Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nine Course Tasting Menu at C for Half Price


C Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Late last week, Groupon offered a half-off coupon (maximum 3) for C Restaurant, specifically for a 9-course tasting menu. I still hadn't gotten myself around to going to C, so this looked like a great opportunity. Found two friends to go and we were all set.

The restaurant was buzzing but not so busy that there was a lineup. Our reservation was for 7pm, and we were pleased to be able to patiently nibble our way through the nine courses without being rushed out the door. In fact, given the slow slow-down during the night, we ended up spending 3-1/2 hours chatting and savouring the exquisite food.

C is one of those restaurants where you have attentive male waiters -- Like Joe Fortes or Lumiere. No tight-shirted buxom servers here. The other diners that night were a mix of age ranges, though, sad to say, many of the under-40's looked like they spent half their time hunched over their iPhones.

The tasting menu was...

  • Wild- and cultivated-mushroom velouté with garlic confit and croutons
  • Charred octopus salad with frisée, bacon vinaigrette, and soft boiled egg
  • Seared scallop with crushed minted peas, veigi sauce, panchetta, and lemonade foam
  • House-smoked salmon with corn risotto and green onion relish
  • Seared albacore tuna with lyonnaise potato, zucchini ribbons, and parmesan soubise
  • Farmhouse chevre with poached pears, artisan honey, and spiced walnuts
  • Cucumber sorbet with pickled ginger and crisp basil
  • Chocolate brownie with berry chantilly and lemon curd
  • Petits fours
You get fairly small portions of each item, but the overall result was that you'd be full, though not to excess. Each item was like an appetizer, and extremely flavourful. Even the palate cleanser/sorbet was special: Cucumber, with a bit of that pink picked ginger you find in sushi restaurants at the bottom. I would have to say the highlight for me was the smoked salmon infused risotto -- but from first course till the sorbet, everything was superb.
My only quibble would probably be that we could have used a spoon for the charred octopus salad because of the soft boiled egg, which, once you burst it, turned the dish into the consistency of a stew and you just can scoop up all the leftover egg with a fork. We had bread to start and I could have use that, but with several more items to go, it seemed more prudent to go slow at the start.

Speaking of the bread... It came with soft butter with a stripe of what initially looked like ash from a cigarrette. That black stuff on it was actually a black volcanic ash salt. (Huh? Yup.)

Dessert was a bit more of a chancy affair. There was a cheese plate with a tablespoon of very pungent goat cheese that may turn many people off even if you tried to soften it with the poached pear, candied walnut, or crispy baguette thin. If you are desperate to avoid goat cheese as my dining companions were, you could try asking for a substitution (which they were able to manage that Saturday night).

The final dessert items were a small piece of brownie (which wasn't overly sweet) and "petit fours" -- actually round chocolates, probably hand-made, with gooey cherry-infused chocolate cream inside. A bit sweet for my taste as it left a slight burn in the throat. Still, after a fabulous five seafood courses before, I wouldn't dissuade anyone from trying this tasting menu simply because dessert wasn't as much of a highlight.

The regular price is $94, so if you got the Groupon, it's more than a fair deal. The wine list is extensive and depending on what you ordered you could see another $50 on the bill per bottle. Our bill was $400 for three persons before the Groupons. Yoicks.

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