Finally made it to Fid, generally considered these days as the best restaurant in town. The room is fairly small, a square with windows out to the street at one end and a bar with a sideways-keyhole shaped opening into the kitchen at the other. It is done in tones of silver and red, with the kitchen dividing wall finsihed with simple chipboard that has been urethaned. The room is bright and pleasant in a modern style, if a bit cold to the eye.
I was there for lunch, which may be a bit unfair since the menu is more limited than at night. Dennis Johnston, the chef and owner, came out for a visit prior to ordering. He is a proponent of the slowfood movement and uses ingredients that are typical of that style. Dishes were certainly different and unique, but left mixed reviews in my group. Appetizers consisted of spring rolls that are not cooked but rather rolled sushi-style and served with a peanut sauce, which generally left those who ordered them somewhat disappointed; a spicy beef salad that was very good, marred only for me by the presence of raw onion; and a heirloom beet salad with balsamic glaze that was lovely. All were artfully presented and of reasonable portion size for appetizers.
The mains chosen were kao soi, a Thai chicken "semi-soup" according to the waiter, but which looked and tasted like a Mr. Noodles with some chicken, Thai chili and coconut milk added, and topped with the similar style of noodle that had been toasted cruchy --tasty enough, but not what was expected; green curry chicken with sticky rice, which was outstanding; pad thai, equally outstanding; and steak frites, which disappointed -- a piece of flank steak the size and shape of a hot dog, served with a cup of potato strings that reminded us of Hostess hickory sticks in color and shape, although they were french fries. So a draw, two wins, and a loss on those choices.
Desserts tried were a chocolate mousse (good but surprisingly plain in the presentation) and poached pears in a wine sauce that were very well received.
The service was impeccable and prices were not outrageous at lunch except for the wine which seemed a bit high.
I feel somewhat badly posting this review based upon a lunchtime visit because I have a feeling that the evening is where Fid shines. Nevertheless, while enjoyable, based on the single experience I would not rate it ahead of other places in Halifax. I need to give it another chance, this time in the evening.
re: Greg B.
re: Bob Mac
I agree with Greg...Fid is outstanding and I *think* that the food is inventive enough that Haligonian tastes are somewhat surprised by the dishes. Fid is not a Keg, not an East Side Mario's, but is easily the best dining experience in Halifax. I say definitely go again, BUT keep an open mind. IN restaurants of Fid's caliber, one should never 'expect' a dish to be any certain way.
It has been a few years since I had lunch at Fid, but I ate there once a week for the last year that I lived in Halifax (2002), and the lunch menu retains several of the same dishes.
I completely agree that the green curry and pad thai are amazing, but I would also put the thai beef salad in this category, despite the "raw onions" (scallions, as I recall).
If someone had ordered the cocconut and galangal soup, this would also have been put in the win column. I agree that the uncooked springroll is a little underwhelming, but what can one expect for like 70 calories (which I suspect is the point of this offering).
Those are the dishes with which I am familiar , but the current "fresh sweet potato and double-smoked bacon agnolotti with a chive butter" sounds vaguely edible (Yum!!!!).
Out of the dishes that I am familiar with, 75% are total hits. I also recall the price being $12 - $15 for two courses (only double the cost of fast food).
I miss Fid sooooo much.