Sunday, October 26, 2014

KYOZON part deux

I was re-invited to try Kyozon 'for real' since the opening in September. Obviously, openings are mostly grandiose with a full house (and then some), a dj and lots and lots of staff.

This time, we got there for an early dinner with the intention of trying dishes I hadn't eaten when I had gone two weeks prior. We were warmly welcomed in an almost empty restaurant. What a difference! Our waiter came to take our order and made some nice suggestions. We ended up getting four entrées (yes, we are pigs) and we were to share the duck and all its fixings as a main. What a treat this was going to be! Oh, we also had a cocktail on the house and then got a couple more glasses of wine for our meal.

Leeeeeet's do it!

The drink: 6 May 2014. Hennesy very special, bergamot liquor, palm sugar, kumquats, mangosteen, fresh mint. Man, talk about a fresh tasting cocktail! It was very citrusy, almost too much. It hit all the right tastebuds.

The calamari were a disappointment.  When I ate them at the opening, they were perfect but when they arrived at our table this time, they were cold. Not like 'oh, they must have been hot in the kitchen' but more like 'oh, they must have been cold for a while'. They were good the first time and oh-so-unappreciated the second time.

Crab and chicken Sui Mai with smoked chili jam. I found them full of flavor, not too spicy, not too mellow. The sides were a bit on the hard...side. My dining partner wasn't as fond of them as I was. Which turned out to be good for me because I got to eat three quarters of the dish. Hehehe!

Beef teriyaki on skewers. They were a bit hard to chew but they still tasted great. Again, they were a bit on the cold side. I've said it and I'll say it again, dishes that are meant to be served hot should be on hot plates! The pickled veggies were great, with just the right amount of vinegar. This finished off the dish nicely.

Baby pork spareribs with black bean sauce. Holy bejesus this was good. OH-so good. Food orgasm good, I'm not even kidding!  The meat was fall-off-the-bone goodness and the seasoning on the veggies was just right. Not too salty but not bland either. The black bean sauce was wonderful and added just what was needed to the dish. I have to say, next time I make ribs (and I'm oh-so-due), I'm making a black bean sauce. To tell you how good this was, we both gave it an 11 (on 10, of course).

Kyozon's take on Peking duck. THIS was a winner.  The duck was cooked to perfection aka on the rare side and the little pancakes were a great vessel but were a tad on the cold side (I think they are having a problem in the temperature department). There were two sauces; hoisin, which I looooove, and prune, which could have been a tad sweeter. This was accompanied by some greens, some pickled veggies, coriander and mint. Mmmmm... put all of that in that little pancake and it's the perfect mix of sweet and sour! I pretty much devoured this.

We were very full after all these dishes but were convinced to eat desert. We had the brownie, which always seems like a good idea! The brownie was a bit on the hard and dry side but mixed with whipped cream, well everything is better with whipped cream. The cream itself was supposed to be infused with green tea but we didn't really detect it. 

Service was wonderful throughout the meal. Our waiter was more than present and we got visits from pretty much everyone that was working there, including the owners. One of them actually sat down with us to discuss the dishes. That was pretty cool. The ambiance at first was quite non existent but at around 7, it began to fill up so there was a good vibe in the house. We got the dishes in a timely manner, except for desert, which took quite a while. Anyhoot, courteousness  was all around and well appreciated. 

And now, the scores!

Food: an average of 7,5
Service: 9,5

A great new restaurant with very affordable dishes! I would definitely go back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Labarake-Caserne à manger

I was invited to try the new fall menu at Labarake so I decided to bring someone that would know what he's talking about: ze chef at Sushi Taxi, Phil.

Labarake is located in an old firehouse in the Shop Angus. So, pretty much far from everything! 

We were invited for a 5 à 7 ... although without actually knowing it. It's a good thing we got there early as to take advantage of everything we could within that time period! Anyhoot, this place is kind of family oriented, kind of a happenin' bar, kind of a new business type people place. It's very nice to get a whole view of the restaurant when you arrive. Brick walls, industrial lighting and lots of wood made it look very homey and inviting.

We sat at the bar to, you know, be closer to the drinks and all! The owner of the resto came and said hello and explained the history of the building which was nice to know and then he left....and I was like, wait, what's the deal here? Even the waiters and the bartenders weren't aware of what bloggers were getting: food from the menu? drinks? whatwhat? Turns out, and we discovered this when we were about to order our food, that waiters were to go around with bite size versions of their popular dishes. Mmmmkay. But first, we needed some drinks!

