Ciao! Dec/Jan 2021 Dec/Jan 2021 - Page 47

NOLA
Neighbourhood ... St . Boniface Address ...... 101-300 Tache Ave Phone ............. 204-505-0760 Small plates .............. $ 11- $ 28
Those who remember Amici , Le Beaujolais and Dubrovnik as the defining temples of haute cuisine may be surprised by current picks . Today , dining “ fine ” is still elegant , but in a simpler way . White tablecloths are not the indicator of elegance ; instead , menus boasting dehydrated , fermented , smoked , charred and sous vide food are more likely markers .
Nola , the newest eatery at the corner of Tache and Marion in St . Boniface is one such case . A simple bare-tabled space filled with modern furnishings and lively chatter welcomes diners to their culinary adventure . This is the creation of two seasoned restaurant veterans : sandwich shop owner Mike Del Buono of King and Bannatyne and former chef de cuisine of deer and almond , Emily Butcher , notable for her television time on Food Network ’ s Top Chef Canada ( she finished sixth ). This creation gets our vote as best new restaurant of 2021 .
A menu of small plates has attracted diners like bees to honey , making reservations a tricky dance from opening day . Once a table is secured , Chef Butcher ’ s skills win over fans quickly . High performance cooking is on show here . This is fusion for the modern era , reflecting knowledgeable combinations of global ingredients now more readily available .
The first bite of smoked goldeye salad hints at what all the fuss is about . The mixture of shredded kale , soy braised mushroom , wild rice , miso mustard vinaigrette , sesame and crispy ciao ! reviews
parsnip reveals the subtlety of the cooking . Japanese karaage fried chicken , a crossover dish on both lunch and dinner menus , is equally fun . Crisp chicken sits atop a messy tangle of fermented slaw , covered with avocado and bonito flakes .
Dinner is also designed for sharing and equally spirited . Cultural and flavour mash ups put a new spin on classics and amp up new dishes . The addition of beet and fresh dill to beef tartare enhances the sweetness of each mouthful . Accompanying wonton crisps freshen this classic . Gunpowder roasted carrots pair honey glazed sweetness with earthy spice , candied pumpkin seeds , pumpkin seed butter and whipped feta .
Maple cured arctic char with wild rice perfectly combines Canadian ingredients on a bed of soy braised mixed veggies . Garnishing this satisfying stack with a generous dollop of caramelized onions and butter reveals the know-how of a kitchen unafraid to pay homage to homey classics .
Finish the meal with black sesame miso caramel cheesecake or an Earl Grey rosewater ice cream sandwich for a lasting taste of sweet fusion .
Nola is open Tue to Thu 5 pm - 10 pm , Fri and Sat 5 pm - 11 pm .
DAMECCA
Neighbourhood ....... St . James Address ........ 305 Madison Ave Phone ............. 204-306-1130 Entrées .................... $ 14- $ 40
Asian fusion food has a reputation for being a messy hybrid of cuisines or dumbing down the cooking of different cultures . But a new generation of cooks and restaurants is drawing on people ’ s curiosity about food and embracing the availability of global ingredients to present notable and exciting flavourful mash-ups of culinary cultures .
Damecca Lounge quietly opened this summer but is gaining steam on the culinary scene with its bold flavours that combine elements of various cuisines . Owner Nam Truong is simply a man with a dream who really loves food . The spacious open concept room is plainly furnished with booths and high-top seats , offset by exuberant service that builds anticipation for delicious dishes .
The menu draws on Truong ’ s heritage , with its influences of Vietnam and Japan . Typical sections ( starters , pasta , salads , burgers , sushi and steak ) don ’ t hint towards anything extraordinary . But read past the headlines , and you see ingredients like yuzu , truffle and miso appear through the menu , mingling in unexpected ways . Comfort foods like calamari , flatbread and pasta are given such flavour twists with great success .
House cured salmon in a truffle yuzu dressing is another stand out . Slices of salmon are rolled around fine slivers of red onion and topped with micro cilantro and black tobiko . The dish is anchored by a pool of the pungent dressing , which sings with zips of the grapefruit-like Japanese citrus .
Mushroom truffle pappardelle is filled with delights . Perfect pasta is generously lathered in miso cream sauce kissed with truffle oil . Chunky pieces of cremini , pickled grape tomatoes , shallots and fresh sage hits all the right notes to create a symphony of flavour that seamlessly melds Italian and Asian influence .
Caesar salad with romaine and kale introduces pickled red onion and crushed fried shallots to expand the texture profile . Grana Padano ’ s salticiao ! / dec / jan / two thousand twenty-one 45