Summerlicious 2010 is in full swing. While many restaurants cut corners and serve up a bare bones menu just so they can say they have a prix fixe offering, the rare ones rise to take advantage of what Summerlicious ought to be: An opportunity to tease the general public with haute cuisine.
This year we tried out SEN5ES, and boy did it stimulate all 5. The restaurant was elegantly decorated and had a mix of textures and designs that made you want to run your fingers across everything. The ambient music was full, melodic, and upbeat; more like a lounge than a typical dining room.
The food was simply amazing. While dinner was at $45, putting it on the high end of the Summerlicious range, I venture that the calibre of artistry and attention to detail, not to mention textures and tastes, would put it on par with much more expensive evenings out.
- Finely sliced roasted veal tenderloin on tuna fish sauce, tea smoked egg with arugula lettuce and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
The rare veal went very well with the bitter arugula and the smokey egg. The sauce unexpectedly was more a tuna puree, giving a fuller feel on the tongue than a watery sauce would.
- Tian of red tuna, salmon and hamachi tartare, avocado, cucumber, vine ripe tomato, aged balsamic glace
Looking at this item on the menu, I thought I'd get something like a sushi roll. I was pleasantly surprised at the way it was prepared. The 3 different kinds of fish definitely gave a more complex taste. The pureed avocado went better with the tartare than slices in a maki roll would. The crunchy and salty lotus root chip added another dimension of flavour and visual appeal.
- Prime beef tenderloin and tempura prawn, wasabi mashed potatoes, bean bundle in bacon and natural veal
The tempura was a little over-cooked, something that could be excused a bit given the size of the particular prawn used. It was still quite enjoyable. The beef was lovely and perfectly cooked. The carrots were very yummily buttery garlicky, and the mashed potatoes with a mild wasabi kick was great.
- Roasted Grand Mariner liqueur duck breast, duck leg confit lasagna and orange duck jus
I totally loved this dish. Although the duck was a little tough, the skin was wonderfully crisp and salty. The best part though was the duck confit lasagna. That's gotta be one of the best lasagnas anywhere, although with just one layer of pasta on top, it might qualify more as a pot pie. Still, it was rich, creamy and just awesome!
- Lemon-lavender-blueberry dome with chocolate arts, lemon-grass vanilla sauce
Looks like a spaceship, or one of those skyscraper car parks in Chicago. The dome was mild, light, and (usually reserved for beverages rather than food) refreshing.
- Cherry jubilee, crepe suzette and vanilla ice cream
Cherries, warm crepes and ice cream.... I scream!