blue corn morcilla (blood sausage) and blue polenta crisp. Morcilla is tricky to match with counterpoint flavours and these hit the mark perfectly.

Black chickpeas, mushrooms, fire roasted veg with a slightly smokey flavour, black walnuts, poached rabbit and an amontillado sherry sauce. Wow! Another amazing combination of flavours and textures.

Filmjok (scandinavian sour milk.....somewhat like a buttermilk), hazelnuts, pear and port, sumac and grape whey soda.

Dinner for 4 Lover's of Good Food

Fluke parfait, arugula, fluke tartare, bergamot, ume-su, oyster, hazelnuts, watermelon radishes

Fresh feta, sauerkraut, licorice, chanterelle mushrooms, rye berries and mustard greens.

Mackerel cured in mustard and wine lees, mustard flowers, grapes, carp brasaola, crushed truffle and oxidized wine. Another amazing experience of incredibly harmonious exotic flavours. 

Quail cooked in rosemary, quail egg parcels and kale.

Sauteed trout with shaved carrots and hazelnut bearnaise.

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