Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Hour at Black + Blue

Black + Blue on UrbanspoonIt's really strange that Black + Blue can bring out mediocre food -- the space/ambiance is really nice and it just feels so promising. Adding insult to injury is the high-end downtown eatery price, with appetizers approaching $20. But there is just something going on in there that is off because on the Thursday when my happy hour friend and I went for basically an early dinner, it was basically deserted -- whereas Italian Kitchen (also a Glowbal Group restaurant) across the street had been going non-stop busy since Noon and was slowly picking up as we approached dinnertime.

If you're curious about Black + Blue, something to take a bit of the sting out of your inevitably daunting bill is Glowbal's Monday gift card promotion -- Buy a $100 gift card and you will receive a time-limited $20 bonus good only for 90 days. Both go straight into your e-mail inbox right away. (And by the way, $100 gets swallowed up at Black + Blue really quickly...).
Try to pair that with going to Glowbal's half-price Happy Hour. For Black + Blue, this is the six-item lunch appetizer menu. You can, however, ask for the dinner menu instead, which has an expanded appetizer menu. Also, right now they have a $5 festive happy hour drink promotion.

Since The Roof is basically upstairs (literally the roof of the building, with a cover and heat lamps), you can get The Roof menu items as well, but without the Happy Hour discount.

Fresh OJ ($5)
  • I often ask for fresh-squeezed juice, and surprise! For once it was available. The bartender offered to make an orange juice from real oranges (not a Tropicana tetra pack) and I got approximately a tumbler of it.
  • Obviously not a heck of a lot of it for $5, but I'm in Black + Blue, so what can you expect, right?
Mac & Cheese Sticks ($9) truffled cheese sauce
  • From The Roof dinner appetizer menu. We did NOT get the happy hour half-off for this.
  • Way better than the mac & cheese balls at Society. One order is four thick "sticks". Put two sticks together and it's about the size of a pack of cigarettes or a deck of playing cards.
  • Lukewarm on the inside, but beautifully crispy on the outside. It is actually pretty mediocre. What makes the difference is the truffled sauce you get with it. Be generous with the sauce.
  • At $9, this is $2.25 a piece, which is steep, truffle sauce or not. It's a different and more fun way to eat mac & cheese, however.
  • Because of the length of the stick, double-dipping is inevitable if you insist on only using your fingers. You might instead want to nibble off the top and use your knife to dab some sauce onto it. Two to three bites will finish off one stick.
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops ($18) mango compote
  • Very strangely not flavourful. Especially the chopped up mango on the bottom. How is it possible that the mango flavour didn't come through?
  • The four scallops seemed a good size, roughly about ping-pong ball sized. Very tender but possibly undercooked.
Steak House Nachos ($14) house spiced potato chips, bacon cheddar cheese, b+b steak chili
  • The "nachos" were very large, thinly cut potato chips, coated with cheese. The several chips each about 1x to 2x the size of business cards, were on a generous amount of very red but not spicy-hot chili.
  • My friend really liked this (for the chili, I think) but I had trouble appreciating it. To me, this was potato chips with sauce. And not a lot of chips for $14. On top of not being cheesy-tasting. Was there something in that OJ I ordered that killed the flavour of everything I ate?
Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding ($15) shaved beef, au jus, horseradish cream
  • Four large puddings with a good amount of shaved beef.
  • We ended up putting some salt on it as it was a bit on the bland side.
  • The Yorkshire Pudding was very dark and basically burnt on the top. All of them turned out like that. I'm guessing they baked to order and the batch was burnt -- or it was intentionally done that way to crisp the top.
  • The was a decent amount of shaved beef, and it was happily not dry. If you eat this, however, you may want to cut it in half first (and get a steak knife for it if you do) since it might take two to three bites, but your first bite might drag all the beef out.
  • The horseradish cream really helped. Could have been a bit hotter for my taste.
  • Overall, a good-sized appetizer.
Tuna Screamer ($15) ahi tuna, serrano chillies, daikon, tobiko, ponzu
  • This looks like tuna slabs on noodles, and the shaved daikon "noodles" do work more or less like noodles. I don't think they are as good as real noodles, but it's a fun way to eat daikon.
  • Overall pretty decent.
Black+Blue Butter Cake ($12) crème chantilly, caramel sauce
  • This was really decent -- Good buttery aroma and flavour. Plus the portion is actually rather good.
  • Because it was good, even at $12 (no happy hour discount) it's actually OK. Still steep, but so is the rest of the menu.
  • The outer crust is quite hard, but inside it's fairly tender. Closer to the middle is the caramel sauce hidden under the cream, so make sure you get some of that.
Since it was just across the street, we nipped over to Italian Kitchen right after for another dessert.

Zeppole di Cioccolato ($8.95) italian style doughnuts, chocolate ganache, crème anglaise
  • The regular order is 5 donuts, but we were a couple and the kind bartender, entirely on his own initiative, offered to ask the chef to throw in an extra donut for an even number -- thanks!
  • Each "donut" is actually a Timbit, just slightly bigger. Size varies somewhat, but basically they are a bit smaller than a ping pong ball.
  • There isn't any "deep fried goodness" going on here. It is dusted on the outside and the dough felt a bit too wet on the inside. If you are looking for a deep fried donut experience, this won't be it.
  • Be generous with the sauce provided.
  • Try to eat each donut in a single bite. If you don't, then bite SLOWLY and make sure a plate is right underneath you. If you are not careful, the chocolate can literally come squirting out. As it is, a slow bite will still see it ooze and drip out.
  • This dessert seemed rather boring to me at over a dollar per TimBit. It's basically donut + chocolate sauce + dipping cream.

No comments:

Post a Comment