Most of the weekend was spent prepping for a floor installation, which meant boxing items, moving furniture, rewiring networks, ripping up carpet, and such things. Not so much fun, really. So we decided to eat out on Saturday.
We’d really enjoyed Solé Restaurant’s Harvest of Ontario dinner last year, so decided to try it again. I think it was even better.
The place was just hopping, and despite our reservation, we did have to wait a bit at the bar before we could be seated. Not a big deal, though. Once seated, it was in their back room, which was a quieter spot, more amenable to conversation.
Course 1 was fresh fig, minted mascarpone, Niagara prosciutto, in a red wine reduction. That was served with a 2011 Pinot Grigio—all wines by Vineland Estates.
The prosciutto was amazing, wonderful texture, not dry and chewy as it can be. The cheese, fig, and mint all worked beautifully together and were a nice contrast to the salty meat. The wine wasn’t the greatest to drink on its own (not that it was bad), but it did suit the food well.
Course 2 featured pernod and dill-cured smoked salmon (not from Ontario!), potato blinis, lavender, and Niagara peach preserves. That was served with a 2011 unoaked chardonnay.
The Chardonnay was nicer drinking wine on its own. Being unoaked, it had a nice fruitiness. And the food was once again superlative. The blinis were a nice support to the salmon, contrasted by peaches. The lavender was subtle.
Main course featured Nipping Farms boneless quail, served with gnocchi, cipollini onions, fennel, mushrooms, and double smoked bacon jus. The wine was a 2011 Cabernet Merlot.
With that description, how can you go wrong? Jean worried a bit about the onions, but I think they were overwhelmed by the delicious bacon. The gnocchi had great texture, soft but not mushy. The quail was nicely done, not overcooked, and not having to deal with bones was nice.
The Cab Merlot was very young. Nothing to be offended with there, but it will probably be better in a year or two. Still, with quail you don’t want a big red, so it suited.
Dessert was zabagione with fresh seasonal berries, served with 2008 Cabernet ice wine.
One can quibble that these berries aren’t really seasonal anymore, but it was a tasty and light and somewhat healthy ending to the meal. And it’s always nice to get a red ice wine. We were left feeling quite satisfied, but not unpleasantly full.
The whole shebang was $60—$40 for food, $20 for the wines—which seemed like a deal to me. Service was perfectly fine, with wines being described as they arrived this year (something that didn’t quite happen last year).
I believe this menu is available until the end of September, with the Blackshop in Cambridge offering another take on the same idea.