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These days, when eating out and taking in certain fine-dining experiences, it would be hard pressed NOT to encounter cooking that had been infused with some form of fusion approach. Culinary landscape once dominated by main stream Chinese, French and Italian cuisines have now been joined by other popular, ethnic aspirants such as Spanish, Scandinavian, Japanese, Peruvian, Thai……etc.
In the hands of creative, talented chefs and their skilled and competent kitchen teams, thoughtful permutation and combination of some of these ethnic components very often resulted in dazzling and innovative dishes featuring exotic and delicious taste and intriguing textural profile.
At “FRILU”, Chef/Owner Troiano, together with his Sous Chef Sakata, have managed to successfully incorporate their knowledge of Nordic, Japanese and French cooking techniques and ingredients into the restaurant’s periodically changing tasting menu. The outcome is the emergence of some unexpected and striking creations from the back-of-the-house.
After thoroughly enjoyed their ‘Summer theme’ Omakase menu - ‘Warm Nights, Calm Skies‘ about a couple of months ago. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of their new seasonal endeavor. Thrilled to notice the latest, ‘Fall offering’ - ‘Leaves change, Brisk morning’ on their website two weeks back, I immediately took action and made reservation.
With Scandinavian, Japanese and other seasonal exotic ingredients that include Venison, Horse meat, Shima-Aji, Uni, Maitake mushroom, Ikura, Bone Marrow, Lobster, Duck…..etc, coming out in full force. The brand-new and revamped tasting menu looks like another delightful and fun culinary adventure in the making?! I cannot wait!
This evening, after settling down at our intimate table, close to the open kitchen. My foodie partner and I each ordered a glass of nicely chilled, relatively uncommon, spicy and floral Manseng based white, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and patiently await for the delivery of our food by the now, well acquainted and friendly staff.
Our ten course Omakase comprised of the following:
Late Harvest Snack
dry deer, beet, coffee / rye crisp, Quebec horse tartare
Shima Aji with Endive
koji, walnut, salted plum, koji
squash, bone marrow, FRILU bread
Earth and Sea
burdock, urchin, chicken jus
“When the Hen Danced with the Salmon”
maitake, salmon roe, mushroom soy, bannock miso
Lobster Loves Leaves
almond, beef garum, cabbage
The Bitter Boar
sweet potato, bitter sauce
Waterfowl Marsh 2019
charcoal duck, burnt onion, Koshihikari rice for two
Brisk Afternoon Walk….
Autumn Recalls Summer
parsnip, tonka bean, peach, whiskey
white chocolate, chickpeas, miso
Our reaction after the completion of the well proportioned meal? A few loud and satisfying burps coupled with a collective exclamation of OMG!! For me, the experience was like being nostalgically transported back to one of my Tokyo food-crawl and having a Michelin star caliber western /Japanese fusion meal at say, Le Sputnik, DEN or Sincere….etc......but at only a fraction of the price!
As for my usual long and detailed review?! This time, for once, I am going to take the lazy route and excuse myself from providing extended and laborious individual commentary on the lengthy list of captioned courses. All I am going to say is, the meal was ‘ mucho-memorable ‘, the execution near flawless ( only minor miss was the slight heavily-handed use of salt in the horse tartare and rye crisp), the plating artfully presented, the food tasted increasingly wonderful as the meal progresses, with links to some interesting textural interplay, the wine pairing spot-on, the service warm and attentive…….etc.
In summary…..the total package was most gratifying and at only $95 for 10 courses, did not disappoint! There were even a few wow factors popping up now and then.…..a rarity nowadays!
Best is for me to let the menu description, my posted photos and your imagination do the review and visualization. Have fun!
By the way, amongst all these dishes, a few elite ones did stand out a wee-bit above the rest. In my opinion, these are favorites and worthy of special mentioning:
- Shima Aji – the fish sweet and refreshingly. The delicious koji/parsley sauce requiring extra
bread to mop it up.
- Earth & Sea – the Uni was fresh and sweet; the Burdock tofu a nice sponge for the delicious
roasted chicken jus. The uni a perfect match for the off-dry Klack Gewurztraiminer
- Maitake Mushroom – the smell and taste of the char-grilled mushroom was beautifully paired
with the amazing Ikura foam. Very unique and very tasty!
- Roasted Boar – a gorgeous piece of meat with fascinating smokey aroma! That dollop of
creamy mashed sweet potato can rub shoulder with Robuchon’s creamy mashed potato!
Yup! That good!
- Clay pot duck rice with burnt onion – Sooo Japanese and sooo flavorful. A beautiful dish!
- Yogurt and pear tartlet was so simple yet so refreshing and delectable! I could easily eat
a half dozen more!!
When it comes to tasting menu, “ALO” is definitely the undisputed occupant of the ‘Downtown Iron Throne‘. However, up north in the land of the 905, even with the presence of the venerable stalwart – “Auberge du Pommier”, in my opinion, “FRILU” is definitely the new ‘Omakase King of the North’!
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