Saturday, March 28, 2009

Black Cat Bistro

Yay, I can finally take this restaurant off my wish list of places I want to try. I'd been before when they were in the market under different ownership, but hadn't tried it since chef Steve Vardy took over at their new location on Preston Street. I saved the experience for an evening with our friends Tony and Cathy. They too had expressed an interest in going and we couldn't have picked a better couple to go with. They were into trying everything, as were we. So i've got a long list of raving to do. The decor inside is very simple and clean, with a long row of windows that let the last of the evening sun shine in across the restaurant. I don't even remember it turning to night I was having such a good time. We started off with some appetizers that were to die for. First, the Cast Iron Seared Foie Gras, a heavenly dish that literally melted to an oil once it hit the palate. It was warm on the outside and worked it's way to a cooler center. The waitress explained this transition to me before I ordered. It was quite unique at first but after the first few bites the entire dish warmed up inside and out. We also tried the Torched B.C. White Tuna, barely cooked, purple grapes, purple basil, jalapeno and crispy shallots. This was a very light app and perfect if you're planning to eat a heavier dish for your main. The tuna was fresh and delicate and served with the grapes and miniature slivers of jalapeno was a tantalizing combination. My favourite was the Venison Carpaccio, 18 month old cheddar, extra-strong dijon, organic olive oil and lemon, so fine and bursting with flavour. When we first looked at the menu, 3 of us wanted to order the same main – Steve's Maple “Tacky” Pork Belly. Tony ended up being the winner of that dish, but since we were sharing everything, we were all winners! This was, in my opinion, the best dish on the table. All were impeccable, but this one just really stood out with it's silky texture and sweet flavours. We also had the Duck Breast served with a legume medley and parsnip puree . The parsnip puree on this dish was the perfect accompaniment to the tender and fatty duck cooked seared on the outside and to perfection on the inside. The Caramelized North Atlantic Sea Scallops was another alluring dish we tried completed with tiny, French filet green beans and chewy enoki mushrooms. These too were cooked flawlessly – bringing out the velvety texture of the scallops. Cathy ordered the Signature Steak Frites – succulent black angus striploin, foie gras butter, and comforting sage seasoned frites – another wicked dish. And if that wasn't enough, we also shared an order of the Spaetzle. I wouldn't recommend this dish as your only main, if you're a vegetarian this probably isn't the place to go, but this was great to share as a side. We had a fantastic, full-bodied, robust 2005 Tempranillo to accompany our meal – Zumaya, i'd highly recommend this wine. And for dessert, I had a glass of the 10 year tawny and the warm Classic French Lemon Tart, so satisfying. I also tried Cathy's Sticky Date and Walnut Bundt Cake that was equally delicious. I can't rave enough about the meal. Everything was utter perfection. My rating is 4 stars, had the service been as terrific as the food they would have definitely got 5. It was good, just not deserving of another star.

Black Cat Café on Urbanspoon

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