ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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Monday, S. and I went out to Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro for a very nice dinner. The food is North American aboriginal-inspired nouvelle cuisine, and the atmosphere is warm but not rustic. Although you likely wouldn't know it from our selections, they do have vegetarian dishes, including an appetizer they've aptly named "poor hunter's purse," consisting of "chive crepes with mushroom ragout on a bed of baby spinach and balsamic drizzle."

We started by sharing a simple mixed greens salad, but with a light and sweet crowberry tea and lemon vinaigrette. For appetizers, S. had the rabbit dumplings, which were very enjoyable, but are not for someone who doesn't like the taste of game meats, and I had the maple-cured (like a ham) Canada goose, which resembles bacon but has the characteristic taste of waterfowl instead of pork (also very good; in fact, just take that for granted about everything mentioned). The dumplings came with a mint and cucumber salad and honey mustard, which moderated the gaminess of the meat; the goose came toped with a gren bean salad and almond slivers, which provided some texture for the rather limp rashers of goose "ham".

For the main courses, S. had the caribou medallions, which came on a bed of risotto with mushrooms and barley, and with a pea puree coulis and a red wine and port glaze. Caribou is always a rich, flavorful, tender favorite, and this was no exception; she wasn't as thrilled with the pea puree, but this was more a matter of preference than quality. I ordered the Navajo lamb platter, which included chops, ribs, and shank, done each their own way. This all came on a bed of citrus quinoa, which was new to me and had a very pleasant taste which offset the lamb's richness well, and very thin slices of lightly cooked cucumber. The lamb was excellent all three ways, but this was not a lean meal, especially the ribs. S. and I both ordered our meat (well, it only mattered for her caribou and my chops) medium rare, as was recommended, and we were quite happy with the outcome; be aware, however, that they follow the French meanings of the terms, so what we were served would be called "rare" at most in many other restaurants.

For drinks, an Inuit crowberry "mar'tea'ni" was first; this concoction involved vodka (I think), lemon juice, creme de menthe, and a crowberry teabag. Very fresh, clear taste, with a delicate balance of sweet against the tea's bitter and the lemon's sour. After that, some wine: Sweetgrass cabarnet, a wine specially made for them down in Southern Ontario. Nice body and finish, but maybe a little young for my taste; on the other hand, I'm no expert.

Dessert was just right to satisfy our appetites: S. had the butter tart, and I had the chocolate ice cream cheesecake (the bread pudding having run out). The maple pecan ice cream with the butter tart was exactly what S. hoped for, and the tart itself was smooth and flaky in all the right places. The cheesecake was an ideal balance of the chocolate taste from the ice cream and the real cheesecake taste from, well, the cheesecake, all over a thin crumbly base.

S. had mentioned that I seemed very relaxed and upbeat after CanGames, and maybe that affected how I came across; in any event, the waitress was rather obviously more than casually interested in me, which S. and I found amusingly charming. S.'s comment was that she seemed smitten in a rather innocent way, and I have to agree. She wasn't pushy, just... well, giggly and almost awkwardly flirty, kind of like the stereotypical schoolgirl. Rather flattering, really: I'm not accustomed to being quite so obviously flirted at, and of course, S.'s reaction helped.

I heartily recommend the place, with the caveat that you should expect to spend a fair bit of money if you go. Reservations (no jokes about that, please) are a good idea. It's definitely on our short list of favorite high-ticket restaurants; hopefully, we'll find an excuse to go back soon. Their spring menu ends at the end of June, and there are things we both want to try!
Tags: food, life
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