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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Black Hoof :: Charcuterie Dinner Love, Round 2

Here we go again. Round 2...oink! (Click here for Round 1)

Black Hoof, Round 2 of 2
Verdict: Go, but stick with the menu. Special was awful.
Meal: Dinner

Price: $40-$50 + tax & tip
Location: 928 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Note: Hoof Cafe is on vacation Sept 2, Black Hoof until Sept 9

Dinner menu, Cocktail list, & Bar

I enjoyed the bright back patio while perusing the menu. Memories of past favourites and anticipation of new dishes was making my mouth water. What to order, what to order? I struggled to make a decision as the pig snootily glared at me from the corner of his eye.
Stop judging me! I have soccer playoffs, I need protein!

Pippi Longstocking
As I enjoyed last visits Pink Elephant, I was eager to try another cocktail. The waitress suggested a Pippi Longstocking for my insatiable sweet tooth, and I am definitely glad that I heeded her advice! Long pepper rum, strawberry, and lime - definitely a good way to start the evening.
Violet Gin Sour

Also ordered was the Violet Gin Sour, which is gin, violet syrup, lime, & egg white. Curious about the egg white, I took a sip and found that it had a surprisingly pleasant consistency. It's too bad Rocky never thought to mix gin in his post-workout drinks. Might have made training and Apollo Creed's pummelling a little more bearable.

I love their cocktails - they're creative, well-done, alcoholically generous (which they ought to be for $9-$13) with thoughtful presentation. Kudos to the bar. I would happily stop by for a drink with a friend, if I could resist the temptation of ordering something...fat chance. Bad pun intended.

Anyways, as this is my second Black Hoof review (and third Hoof run) let's just move onto the food pr0n:

Crispy Pig Ear Salad
Strips of breaded & deep-fried pig ears over radishes, carrots, edible flowers with a lime buttermilk dressing

My dog never had pig ears quite like this
I can't explain why I was so eager to try pig ears. After years of watching my dog chew on them, you would think that I would develop an aversion & associate them with pet food. I think the word crispy is what drew me in!

I liked the pig ears, but I found the dressing too buttery and generous on the salad. As someone who prefers light, acidic dressing (or none at all with the right greens!) it was unappetizing. However, I was at the Black Hoof so this was to be expected.

The pig ears were crispy as advertised, and full of fatty-flavour with each bite. A dining companion claims that Buca does a better version...Anyone up for a pig-ear appetizer run? Given their delicious pizza and pastas, I would not be surprised if their pig ears are as good as he claims.

Fluke Crudo
Fluke along with charred fava beans, avocado cream, sliced chili, pancetta, herbs & cilantro dressing.
I loved the presentation of this plate! I knew to expect fish, but perhaps after associating Hoof with vivid & meaty dishes, the bright, pretty dish was a pleasant change. I really liked the avocado cream and fava beans. A little heavy on the dressing (but again, it's Hoof!) but the combination of the sliced chili & cilantro was delightful with the fish.

Love the plating :)

N'Duja & Corn Tagliatelle
House tagliatelle noodles with charred corn, charred cherry tomatoes, and the n'duja which is a spicy calabrese salami melted into the pan. Garnished with a green onion salad on top.
Mmm. I realy enjoyed this - house pasta was al dente and the creamy sauce blended very well with the charred corn and tomatoes. I still have trouble pronouncing it, but the n'duja was quite tasty with a bit of heat and I would happily order this dish again. Creamy, spicy, & corny goodness. I love sweet corn!

This year's Ontario corn has been delicious. If you haven't tried it, run to the market and grab some. Not your supermarket but an actual market. Soak it in water for 20 minutes then pop them in the oven, husks and all, for 25-30 minutes. DO IT!

Pork Belly, Squid,& Melon
Baby squid, Berkshire pork belly & chunks of melon in a watermelon glaze with turmeric, cumin. Flaxseed, Vietnamese cilantro, mint, & basil also riddle this succulent dish.

Who can resist the call of pork belly? Interested in the melon-squid-belly combination, this was a must-try. While the pork belly and the squid were both well done and delicious, the pairing did not do much for each other. They were enjoyed separately with the watermelon glaze. I must have gotten a good chunk of watermelon, as a dining partner-in-crime said she didn't taste the melon but I certainly did. As usual, the pork belly made me pause to fully enjoy the flavour. So decadent and perfectly pan-cooked. 
The cumin stood out, and the next time I make pork belly it'll be a definite addition...and an AED.

Hello, we meet again

Similar to last time, this platter was filled with goodies like summer sausage, duck liver pate, horse salami, a terrine of foie gras & pistachio...always a great sampling at the Black Hoof.

Raw Horse Sammy
Hello, we meet again pt. 2

You know I like it. Moving on.

Veggies, veggies
Charcuterie-ready, ready
For dessert, the peach meringue chili cake sounded absolutely mouth-watering. However, the waitress apologized as she forgot to mention that they had a house special that night: Calf's Brain Ravioli. I struggled with this dilemma: Do I order cake or calf's brain? Never having tried brain before, but only having enough beats in my heart left for one more dish...I chose the ravioli.  

...Bad move.

Calf's Brain Ravioli
House ravioli in sage, brown sugar, & butter sauce with Parmesan shavings actually happened - the Hoof served me something that made me frown. Not shrug, not pause to contemplate, but a full-blown, lower-lip-stuck-out, eyebrows-furrowed, childish pout. It was an oily mess, and I was very glum as a result. From the poor presentation, meagre calf brain filling, blah pasta, and too-sharp cheese I reluctantly ate all 5 raviolis wondering why I was even bothering with each bite. It was cooked al dente, just like the tasty tagliatelle, but I don't think that that is the best way to cook ravioli.

I tried to brighten my mood by noting the fun brain-like presentation of each ravioli, but it simply did not compensate. Sigh. A fellow diner sampled a bit of my dish and agreed that it was simply not good. Darn it. Now that I polished off 5 terrible raviolis, there are three things left on my plate:

Try as I might, I could not
make this look appetizing
1. Forgive the Hoof
2. Try that delicious sounding peach meringue chili cake
3. Need to taste what a good calf brain dish should be like

#1 and #2 are easy enough - memories of tongue and horse sammies and Hoof Cafe's yummy brunch mask that of the ravioli so I'll happily return for dessert. #3 will be tricky.

Patterned candle-holders in paper bags glew as the night moved on

The next day, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this across the street. It's now a daily reminder of my extreme-Hoofing: 
Yes. Bacon-I-am.

Black Hoof, Round 2 of 2
Verdict: Go, but stick with the menu. Special was awful.
Meal: Dinner

Price: $40-$50 + tax & tip
Location: 928 Dundas Street West, Toronto

First Review...
Black Hoof, Round 1 of 2
Verdict: Go! Outstanding quality, service,& food.
Meal: Dinner
Price: $40-$50 + tax & tip
Location: 928 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Also check out their sister restaurant...
Hoof Cafe
Verdict:  Go! Run there! NOW! Best meal yet...
Meal: Brunch
Price: $20-$30 + tax & tip
Location: 923 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Black Hoof on Urbanspoon


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