Wild boar & pork belly. Who knew?

Yup, my baby’s 30. We celebrated the milestone in fine style last night, having dinner with CBGB at Luce and spending the night in luxury upstairs at the Hotel Le Germain. Quel decadence.

First of all, the hotel: Le Germain is known as one of the best boutique hotels in Toronto, and it definitely lived up to our expectations. The hotel is gorgeous, from lobby to rooms…far nicer than the Soho Metropolitan. The decor, the raindrop showerhead, the king bed, the high-tech desk chair…the entire room was just perfect. It made for a pretty nice pre-dinner lounge and post-dinner slumber.

And, of course, there was dinner downstairs at Luce. Nellie and I had a drink at the bar while we waited for CBGB to arrive, and once they’d arrived at 7:30 we all sat down to eat. We had a quick look at the menu, but within a few minutes we all agreed that the best option was the tasting menu. And manoman, was that ever the right choice. We tried food that we would’ve never ordered on our own, but hey, what better time to try a whole bunch of new stuff than on a milestone birthday? At the end of the night they were nice enough to print up a quick list of the food (and matching wines) that we were served; it’s incomplete, but I’ll do my best to remember everything we had.

  • amuse bouche: quail egg on a salted potato fingerling.
  • zuppa: Vanilla scented lobster bisque with a scallop on cornbread. The wine was a 2004 Rallo Carta d’Oro from Sicily.
  • antipasti: Cannoli with asparagus, provolone & asparagus pesto, pappardelle with sea urchin and bison steak on a bed of barley and oyster mushrooms. The wine was a Majolini Franciacorta from Lombardia.
  • pasta: lobster-filled ravioli in squid ink with calamari, and quail with linguini pepperincino. Wine was 2003 Cocci Grifoni offida pecorino.
  • pesce: Cod with cod mash and pancetta paired with pork belly, and grouper with radicchio. Wine was a 2004 La Tunella Tibolla Gialla from Friuli.
  • carne: wild boar paired with something polenta-y, and rack of agnello. The wine was 1999 Villa Marianna Salice Salentino Riserva from Puglia.
  • formaggio: something that looked like brie but wasn’t, and a citrus sorbet.
  • dolce: four small blocks of baked chocolate mousse, and ‘Happy Birthday’ written out on the plate in chocolate.

It was easily one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, and I think the others shared my opinion. I would have never guessed that I’d enjoy lobster bisque or lobster ravioli in squid ink, let alone something called “cod mash”, but enjoy it I did.

The service was fantastic: plates and utensils being placed and whisked in a flash, napkins folded the moment you stepped away from the table, background on each wine from the sommelier. There was a weird mixup with a cheese plate — it was placed on our table, then taken away a few seconds later — after we’d had a few bites — and taken to another table (!) despite our warnings. The servers had a brief but panic attack; we thought it was funny, but I’m not sure that other table would’ve thought so. It certainly weren’t cheap — I’m sure my father felt a chill go down his spine when I signed the bill — but how many times do you get to eat a meal that’s amazingly delicious and completely adventurous at the same time?

The meal had lasted three and a half hours. A final drink at the bar — CBGB stayed out late on a school night just for Nellie’s 30th…thanks guys! — and we retired to that beautiful room.

Pretty sweet.

0 responses to “Wild boar & pork belly. Who knew?

  1. Pingback: Dan Dickinson » Mmmmmmmm, cod mash…·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s