Tap Restaurant – Surrey, BC

It feels like ages since I’ve sat down to write a review here. Nine months to be exact. I’m not sure what happened or why it took me so long to get back into the swing of things and enjoy writing again. It probably has something to do with life getting in the way, or the multitude of changes that have occurred recently. Since moving my entire life to British Columbia, attempting to settle in to a new job, new home and make new friends, my passion for writing has been put on the back burner. That completely changed when I visited Tap Restaurant. The spark was reignited and I am once again excited to share my experience of what I think is an outstanding fine dining establishment.

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My parents were so generous in giving us a gift card to Tap Restaurant for Christmas which allowed us the freedom to choose freely from the menu without worrying about how our wallets would judge us later. The menu is reasonably priced, considering the quality of the locally sourced ingredients and the time and passion that goes into creating their dishes. I would have no issue forking out (get it?) a few extra bucks of my hard earned money to dine here again.

Tap Restaurant is located in south Surrey, tucked away in what seems to be a nice, quiet residential area. They have a beautiful patio that I can’t wait to enjoy in the summer.

We made our reservation for 7PM on a weeknight and there were only a handful of tables occupied during our visit. We were immediately welcomed by most of the staff, including the chef as we walked through the doors and were sat by a beautiful, warm fireplace to enjoy our meal. The dining area is small and cozy with tasteful modern decor which created a warm intimate dining experience. It also features an open kitchen concept so you can watch the cooks work their magic.

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We began our meal with the parmesan risotto with white truffle oil. During our drive to the restaurant, I was looking over the menu and had my heart set on this as a starter. I’m incredibly glad we did. The risotto was every bit as creamy as you’d want a risotto to be, cooked perfectly, piping hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. We opted for some fresh pepper on top as well. I’d been craving a good risotto for a while, and this sealed the deal. It was also a perfect portion for sharing.

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An interesting section on their menu is the puff pastry tartes flambees. We settled on the Alsace puff pastry with double smoked bacon, caramelized onion and Gruyere cheese. Although not flambeed, the puff pastry was incredible – unlike any puff pastry I’ve had. It was warm, flaky, indulgent, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, a delicious white sauce and topped with shallots. Another great dish to share.

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My main of choice was the Rossdown Farms chicken with rosemary and thyme veloute, wild rice and a side of kale, carrots and green beans. The chicken was incredibly juicy, hot with a perfectly crispy skin. The veloute worked perfectly with the rice and vegetables. The carrots were incredible and the kale was to die for. I even stole some from my partners plate. The vegetables were clearly fresh and the beans had a wonderful crunch.

After our two starters, the portioning of this dish was perfect.

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My partner had the beef tenderloin with an olive oil herb potato pave and same delicious vegetables that eventually made their way to my plate too. My boyfriend is great at sharing! The beef was beautifully cooked, tender and succulent with prominent  flavours and beautifully seasoned. I was fortunate enough to grab a bite and the meat simply melted in my mouth. I’d never had potato pave before and to my delight it was seared in butter and had the perfect balance of crisp edges and a soft potato center. Additionally, flavours of thyme and rosemary elevated this dish wonderfully.

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I struggled with what to order for dessert. Each option sounded even better than the last so I narrowed it down to a final two and asked our waitress for her recommendation. It was between the poached pear or lemon cremeux. On her recommendation, the lemon cremeux was the winner. This was a sweet and refreshing way to finish the meal. The meringue was delicious and perfectly toasted and the lemon cremeux was sweet and tangy. The raspberry caviar was a fun and sweet visual addition to this dish.

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My better half chose the lava cake which he described as rich and indulgent – decadence at its finest. Obviously I had a bite or two, for research purposes. The cake was warm and gooey, wonderfully cooked and just the right size. The side of creme anglaise made this dish even more indulgent than it was on its own. It’s the perfect way to complete your dining experience, especially if you’ve had a lighter meal.

