River Cafe Tasting menu
Tasting Menu at the River Cafe
We started with a Sparkling wine, Spanish I think. Conner came out to see if we had any personal dislikes and allergies. I had an awesome birthday dinner and the wines and service were flawless. The courses were as follows:
* Cortez Gem Oyster, on the shell with lemon on ice.
* Egg yolk and truffle oil ravioli with slow oasted pork, smoked and brined. (G something White wine)
* Elk Carpaccio with Japanese pear, blue cheese, walnuts and microgreens.
* Seared Sturgeon with smoked tomato broth and forno roasted clams.
* Halibut topped with Saskatoon Berries, along with a beet and chevre strudel. Served alongside freshly shucked scallops on mustard greens with a Japanese vinagarette. (Cab Sav)
* Rare Muscovy duck breast from Sunworks with a pan cassoulet and "happy bacon". (Pinot Noir)
* Roasted Driview lamb loin and chop, vanilla parsnip mash, choke cherry reduction, pearl onion and brussel sprout fricasse. (Cote Du Rhone)
* Eight types of house made house ice cream. Mint chocolate, toffee, creme fraiche, chai tea, espresso, pumpkin, caramel, vanilla with a selection of cookies. (Rooster Dessert Wine)
Now, I've never been on the recieving end of a tasting menu, so I never had a sense of what it's like to be "in the dark" as to what is coming next. At any other time, I read the menu, order, and to a large extent how I would rate my experience is based on the difference between my expectations and what arrives in front of me. Movies are the same way, books, video games and so forth. In this case, the expectation was high because of quality of the kitchen; but with so many courses, you find yourself less invested in a single entree. As a result, everything tastes dynamite because you feel more open to exploring different tastes. As the wines and the food progress, the flavour notes increase in drama. Once redialed, my expectations were rewarded, like the dramatic arc, leading to the climatic last main course.
One should not read a post like this when it is close to lunch and you have skipped breakfast...I am ravenous!
River has not disappointed any time I have visited. The last time I was there I had nibblies consisting of their grilled quail and dinner feature, charcutterie plate which were both delicious.