It's been over a month since the hounds chowed down at Luke's in Kingston, but I don't think anyone has reported back yet. This was based on the winter menu, so it's out of date, unfortunately, but I thought it was still worth sharing.
The 2+ hour drive out to Kingston in the pouring rain certainly had me wondering if it was worth the journey before we even got there, but there were plenty of snacks and lots of good chow conversation on the way.
We arrived at Luke's before it had even opened and waited for them to let us in. They had us seated at two separate tables because they didn't have a spot for 10. They'd also warned us in advance that the tables would have to be served separately, since Luke does all the cooking himself and he couldn't plate for 10 people at the same time.
My table of four opted for an assortment of dishes to be shared amongst all of us right from the start. We all end up eating off each others plates anyway, so there's no point in pretending that your dinner is going to be your dinner. Plus, this way, we're sure to get more variety.
We were presented with a generous amuse, that I remember being a skewer of something or other, and I remember liking, but I don't remember what it was. D'oh! Lamb, maybe?
We opted for the crisp smoked pork belly, house chevre napolean, charcuterie plate and winter caesar (we wanted some vegetables to give us a break from all the meat).
The chevre was finished, so we had house ricotta in its place, which was fine, though I would have liked to try the chevre. The charcuterie plate was excellent, with stellar accompaniments for each item, including a really fantastic mustard, that I could have happily eaten off a spoon. The winter caesar didn't actually include much in the way of vegetables -- it was totally deconstructed and there were just tiny sprigs of lettuce, more of a garnish than a part of the dish. It was delicious, but some more lettuce to go with the dressing would have been nice. The really fantastic thing, though, was the pork belly. We could have quite happily eaten nothing but that all night.
For mains, we ordered the linguine all carbonara, rabbit thrice, tete de cochon and mixed grill. The linguine was eh. The triple-smoked bacon in it was lovely, but that was drowned out by a gloopy, creamy sauce that did it no favours -- I'd have have preferred to just have a side of bacon.
Rabbit thrice had rabbit rillette (it was a recurring theme on the night, it showed up in all sorts of places, too many really), rabbit loin and rabbit confit. I've never been a fan of rabbit, and haven't eaten it in years, both the loin and confit, though, I thought were excellent, so perhaps I need to reconsider my anti-rabbit stance. I also loved the leek confiture on the side.
The tete de cochon was served with a vast variety of accompaniments, including more of the pork belly (woo!). It made for lots of interesting flavour combinations, and a lot of care is obviously taken with the plating and the choice of sides.
The mixed grill had more pork belly (did I mention woo?), two kinds of sausage (one of which was good and the other of which was fantastic!), more rabbit rillette (the rillette and the pork belly made about the same number of appearances, but I loved the pork belly, so I was never sorry to see it, unlike the rillette which got a little tiresome) and an excellent parsnip veloute.
Bacon ice cream -- fun concept, way too salty -- came after dinner.
Desserts were good, especially the cinnamon ice cream.
We also got to try a black olive ice cream that I liked quite a lot more than I liked the bacon. Still, weird ice cream flavours just aren't my thing.
Luke's mom was acting as the host, and she's a *very* proud mom -- really anxious to share her joy in her son with all of her customers.
Not everything put on our plates was a winner, but it was certainly worth the drive -- even in the pouring rain -- to Kingston.
(For anyone who is interested in joining in on the local hound dinners, see the Google group: http://groups.google.com/group/chowho... ).
264 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L1B5, CA