A while ago, someone had posted about an 'off-night' they'd had at Splendido and I was worried, because I'd just booked a party there for my father's retirement dinner. The party was last Friday. Thanks to Carlos and the team at Splendido, it was one of the best meals ever. I hope my dad felt the same way :)
There were sixteen of us gathered in the wine cellar/private dining room. Since I arrived late, I'd missed out on the canapés but I can't say I was bummed. Although the treats sounded amazing (mini venison burger, sour cream gnocchi, baked cheese platter, cold octopi with capers) I'm sure I would have pigged out and not left room for the meal itself.
The meal was amazing -- though I kind of wish I'd ordered the sea-bream for my main. I changed my mind at the very last minute and got the lamb, asking explicitly for the cutest one with the biggest eyes and longest lashes. A food writer I am not. But here goes.
First course: Maritime Lobster Broth with Rock Shrimp and Basil Pistou
"Smells like Chinese soup!" observed Weezerfreak. The broth was deliciously lobster-y with generous portions of shrimp, cauliflower and zucchini pellet-like floaty bits (whatever tool they'd used to make those pellets, I want one).
I pulled a trendoid move and chose the Fairview Cellars Viognier over the Shiraz. I have no idea how to use the words 'bouquet' and 'mouthfeel' in this context -- heck, in any context. But I do know that I liked its grapiness -- without the cloying sweetness of icewine. Make sense?
Second course: Nova Scotia Lobster Cuit Sous Vide with Laurel-Scented Butter Poached Cauliflower
The lobster claw was soooo tender. I kept the last piece in my mouth, not wanting it to end. The creamy cauliflower puree could have been completely drinkable on its own.
Main course: Haldimand County Dorset Rack of Lamb with Lamb Osso Bucco and Rosemary Garlic Jus
I love lamb. Even in all of its gamey glory. Tonight's lamb was so juicy and did not contain a trace of gameyness. I am kicking myself though, as I had completely forgotten about the osso buco. I just ate the meat around the bone, and completely forgot to dig out the marrow with the little spoon they'd given me. Boo-urns.
Dessert: Tahitian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with House Preserved Apricot Compote
It took a while for the coffee to come, which made it only slightly easier to take my time with the custard. It was divine.
The bill for 16 people came out to a little over $2100 (The average cost of wine per bottle was around $65 and we didn't go through that many). I was tickled pink when someone congratulated me for picking this place. She told me that the canapés alone were far better than the entire meal she'd had at Bymark the day before. Maybe it's a good thing I don't eat like that all the time. All that food made me sleep away one of the last warm Saturdays of the year. Ah, but it was worth it.