Tap Restaurant has amazing staff, beautiful ambiance and the plating and presentation of their dishes is creative and inspiring. The people who work here bring everything together perfectly and you can tell they are proud to work there

We can’t wait to come back and enjoy more of what Tap Restaurant has to offer and sample from their large wine selection for our next date night.

Most importantly, I’m looking forward to bringing my family here during their visit from Ontario for my 30th birthday.

Tap Restaurant is located at 101-15350 34th Avenue, Surrey BC.

-Rach

 Tap Urban Cafe & Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lou Dawg’s Hamilton

Last week my significant other and I had the pleasure of trying out Hamilton’s newest addition to the Southern BBQ scene, Lou Dawg’s! Nestled away in Hess Village, Lou Dawg’s is a Southern BBQ and Blues restaurant that originated in Toronto and quickly became famous for their slow smoked BBQ, bourbon and blues. Now, branching out into Hamilton, owners Erika Puckering and Chef Jamie Ewing have taken on Hess Village and packed delicious, smoked and savoury flavours into their dishes.

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I’m in love with the décor inside this place. The weathered wood and brick accents paired with adorable bulb string lights and vintage rugs give Lou’s a perfectly southern country vibe. The location is warm and inviting and the smells from the kitchen will certainly get your mouth watering. FullSizeRender (33)

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We started our BBQ adventure with Lou Dawg’s signature Smoked Lemon Southern Tea. The key to this addictive and refreshing drink is the in house smoked lemons, but lets not forget the two shots of Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey! We couldn’t get over how delicious this drink was and kept reminding ourselves to come back when the patio is open to enjoy this bad boy in the sunshine. This will be a must have this summer!

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For our main BBQ dishes we ordered the 2 meats (beef brisket & pulled pork) and 2 sides (meaty BBQ beans & fries) option for $14.95 – value city! We also couldn’t pass on the Angry Loutine or the Jalapeño Cornbread Muffin since I’ve heard so many good things about it!

I’m going to start off with discussing this mountain of fried potato, meaty goodness because this was the best thing that entered my mouth that night. Yeah, yeah – [enter sexual innuendo here] Get your mind out of the gutter! Seriously though, this ain’t your typical loaded poutine, oh no, my friend. This right here will be the reason I return to Lou’s. The Angry Loutine is the Mighty Loutine (cheese curds and chicken gravy) topped with jalapeños, pulled pork, BBQ mayo and crispy onions. Lou’s poutine game is strong. Crispy, creamy, spicy and salty in one bite. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back this weekend to get this again. If you love a good poutine, you’ll seriously appreciate this. FYI – this was a SMALL.

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Everything together on the table provided to be quite the spread and was a tad intimidating at first! We questioned whether we would live to see another day after eating all this food and how long it would take to crawl to our cars after such an epic meal. Even a bread roll is included to soak up all the delicious house made sauce which is generously provided to you at the table.

So, accepting our fate, we dug in. I was pleasantly surprised at how tender and juicy the meat was, especially the brisket. Although I do believe the portion size was a bit on the small side,  it was a great cut of meat and was cooked perfectly. The pulled pork was outstanding on its own or stuffed in the bread roll. Squirt on some extra sauce and you’re in BBQ heaven. I’m normally not a huge fan of beans (texture-a-phobe) but I really enjoyed the meaty beans. The beans were cooked well and smothered in delicious sauce. They were also super tasty re-heated the next day.

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FullSizeRender (30)FullSizeRender (29)When I asked my foodie friends what they liked at Lou’s, the Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread was a hot topic. I was not let down in the least. It came out moist (important) and warm with awesomely crispy edges and definitely spicy, as expected. At the center of the corn muffin was a delicious chunk of cheddar cheese. I tried the cheese on its own and found it had a sweet flavour while not completely melted, which I thought was great. For an extra $2.95 I’d say the corn muffin is well worth the try.

