Adventures in Chow - 'Burbs Bistro, Ajax
Had a lovely meal at 'Burbs Bistro last night in Ajax. The decor is superb for a suburban resto, all polished black wood, crown molding and recessed ceilings. