Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Black Hoof, A Nose to Tail restaurant

It's not everyday that you can leave a restaurant thinking, "I just ate raw horse...and really liked it!". If you're thinking of somewhere for dinner with your one or two friends (max three, they have small tables), and you're looking for something new, GO TO THE BLACK HOOF. Like Yours Truly, it's a pricey place but it's a place you've got to go for the experience of trying out new foods. They're known for being a nose-to-tail restaurant in Toronto (restaurants that use every part of the animal) and for doing a really good job of it.

They don't take reservations and the doors open prompty at 6pm. I suggest you be there by 5:45 to avoid a long wait!

The first on our list was the House Cured Meats ($19), with an extra side of bread ($4). Advised to be eaten from the lighter cuts to the stronger cuts (begin from the farthest right from this picture and work your way down the board). Cured meats isn't an art I'm familiar with so I'll just say they were good though I don't understand why they were so hyped up. I'd advise you to use the mustard sparingly as it has a pretty sharp flavour!

Roasted Bone Marrow ($9). I never thought I would ever get excited over seeing "Bone Marrow" served on a menu, but after going to Black Hoof - I do. You literally scrape some of the fat from the bone and spread it generously onto bread. Sprinkle a little of the garnishing on top and enjoy its fatty goodness. So fat...but so good.

Next were the Pork Carnitas Taco ($11). I've been having a slew of bad tacos lately from good restaurants, either too dry or too salty so I was hesitant about this one. But nope! The meat was juicy, mixed with the zestiness from the lime and a kick from cinnamon - Solid dish and definitely one of their safer ones.

Everyone talks about the bone marrow and the foie, but I haven't heard much love for the Spicy Horse Tartare ($16) which was my favourite for the night. On top of a bed of what tasted like Hickory Sticks which added a great kick to the dish, the horse tartare was fresh and had a surprisingly light flavour, and made even better with the little dallops of hollandaise. Despite the terrible accompanying picture, I highly recommend the Spicy Horse Tartare!

The Pork Belly and Nori ($16) was delicious too and I loved the presentation. The meat was so well-made - it was seared lightly on the outside so it has a slightly crispy skin, and the meat was soft and tender, fatty and packed with flavour. The only thing is pork belly made like this has always been very common in Northern Chinese restaurants and it's definitely growing in appearance in other restaurants. So for an experience factor, this is definitely on the safer level.

The Beef Heart and Mussels ($15) had a lot of flavours and textures coming together. It was a little tougher from the beef heart, but then they have the raw mussels that were soft (and squishy). The beef has a heavier flavour to it, but the mussels were light and a little citrusy. So it was just a lot of combinations in your mouth. Weird - but I didn't hate it. But it also didn't stand out in my mind as much as some other dishes (Bone marrow and Spicy Horse Tartare - are you getting how much I liked those yet?)

For our finale, we had the strange combination of Foie and Nutella ($25) that everyone seems to talk about. Foie gras on sweet bread, hazelnuts topped over and Nutella on the side. The foie is softer than I'm used to and the textures of everything combined is just strange to me. It's soft from the foie and the bread, and gooey from the Nutella.
They don't go badly together and really - anything with Nutella you can't go wrong but at $25 a plate - it's good to try just once and remember forever the strange tug and pull of the flavours working and then not working together. Bizarre.

Black Hoof on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Great Food, Great Service and Great Location. Nothing else to say except this was "great!!"

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