Monday, February 1, 2010

Winterlicious: Beer Bistro

This past Saturday the boy and I went downtown to do some tux shopping/research. We very rarely find ourselves downtown together so I took the opportunity to take the boy to a spot that was my fave when I was up here working a few years ago, Beer Bistro. We got there around 2pm and were not expecting too much of a crowd since we were in the business district on a Saturday. Little did either of us know that Winterlicious had started. Those of you not from TO, Winterlicious is alot like what was called Restaurant Week in Boston and LA. It's a two week festival where various restaurants in the city offer very reasonably priced three course prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. This was clearly the reason for a crowded dinning room at Beer Bistro, so we took a spot at a bar along the window.

As the boy had never been here before I wanted him to have the benefit of perusing the entire menu in addition to the prix fixe options. The one thing that stood out to us that I don't remember having had the last time I was here a few years ago were the corn dogs. The menu description is : duck confit, cream ale, pineapple mustard and cherry beer ketchup. If you didn't already have me at the name Corn Dogs, the duck confit did it. The boy was sold on Corn Dogs, despite the fact he's not a huge duck guy.

We ordered these on top of the Winterlicious menu, we couldn't help it. The prix fixe is a great deal, but we also just had to try those delicious corn bread covered morsels. I'm a taster when at a restaurant. If I could order one of everything on a menu just for a taste of each I would. So we started with the corn dogs and they were delish! The slightly sweet cornbread with the oh so savoury and tender duck conift dipped in the cherry beer ketchup was pure heaven. I totally preferred the ketchup over the mustard. The only thing I'd change was to maybe may the mustard more savoury potentially even spicy to ad another flavor and to counterbalance the sweet mustard. But other than that this was one delicious dish.

We moved on to our starters. I got the House Applewood Smoked Salmon with white beer cream cheese and oatmeal stout pancakes. The salmon and cream cheese were delicious garnished with some thinly sliced red onion and capers. Perfect little morsels. The pancakes were lackluster and a bit bland, as well as cold and added very little to the dish other than as a vessel for everything else, which wasn't really necessary. The boy got the salad of Winter greem with beer cured double smoked bacon and roasted garlic vinaigrette. Let's be honest bacon makes everything better. That being said the roasted garlic vinaigrette is really what made the salad. It was creamy without being heavy and just full of that slightly sweet roasted garlic flavor.

For mains, the boy go the Bistro Burger with Cheese, no pics of this I'm sorry to say as he dove right in and thoroughly enjoyed it. I got the Spicy Mussels which totally lived up to their name. I think I just saw mussels and quite a few of the big blue cast iron pots of them go by that I just ordered them. The spice caught me a little off guard and while it was not too much it turned out to be not what I was in the mood for. The mussels themselves were cooked perfectly and there were great flavors in the dish. It was just my personal preference that didn't like the heat. I was also having food envy on this cold day for the girl next to us' gnocchi. They just looked so hearty and warming, I was so wishing I had ordered them. The bridal diet won out though, especially after the corn dogs I needed to pick something a bit lighter.

We also got an order of Frites (pictured at the top of this post). The boy loves fries and probably would have ordered them regardless. But just in case he didn't I went on and on about the virtues of the fries at Beer Bistro so much that they were a given. They were cooked perfectly with just enough crispiness and great potato flavor. Paired with the smokey homemade ketchup and of course some mayo they were perfect and I'd image the main reason (along with the corn dogs) I gained back the 2 lbs I lost last week!

For dessert I got the apple crumble, while the boy got the chocolate mousse. Both were fine but not earth shattering. The star for me was definitely the corn dogs. That being said the options for the prix fixe are great with something for everyone. The Veal Cheek Tikka Masala sounds interesting and something I may go back to try. All in all if you've never been to Beer Bistro take advatange of the great deal that is Winterlicious and get down there and try some of their amazing beer list as well. Enjoy!

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