Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Getting Silly At Czehoski

You, I'm sure, have been waiting with baited breath to hear about my outing to Czehoski last month. And, I'm also sure, you are anxiously awaiting the promised photographs of said meal. Well, here it is and here they are.

Neither Darlene nor I had been to Czehoski before, so despite seeing the pictures on the website were unsure as to what to expect. When we arrived, we were seated at a booth just beside the kitchen. This is not as bad as it sounds, as Czehoski has an open kitchen setup, and we got to watch the four kitchen staff going full-tilt boogie for the hour or so we were there. It was really kind of neat.

We both started off with a beer. For me this goes without saying, but Dar doesn't drink much beer so it was something a little different for her. I would like to tell you what kind of beer I drank, I really would. However, I can't remember except for the fact that it was Austrian, it was tasty, and I'd never tried it before. Darlene had a strawberry-flavoured number that wasn't bad at all.

The first challenge of the evening came when we realized that the menu they placed in front of us bore very little resemblance to the menu we had scouted on the Summerlicious website, or in fact, the menu posted on the Czehoski website.

This meant of course, no Satan On Horseback (salted pork belly wrapped in double smoked bacon) for me. Instead for an appetizer, I went for the Poutine with Bacon Gravy.

For those of you not familiar with this gem of French-Canadian cuisine, it is french fries with cheese curds and brown gravy. Normally it would be chicken gravy, but they had to be evil and serve it with bacon gravy. Oh my god was it good. It was a large partion, too.

Darlene ordered the Mission Figs stuffed with chutney and wrapped in double smoked bacon. Do you sense a theme here? We were a little put out when it arrived, because they really should have said Mission FIG with chutney, etc etc. There was only one of them, but it was one of the largest figs I've ever seen. I don't have a picture of it, because I'm a far better cook than photographer, and the picture I did take was out of focus. Oh well. The fig was delicious. I was allowed a small taste, and the bacon really complemented the fig (you are SO good looking).

For the main course I had a rough time. When going to these events, I like to stretch myself and try new things, but the two menu items that kept jumping into my face were the char-grilled burger and the flatiron steak cooked sous vide. When we asked the waitress her opinion on the matter, she said,

"Oh, try the steak for sure. It comes with a gorgonzola cream sauce that's just silly!"

Silly, eh? I'd never heard a sauce described quite that way before so, intrigued, I ordered the Flatiron Steak with gorgonzola cream sauce and mixed greens. You'll notice that in the picture at the top of the post, the steak came with frites (pronounced 'freets'). Apparently, the steak is normally served with frites, and they had changed it to mixed greens for the Summerlicious menu. However, she said that the kitchen staff was prone to serving it with frites anyway, so she would put a note on the order. Well, when the order was up, sure enough, there were frites with it, so she gave me the mixed greens as well. Not that I object to frites you understand, it's that I'd just polished off a large plate of poutine.

Darlene really had no problems with her selection, and ordered the Truffled Brie hand-made Pierogies with crème fraiche and riesling braised sauerkraut. Yeah, I thought it sounded pretty good, too.

I don't know if any of you have ever had pierogies made with brie before, but damn. They were really tasty.

OK, I have to tell you about the steak and the silly sauce.

First of all, I tried the steak by itself. I ordered it medium-rare, and it was the most tender steak I have ever eaten in my life. It practically melted in my mouth. I find myself saying this a lot lately, but it was a superly cooked steak. Now, normally the gorgonzola sauce would be something I would cross the street to avoid, not being a fan of stinky cheese, but since I was supposed to be stretching myself, I tried it. It wasn't bad. It was creamy and tangy and set off the steak nicely. I don't know if it was silly or not, but it was yummy.

By this point, we were both getting rather full, due to the deceptively large portions, but still had dessert to go, as it was part of the prix fixe menu. I ordered the Chocolate Terrine, and Dar ordered the Lemon Polenta Cake.

Not much to say about the terrine, except that it was very very creamy, and very very tasty. The lemon polenta cake, now that was interesting. It's exactly like it sounds - a cake made from polenta, and flavoured with lemon. Not something I've ever seen on a menu before, but I liked it. Not quite cornbread, not quite lemon loaf.

The sevice was fast and friendly, the food was excellent, and the bill came to about $100, including taxes and tip. Not bad at all.

Czehoski is located at 678 Queen St. West in Toronto. You should check it out.

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