There were 4 ceasars on the menu, all of them quite original so I was excited to taste 'em! I picked the Bloody BBQ first: whisky, steak spices, liquid smoke, clamato. All I's gotta say is YUM-MY! I could have easily chugged this in less than a minute but I'm a lady after all! Well, sometimes :) It was like I had ribs in my mouth. OH YES. And y'all know how much I like my ribs! Oh, and lots of alcohol It was refreshing and all the right spices were in there. Nothing bad about this. At all.

Second ceasar was the Bloody Carnivore: cognac, veal stock, clamato, steak spices, bacon and dried beef. The veal stock made it a tad too salty and it was a biiiiit unpleasant to see little bits of fat swimming in my drink. But the rest was damn good.

Third ceasar was the Bloody Marin, or the Sea salt Bloody if you will. It was accompanied by a lovely oyster (yes, I am now an oyster fan. Can't get enough.). There was nothing to write home about the ceasar. Very basic. Maybe it's because it was my third one of the evening!

OK, food, shall we?

Beef and salmon tartare. The beef tartare was classic with a bit of mustard and shallots. So, basically, your classic beef tartare but with a bigger, quite unpleasant cut. The salmon tartare was a tad too creamy and the pomegranate pieces were too present and got stuck in my teeth. So it was a miss right there.

Scallop wrapped with Spanish ham. THIS was a hit. A total hit! With that smooth cauliflower puree, it just melted in your mouth. All the flavours just blended together to make a great dish. Lovely, really!

Beef cheek with parsnip puree. This was greatness. The puree could not have been smoother and the beef was well cooked and not too salty. Very yummy. That's the technical term, of course!

Clafoutis. Good but not great. Not too sweet and very moist.

Then, there was the 'desert shooter'. Bailey's with some cold coffee. This was good even if I despise coffee. And since we weren't aware that this ended at 7PM, when the dude said 'a last shot?', I was just sad I wasn't going to taste the last of the four ceasars!

Service was very attentive, they even came back and offered us seconds. And always with a smile :) It was a new menu so there was some confusion with the waiters and the bartenders but that was to be expected.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8

To be honest, I'm not going back simply because it's too damn far but it is worth a try!

ps: My mom, who is forever on the look out of thangs that might interest me, found an article in I believe Chatelaine (or Coup de Pouce?) that says that Labarake is one of the restaurants to absolutely visit in MTL.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Room Service

I was invited to try this new delivery service called Room Service. Their thang is that they literally  look like room service: professionalism and suit + tie included! I'll try anything once so I told the girl who sent me the email to surprise me and my friend that was to come eat dinner with me.

So the little dude got here and just gave us the food and that was it... Last time I got an invite from a delivery service, the owner came and explained the food (and there was enough for 5 people!) and the company, etc. This time; nada! I would have loved a brochure or something. SOMETHING!

Anyhoot, we got the following: butter chicken, kale salad, somewhat of a fruity arabic drink, Chips Ahoy milkshake and a cupcake. 

Let's talk.

First, there was the kale salad. There was a creamy vinaigrette, which at first seemed really nice and tasty but then became too much.... There was just...too much of it in there. Plus, the kale wasn't cut at all so you'd end up eating a whole leaf at once. Isn't the rule to make bite size pieces? I wasn't crazy about the fact that the avocado, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and sesame bites were just put on top of the salad. The avocado wasn't nearly as ripe as it should have been and the carrots and tomatoes were pretty blend. The radishes gave a nice kick to it but it was a bit like 'too little too late'.

Butter chicken. Well, ok... it was about 15% butter chicken. Basically, if you didn't tell me what it was, I would not have known. The rice was well cooked (no biggie there) and the chicken was nice and moist with a creamy sauce. But it was not butter chicken. Girl (or boy), if you advertize butter chicken, I want ze butter chicken!!!

The Chips Ahoy milkshake was nice and silky but it was so sweet, I think I automatically got a cavity.

This drink was OK but way too apple-y for my taste. What? I'm difficult!

I love D Liche! I think it's great that they've partnered up with Room Service. But this specific cupcake was so rich and thick it almost became unpleasant to eat it :(
And now, the score!
Food: 5
I was disappointed by the fact that food for only one person arrived and I was disappointed with many flavour choices. I'm quite positive I won't be ordering from them in the near (or far) future.

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