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Overall I’d say Lou Dawg’s is a strong contender in Hamilton’s southern smoked BBQ scene. Their sauces and quality of meat are on point, they have a great list of signature cocktails and will be hosting a series of live music and community nights. I also really appreciated the friendly atmosphere and relaxed vibe at Lou’s. The staff are amazing and definitely take good care of you.

Not to mention they are open for Southern brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11-4PM with $5 Mimosas and Caesars! Brunch includes items like breakfast poutines, burritos and benny’s.

Combine great BBQ, live music and exceptional service and I think you’ve got yourself a good time! With their outdoor patio NOW OPEN, summer in Hamilton just got a little more exciting.
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Check out their Twitter: @LouDawgsHamOnt to stay updated on future events and menu updates.

If you’re wandering around Hess village in a haze, Lou’s won’t be hard to find with their kick ass BBQ sign out front.

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Lou Dawg’s is located at 116 George Street in Hamilton.

Amen to summer and BBQ/patio season!

-Rach

Staxx Burger Chicken and Waffle House

Sometimes you just get an insatiable craving for fried chicken. I’d heard about Staxx multiple times from many Hamiltonians, some who hadn’t been in ages but remember their chicken and waffles fondly, some who visit regularly and others who hadn’t been at all. Myself and a few family friends were well overdue for a hangout and we always plan to try a great spot in Hamilton for some dinner and chatter. This time we chose Staxx. We planned this dinner about a month in advance so the anticipation was killing me by the time I got there.

A large group of us (about 12) went on a Friday night and were smart enough to make reservations well ahead of time. Being as small as the restaurant is, if you’re looking to chow down on some fried chicken, I’d recommend trying to make a reservation beforehand. Now, this is nothing new as I believe their old location only sat about 25-30 people, their new location is about the same.

Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for our tables (about half an hour past our reservation time) and were greeted by very friendly bar and wait staff. This gave us all a chance to look over the menu, get recommendations and ask for clarification on things we had questions about.

Once we sat down, the restaurant quickly filled up and before we knew it all tables were full and people were waiting at the door to be seated. Needless to say it was a bit hectic and loud but that diminished over time. A few of us ordered starters for the table to share which included deep fried pickles, onion rings and Wagyu beef sliders. I only managed to snap pictures of the beef sliders as the other apps were snatched up real quick!

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These bad boys were absolutely delicious. The beef was juicy, perfecly seasoned and was dressed with minimal toppings which is so important with sliders. Just some gooey cheese, aioli and lettuce and tomato on the side. The bun was amazing too, soft on the insdie with crispy, buttery edges. This app came with three sliders for around $11. The sliders, along with the deep fried pickles haven’t been added to their new online menu yet.

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I ordered the Fried Chicken Platter (2 pcs) and a side Caesar salad. I really enjoyed these two hunks of meat. The chicken was piping hot, incredibly juicy and the seasoning was really lovely. I didn’t find it overly salty either, which was a big concern of mine going into this. The chicken had great flavour and such a satisfying crunch. One thing I realized at the end of the night was that I never received coleslaw that was supposed to be included in my meal. So, unfortunately I can’t speak to how that was. The Caesar salad was good. Nothing spectacular, just your average Caesar salad. I at least appreciated that it came with bacon and I didn’t have to pay extra for it!

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My uncle did his research before coming to the restaurant and read that the Jerk chicken was a popular item on the menu. It really is a beautiful looking dish. The mango salsa topping was fresh and sweet and paired perfectly with the spicy Jerk seasoning. My uncle really enjoyed the Jerk seasoning and said the chicken was tender and juicy.

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My boyfriend and I shared a large order of fries and let me tell you they were the bomb. SO good. I love skin on french fries and these were so addicting. But let me tell you, the real MVP here was the gravy. I would have drank that stuff out of the cup if I wasn’t going to be judged for it 😉 My boyfriend also ordered the fried chicken fingers tossed in buffalo sauce. I have to be honest in saying that we nearly choked when they were brought to the table. The sauce was heavy with vinegar and was very spicy, to the point where he couldn’t enjoy eating them. Someone who has a taste for very spicy things maybe wouldn’t have found it overbearing but even for myself it was a bit much.

