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Ontario (inc. Toronto) New Year's Eve

Rain - New Year's Eve (long review)

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Rain - New Year's Eve (long review)

C. Au | Jan 2, 2006 12:37 AM

Myself, my SO, and another couple went to Rain for their special New Year's Eve tasting menu. This was our first time at Rain, and it was quite a good experience in my opinion.

We arrived about half an hour early for our 9:30PM seating, but we were seated promptly. The restaurant wasn't very crowded at all at the time, probably less than half full but it's not a large restaurant after all. I think this is key to their wonderful service not having too many customers to serve so that they can pay more attention.

As we settled down in our seats our server came and explained how the tasting menu would work (soup appetizer, two fish courses, two heavier meat courses, and dessert) and offered us the wine list and drink menus as well as asking us whether we preferred still or sparkling water.

Our drinks arrived a short time after ordering and our first course arrived after a short wait. Enough time for us to chat about our drinks, I had ordered the Lychee Colada, and for the servers to set us up for our first course. Service was very prompt, my friend spilled her drink on the table cloth and the server quickly changed it for her along with checking that our water glasses were always filled and asking us (unobtrusively) whether we'd like more drinks. Each course was explained to us by the servers, although somtimes a bit difficult to remember, but they were always willing to answer questions and make recommendations if asked.

The first course was a pork soup, and pork hock with a slightly sweet mustard sauce. It was quite good, but I found the soup to be a bit too salty for my taste. The flavours were distinctly Asian, as Rain is known as an Asian Fusion type restaurant. I wasn't too impressed with the soup though because it wasn't too out of the ordinary from the soups that are made at good Chinese restaurants. But it was nice all the same. The pork hocks were quite small portioned, but the seasoning and the mustard added perfectly to the flavour. It wasn't too greasy or tough as they can get when over done.

Second course was a hawaiian game fish (I can't remember what it was called) which was grilled and flavoured with a creme brulee coating, and a mango salad with rice noodles I believe. The fish was wonderful!! The flavours were just perfect to me and the texture of the fish was smooth and silky. The sweet and salty flavours intermingled perfectly, and the crisp sugary coating added an interesting touch to the fish. The sour flavour of the mango salad was perfect to refresh the palette in preparation for the next course.

Black cod sizzling on a heated stone was our next fish course. I believe it was a type of miso teriyaki sauce that coated the cod, and the heated rock ensured that the fish was piping hot with a crisp bottom. This was also very nice. The fish pretty much melted in your mouth. There were two types of seaweed that accompanied the fish as well, and a warm miso sake in a cucumber cup to cleanse the palette. I really remember the texture and flavour of this fish very well. As well as the unique way it was served.

The fourth course was pork belly with dried shredded pork on top, ostrich on a slice of beet with lap cheung flavouring, and a sweet rice ball coated with panko and with red beans inside. I really liked the pork belly, very soft and mildly flavoured. My SO thought it was a bit funny since we had just eaten something pretty much the same during the Winter Solstice dinner on the 22nd of December. The ostrich was very tender, the sauce accompanying it was sweet and salty at the same time. I've had ostrich before, but it typically wasn't as tender as when were were served it at Rain. The rice ball was a bit of a disappointment though. The flavours a bit strange to us. Sweet as well as the roasted seasame flavour reminded us of a Chinese dessert, but with the salty flavour we didn't really know what to make of it. It was definitely different.

The final of the savoury courses was a veal bulgogi on top of a daikon cup filled with what seemed like pork and tofu. The veal was medium rare, sliced quite thinly. The flavour was just like Korean BBQ ribs. There was a topping of chilli hay on the veal, which was very spicy! The kimchi side was also extremely spicy. The daikon had been soaked in vinegar and sugar a very common treat for Asian to have to refresh the palette, also one of my favourite snacks. I'm really glad that this was our last main dish, because at this point I was already very full. The portions looked very small, but the portions were enough to fill all of us. However the portions do seem quite small.

Two different dessert platters at the end, each couple had one of each so that we could sample all the desserts. I didn't find these to be out of the ordinary. One platter was chocolate theme, hot cocoa flavoured with anise...very, very rich. A banana sorbet on top of a chocolate cookie, I like the sorbet, but the cookie wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Which chocolate ganache, which looked like a dollop of whipped marshmallow; and a toasted marshmallow on a gramham type cookie. The marshmallow had that distinct gassy burnt flavour from the torch which I didn't like at all.

The other platter had a pecan tart square, which was good but nothing special; cranberry soup with sour cream topping, which I didn't like much either; fried apple slices coated with panko; and a vanilla cream on top of a thin caramel wafer which was quite good. Champange was served just before the countdown, as by the time we finished our meal it was almost midnight.

Rain definitely left a good impression on me, but it is not a place that I will go to often because the price is quite high compared to what you are getting. The total for four of us came to over $800 including taxes and tip. The service is excellent, food presentation is beautiful, and the food itself is interesting. A very good experience in the end!

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