Sunday, January 13, 2013

Café Boulud

Four Seasons Hotel
60 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, ON M4W 0A4
Tel: (416) 963-6000

It really is a new year for me as I celebrated my birthday last weekend. Level completed and all, I'm moving on to another number (that's all age is ... right?)! To celebrate, my dearest Howard took me to Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud for dinner. At the Four Seasons Hotel, the main lobby also includes D|Bar if one desires to go in for drinks and food in a more casual atmosphere. But since we dressed up and had reservations, we went up to the second level and were greeted by the hostess.

It wasn't a busy night and I was quite pleased with our seats. It was the first seat after the large communal table at the front - look at that gorgeous table in the photo above! Our table was one of the few tables in between the columns - it offered a nice view of the entrance (for people-watching) and some privacy from the sides and back. Best of all, I had a small loveseat all to myself!

The artwork was ... interesting. We were sitting between two pieces, one depicting Michael Jackson, the other was a can of Campbell soup. It was noted on the menu that the art could be bought.

About those menus, our waiter was very hospitable and explained how the menu was laid out. Picture a 4-column, 3-row grid. The four columns are divided into la tradition, classic French cuisine, Daniel Boulud style; la saison, using seasonal ingredients; le potager, mainly vegetarian dishes; and le voyage, a section our waiter described as a place for the chefs to be creative and have a bit of fun. The first row lists the appetizers, the second row is meant for the entrées, and the third are some extra side dishes. We were highly encouraged to mix and match as you don't have to stay within a column of food.

My first pick from the menu was the Seared Albacore Tuna from the saison section. The tuna was paired with winter radish, edamame, a yuzu vinaigrette, and katsuo mirin spice. All great flavours that worked well together, this was a personal favourite of mine.

Howard and I were admiring the light green sauce that was painted onto the plate. At first glance, I thought it was part of the plate's design! But it wasn't, so we started mopping it up with our food.

Howard picked the Nova Scotia Lobster Salad from le voyage for a second appetizer to share. The lettuce was garnished with strips of coconut, crispy fried shallots, chili, a Jalapeño and Lime Gremolata, and underneath, we found a samosa!

I've never tasted lobster like this before. I'm not a huge fan of lobster or crab in general, probably because I've never ate a well-cooked one. This lobster didn't have an overly strong fishy smell or taste, it was - the best way I can describe it - clean. It tasted clean and fresh and it shone on it's own.

The way our waiter was describing this next dish, it was hard to pass up. It was the special of the night which I think they should just put on the menu! The juicy chicken was prepared two ways. You can see the black truffle in the photo where there's a dark patch under the skin of the chicken.

The second, foie gras stuffed in chicken, as seen above in the middle and the chicken on the right. Rich and creamy, this dish was quite the treat. It was a very nice surprise!

This Steak au Poivre is from la tradition and featured a dry-aged Cumbrae strip loin with bone marrow, confit shallot, and pommes Pont Neuf with parsley salad. The flavours of the steak were good, although it wasn't the most tender steak we've had. Personally, the highlight for me were the pommes Pont Neuf! The parsley salad was a little over powering.

And finally, to the best part of any meal - dessert! I tried the Grapefruit Givré, with sesame halva, rose loukoum, grapefruit sorbet, and cotton candy. A givré, I recently learned, is a dessert that consists of sorbet in a frozen fruit shell.

I was instructed to hold the sides of the grapefruit and use my spoon to push everything down in the center. This way I could thoroughly mix and incorporate all of the ingredients.

Howard ordered the Coconut-Roasted Pineapple served with a lime gelée, coconut foam, and banana-passion fruit sorbet.

I didn't even get to try the lime gelée there, it was so good that Howard ate it all! He also raved about the banana-passion fruit sorbet. Luckily, I got to try one of the cake stacks before he consumed them all!

The best treat of the night? These heavenly birthday madeleines, courtesy of the restaurant. They were so addictive to eat, wrapped in a napkin, they were warm, soft, chewy, and not too sweet. After all the food we ate, I thought we would have to pack these, but nope, I polished them off with finesse.

4 comments:

  1. Oh wow - lovely meal and desserts! Those madelines are an amazing touch. Happy Birthday Sylvia!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. the chicken two ways looks divine!! :D

    ReplyDelete

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