Overall it was a great dinner. I really enjoyed the food and bustling atmosphere but there were times that the service was very lacking. It did take quite some time for our appetizers to come out and some of us had to go to the bar to get a refill on our alcoholic beverages. We sat at our tables with empty plates for quite some time while servers walked by, looking directly at us and our table and not taking anything away. I need to note that the restaurant was at capacity during this time and there were only three employees working the dining room, one of which didn’t even work there and was helping out for the night. So, with that in mind, I can understand why the service would be less than perfect. The staff was very friendly and had a very positive attitude despite the fact that they were short handed.

The next time I have a craving for fried chicken I will definitely keep Staxx in mind.

Staxx Chicken and Waffle house is located at 275 King Street East, Hamilton.

Cluck, cluk!

-Rach

Warm Asparagus and Corn Salad with White Wine Vinegar

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I recently had one of those nights where I knew I had barely anything left in the fridge for a proper dinner and was too lazy to go out to the grocery store (it was probably a Monday). Luckily, I knew I had some fresh veggies kickin’ around. I grabbed what I thought would work well together and settled on making a vegetable salad. So, with some asparagus, corn, onion and red pepper I created a delicious, comforting, warm vegetable salad on a whim. What’s great about this dish is how well it re-heats the next day. Just under two minutes in the microwave will warm the vegetables up just enough and keep their crunch.

Even though I enjoyed this on a cold winter night, this salad is sure to go well with some chicken or fish at your next summer barbeque.

Servings: 6 (as a side dish)

Total time: 30 minutes

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 – 2.5 cups fresh or frozen corn, if frozen: steam
  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut into large pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup Spanish OR red onion, chopped
  • Small bundle of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Steam corn and set aside to cool. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan on medium to high heat. Once oil is hot, add the asparagus and red pepper. Cook and stir frequently until tender but still firm, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you prefer your asparagus to be. Transfer into a large bowl.

In the large bowl, add the steamed corn, parsley, onion, parmesan cheese, remaining olive oil and white wine vinegar. Toss gently to evenly coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with paprika and Italian seasoning and toss gently again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Table 34 Resto & Bar

So, I celebrated my birthday this past weekend. Another year closer to 30 (yaaaay…). I have to tell you though, I’m not that depressed about it. I’ve got a good feeling about what my 30s will bring, especially if things keep going the way they are. In any case, birthdays (for me at least) give me an excuse to eat whatever I want and share the experience with loving family and friends. One of my mothers friends suggested we try a new restaurant in downtown Burlington, Table 34. It was a great evening, with impressive food and great staff. As a new restaurant there’s a couple things to improve on, but that’s all a part of the experience. None of the issues that came up were nearly big enough to deter me from visiting again. The owner, Moe, was attentive, very accessible and present in the restaurant and quick to respond to any questions or concerns.

Note: I apologize for the terrible picture quality. I’m just starting to get comfortable with my DSLR and I hate a flashing camera in a busy restaurant. So, I held off and used my phone’s camera. Sorry!

I started off with the chef’s Caesar salad (no picture *blame hunger). It was a deconstructed salad with romaine leaves tossed in a house dressing, a slice of bacon and fried a Parmesan chip. The salad was good, however I found there was way too much dressing on the lettuce which really weighed it down. I’m also not a fan of chopping up my own salad. Especially if I’m having it as a starter, I want to be able to just dig in once it hits the table. This is just my personal preference and by no means takes away from the quality of the salad. The portion was large enough for two people to share and was a great way to start the meal. I really enjoyed the fried Parmesan chip, who doesn’t love crispy, fried cheese!

