On Friday evening, I took the SO for a fine dining experience at Splendido. We like to find the jewels in the city from the cheapest eats to the extravagant meals. The last place we went of this caliber was Susur, and I guess you could say that is the basis for comparison for great meals and service for me and the SO.
We arrived for our 8pm reservation to be greeted at the door and have our coats taken. We were then promptly brought to our table. Unfortunately we got stuck with the corner table by the kitchen entrance, but this didn't bother me much.
As we reviewed the cocktail and wine lists, we were brought some canapés - a small phyllo and cheese tart. I can't recall exactly what was in it, but it tasted like plain phyllo and cheese. Nothing fancy. I think there was some leek in there as well.
Upon our selection of wine (2002 Rosso Di Montalcino - Tuscany) and sparkling water, an amuse bouche was brought over. The amuse was excellent. It was a venison tartar served with a crisp toast. The tartar had a great flavour with some spices I couldn't pick out as well as some tiny capers. Wow! The crisp toast was far too overpowering for the delicate flavour of the tartar IMHO.
We both opted with the Table D'hote menu. The SO started with a crab cake served in a crab coriander broth served on baby spinach. Mmmm! Excellent light flavour in the crab cake. The broth was incredible as well. I had the Tunisian octopus and lobster which was cuit sous-vide and then grilled lightly. It was served on some baby spinach and another tasty grilled fennel salad.
The second courses consisted of the duck confit served with another crisp bread with an interesting soft texture. The SO liked her confit, but I didn't really care for it. It was served in a little iron pot with a lid. I had the Berkshire pork belly. The flavour was very reminiscent to crispy pork in any authentic Chinese restaurant... not to say it wasn't good. It was a very tasty dish. The pork was served on top of a red wine poached pear that added a nice flavour.
The mains were then brought out. The pheasant for the SO and the rack of lamb with the mushroom tortellini and french navy beans for myself. The pheasant was good, not great. It didn't jump up and explode with flavour. All we could say was that it was cooked well with a pleasing taste. The lamb was the same. Very little seasoning was added while it was prepared. There was very little flavour to the meat. The mushroom tortellini was not good, nor where the french navy beans. This was a little bit of a let down for the main course.
Dessert brought a chocolate hazelnut crunch bar for the SO and the Ontario Preserved Fruitland Sorbets. The crunch bar was good, but not $7 good.... more like fancy chocolate from Loblaws good. The sorbet was excellent. Concord grape, strawberry and a fantastic spiced pear. Mmm.
Overall we were a little let down with the experience. Service was polite, helpful and definitely on cue, but the food arrived sporadically leaving us hungry a few times during the entire meal. The food didn't blow us away from one course to the next as Susur did. Overall it was a good meal, but I have had just as good a meal for 1/3 the price.
Perigee.... here I come (I hope my expectations aren't too high!!)