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Reviewed January 28, 2004   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Bouchon

38 Wellington St. E., Toronto, Canada
Assorted Breadbasket | the highlight of this was the thin bread chips (like bagel chips) that were included. I snacked on these a lot while waiting for our orders. I like bagel chips. :o) So I'm a bit biased here.

Fried Cod Cake and Mayonnaise Sauce | at first forgotten, but made up in double portion, this egg shaped fish cake was very subtle in taste, but chewy in texture. It reminded me of the Chinese fish paste or even like the fish ball batter but smooth and chewy, with green onions dotting the inside. The blandish and doughy batter required a bit of the mayonnaise sauce to help it out. A free item on the house, and a good thing as I wouldn't order it on its own.

Carrot & Ginger Soup with Potato Gnocchi | a very thick "soup" of carrot puree, tasted more heavily of sour cream than the ginger I would have expected. Dressed with two fried gnocchi (very smooth in texture actually looking like smaller versions of the fried cod cake) and a sprinkling of fresh chives, I found this dish standard and not all that spectacular.

Crispy Calamari with Cucumber & Feta Salad, Tartar Sauce | This beautifully presented dish was very tender, with a generous portion of a whole lightly floured calamari in the shape of a "flower". As the server had indicated, the calamari was very moist, crisp and tender and not a bit stringy. The tartar sauce was not required for the enjoyment of this dish. It was like a well cooked Chinese salt and pepper squid, without the salt and pepper.

Braised Beef Bourguignon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes | a generous portion of beef tendons (?) were provided on rich creamy mashed potatoes, and sauteed shitake mushrooms. The jus was heavenly, rich and thick, slightly sweet, full of flavour. The beef was tender and fall-off-the-fork tender; and when paired with the sauce very nice.

Lamb Shank and Mushrooms Ravioli with Merguez Sausages | again, here we had another generous piece of lamb that was very tender and wonderful in flavour. My companion, who happens to really like mushrooms was a bit disappointed that there was "only one ravioli", however commented that it lacked substance. The lamb, he claimed, was the star of this dish. The sausage, a little out of place.

Fresh Raspberry Clafoutti | an impressive list of house made desserts to choose from (impressive due to the fact that there was a B52 creme brulee, a chocolate cake, 2 chocolate tarts, a lemon tart, a apple and almond paste flan, and the fresh raspberry clafoutti). I like clafouttis and hence took advantage of this dessert. Like all clafouttis, the thin and rich pastry crust was dotted with fresh raspberries, a little sweet and tart at the same time, hidden amongst a smooth and creamy layer of custard. Very nice. However, the presentations of the desserts on the plates were lacking, as it was literally the dessert on the plate. A sprig of mint? A dusting of powdered sugar? Oh well, one trades presentation for selection. Overall, this was an enjoyable dessert, especially when enjoyed with coffee or tea (i.e. the loose leaf teas offered at Bouchon).

Conclusion: Friendly and youthful servers who took care to ask how things were. Sometimes they weren't too attentive, but overall, standard. This is a restaurant for a casual outing, but also one where the food is a little above norm. Expect somewhat slower service, especially on evenings when there are many patrons.

3.0

out of 5.0

noteworthy
value


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