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I had the pizza special (obviously – if you don’t know me by now, I love pizza). I couldn’t believe the size of this thing. It’s definitely something you can share with someone you trust. FYI – Never share your pizza with an untrustworthy person. For the price (I believe it was around $21), I would expect it to be this big, approximately a medium. They used a bolognese sauce as the base which was incredible on the pizza. It had a perfect balance of ground beef and light tomato sauce which really added to the overall flavour of the pizza. The dough was thin crust and cooked well. Toppings included roasted red peppers, choirzo sausage and cheese curds. This pizza was full-flavoured and seriously took care of my pizza craving. I traded a few slices in return for bites of other dishes on the table and each person loved it too. I took a few slices to go and the whole drive home all I could smell was this pizza. Even though I was having a food baby, the aroma was making my mouth water.

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My partner in crime had the Alberta high river smokey mountain ground brisket & sirloin burger. Try saying that five times fast – it’s a mouthful, and so is this burger! It could feed a small country. It’s basically a meatball on a bun, and the consumer wasn’t really feeling that. There was a lot of beef and I believe if it was flattened out a bit with a more substantial bun it would improve the eating experience. Because there was so much juicy meat, the bun was ruined within a couple bites and it just became a huge mess. I had a couple bites and it definitely was delicious – obviously high quality meat and so juicy. Just a couple of adjustments will make this burger even better! The fries were also stellar.

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My bro ordered the chicken wings which came with the chef’s chili lime yogurt – the sauce of the day. They were served dry with the sauce on the side. Now, unfortunately my brother and I weren’t really impressed with these in the beginning. The wings were pretty small for what you’re paying ($18 for a pound), no seasoning on the wings and the sauce was watery and lacked any real flavour. We brought this to our servers attention and she immediately took them back to the kitchen to toss them in a different sauce. They came back with a BBQ and Sriracha sauce which was a huge improvement. This sauce had the kick my brother was looking for that the chili lime yogurt was missing.

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My g-ma had the fish & chips (from the lunch menu) which was a beer-battered haddock, side of fries and Chef’s slaw. My grams is a fish & chip aficionado to say the least. It’s basically all she ever orders, unless prime rib is available, then she’ll most definitely order that. She really enjoyed her meal and said the fish was cooked perfectly, full of flavour and the batter was light and crispy. So, two thumbs up for this fish dish – if it impressed my grandma, it should do the same for you!

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Two others in our group ordered the wild mushroom jumbo ravioli, one with meat and one without meat. The pasta was stuffed with smoked bacon and topped with sundried tomatoes, edamame beans and smothered in an amazing thyme fused cream and white truffle oil drizzle. I got to try a bite of this one and was really impressed. The sauce was so rich and flavourful and the ravioli was cooked perfectly. Definitely a must try! The only complaint here was that no freshly ground pepper was offered, which would have finished the dish off well. We notified the owner (at the end of the evening) and he ensured us he would let his staff know. Again, not a big problem!

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Another dish we ordered was the beef tenderloin. I didn’t get a chance to try it, however I was told it was delicious, cooked to their liking and had minimal traces of fat. The plating was beautifully executed with a nice variety of sides to accompany it including baked potato wedges and roasted veggies.

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We also ordered the T34 Charcuterie. This thing is so badass – there’s no better way to serve Charcuterie than on a large chopping block! I didn’t get to try any of the items as this couple arrived a bit later than us and we were all pretty well stuffed by the time it reached the table. It comes with an assortment of cured and smoked meats, pate, mustard’s and relishes, pickled vegetables, three cheese assortment, rustic bread and pickled quail eggs. A little bit of everything! A charcuterie is the perfect way to share a meal with a number of people. It encourages conversation and a shared food experience. Everything was beautifully arranged and prepared fresh. This is definitely something to try when you visit.

The bottom line here is that Table 34 is a great new spot in downtown Burlington. A few kinks need to be worked out but there’s no questioning the quality of the dishes here. You might leave with your wallet feeling a little less full in comparison to your stomach, but it’s well worth it. Everyone deserves to treat themselves once and a while and this could be the place to do that. The food was prepared fresh and served hot, the staff was incredibly attentive (shout out to our server Andrea for making our night extra special). The restaurant has such a warm, relaxing atmosphere and it’s obvious the owner really cares about the happiness of his guests. I watched Moe visit each table that night, making sure everyone was enjoying their meals and having a positive experience. I have no doubt that this restaurant will thrive and continue to grow with much success!

Table 34 is located at 1455 Lakeshore Road East, Unit 3 on the corner of Lakeshore and Locust Street.

Website: www.table34.com

Happy eating!

-Rach
Table 34 Resto & Bar on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Easy, Cheesy Bacon Chicken Bake

This is my first time creating a recipe from only what I had available in the kitchen. This chicken bake is refreshing, delicious and indulgent. With 5 simple ingredients, it’s easy to make and in no time, you’ve got a satisfying dinner. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 (796ml) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1tbsp of Italian seasoning
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 2 large)
  • 1 package of bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried parsley flakes for garnish

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9×12 baking dish, combine the diced tomatoes (with juice), rice and half of the Italian seasoning. Place chicken breasts on top of tomato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remaining Italian seasoning. Cover with tinfoil and place in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, based on size of chicken breasts.

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Check the chicken once or twice to be sure that it is fully cooked. Also check to see that the rice is fully cooked from the tomato juice. If not, add a 1/4 cup of water and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Once fully cooked, sprinkle shredded cheese and chopped bacon on top and return to the oven until the cheese has melted and started to lightly brown. Approximately 5 minutes.

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Garnish with dried parsley flakes. Serve immediately.

I served this dish on its own as it was pretty filling but a fresh salad or grilled vegetable would be a great addition. The tomatoes bring a juicy freshness, combined with the gooey cheese and crunchy, salty bacon, it’s to die for!

Try this out and give me your feedback in the comments below!

Happy eating!

-Rach

Sarcoa Restaurant and Bar

Spontaneity is a wonderful thing.

A last minute decision to spend our summer night on a patio for dinner with my family turned out to be a wonderful experience. I haven’t made it down to Hamilton’s waterfront in a long time and was excited to try out a place my father suggested for dinner (his treat)! We wanted to enjoy the beautiful warm summer air, and could not have chosen a better place to do just that.

Sarcoa is located right on the waterfront with a beautifully designed patio and bar large enough to accommodate the many number of guests. The patio directly faces the water which offers the perfect backdrop for a sunset dinner.

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We started off at the bar and had a few drinks before heading over to our table. When I sat down, I immediately felt like I was on vacation, the atmosphere outside pulls off a classy, relaxing, resort-like feel which instantly calms you (the alcohol probably helped too).  The bar is long and spacious, the chairs are very comfortable and it provides a wonderful view of the water and passing boats. There were large umbrellas everywhere which I was happy to see, as it offered ample shade.

As we took our seats we were greeted by the chef who was also our waiter for the night – Ben. What a delight it was to share our evening with him. He knows the menu inside and out and his passion for great food is infectious.

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When we got our starters I knew I would have a lot to write about. The smoked brisket poutine is definitely something you need to experience. Although, I would recommend sharing it with a partner – the brisket was perfectly tender and the juice that came from it created a light savoury gravy that you most certainly didn’t feel guilty eating. The fries were crispy and thick with just a touch of salt – not soggy or greasy. Another starter we tried was the arugula salad. The  arugula was fresh, crisp, and topped with walnuts, feta, red onion and drizzled with a light dressing. The bitter and nutty flavours in the salad made for a delicious start to the meal. The caesar  salad had a creamy but light dressing with large strips of smoked bacon. I believe the croutons were toasted sour-dough, but I could be mistaken. Regardless they were a nice compliment to the salad that had the perfect amount of lemon tart and bite from the parmesan cheese.

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Our main dishes didn’t disappoint either. We were all equally pleased with the quality, quantity and level of freshness from our meals.

Chicken and waffles: I was especially looking forward to trying a bite of the chicken and waffles. It sounded amazing on the menu and when it arrived at our table, it looked even better. Although this dish is listed as an appetizer on the menu, the portion size could easily make it qualify as a main. The herb waffle was very interesting and played well with the white sausage gravy which was creamy yet not too heavy. It coated the chicken well and I was told there seemed to be hints of nutmeg in the dish.

Flank Steak: This dish was amazing – full of flavour. The bed of kimchi provided a nice, crisp and flavourful base for the steak to rest on.  Although the kimchi sauce was a bit too spicy for the person who had it, the heat didn’t stay on the tongue for long. Again, the sauce was light and didn’t overwhelm the dish. The steak was tender, juicy and cooked to medium rare. The dish also came with mushrooms and a smoked pepper puree.

Roasted Chicken: I chose this dish after long contemplating the daily pasta. I was very pleased with my choice (although the pasta was just as delicious – more on that in a second). The chicken was cooked to perfection. The skinless breast was lightly browned to a satisfying crisp and was so juicy and tender. My favourite part about this dish was the gnocchi. In the beginning we couldn’t figure out how they managed to bring so much flavour to what can normally be a bland dish. The large cubes were hand made early that morning, cooked and seared in a pan briefly in butter which provided a nice smoky flavour. I also enjoyed that the chicken came with edamame as it added nice colour to the dish and a contrasting texture.

Daily Pasta: The pasta of the day came with chorizo, red onion, cherry tomatoes, spinach and a creamy white wine sauce topped with parmesan on a bed of Tagliatelle pasta. The reason I was so torn between this dish and the chicken was the chorizo. I love chorizo. I knew I would be able to sneak a couple bites of the pasta so decided I’d be safe to try the chicken. The pasta itself was cooked well, not too soft or undercooked. The sauce was full of flavours which balanced well with the thick chunks of chorizo. There was a healthy amount of spinach and tomatoes making this a very colourful and filling dish.

Bed of Greens with Pan Seared Arctic Char: For a lighter meal, if you’re full from your chicken and waffles appetizer, the salads are a great option. A wonderful feature on the menu allows you to add their grilled flank steak, berbere rubbed chicken, or pan seared arctic char to the salad. The greens came with a light tangy dressing, shaved carrots, pickled mushrooms and asparagus. The Arctic char was obviously fresh and flaky with a mild flavour (not too fishy) and minimal seasoning. A very refreshing summer option!

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You’d think we were full by now (we were) and rolling around on the floor, but we couldn’t pass up a glance at the desert menu. Of course an innocent glance resulted in us all ordering desert. I had the cocoa nib crusted milk chocolate cheesecake that came with a home made pistachio ice cream. The cheesecake was out of this world. The coating was crunchy and chewy and the cheesecake was moist and rich. The ice cream was full of pistachio chunks which were so tasty. It also came with dark chocolate ganache, which was out of this world. It was so rich and went wonderfully with the chocolate cheesecake.

We also ordered the green tea creme brulee with caramel foam (yes, caramel foam) and banana ice cream. This desert is new to their menu and the flavour combinations are so creative and well thought out. I got a chance to try the caramel foam, but was too slow for the creme brulee. Not to worry, I hear it was delicious! The caramel foam was light and airy and had just enough caramel flavour to compliment the green tea brulee.

As Sarcoa states itself, this restaurant is a beautiful place with beautiful food. The atmosphere is inviting and trendy and the food matches this style with beautiful presentation and creative pairings. All dishes are made from scratch in house.

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Oh, and don’t forget the view of course!

Sarcoa Restaurant and Bar is located at 57 Discovery Drive in Hamilton, ON.

Happy eating!

-Rach

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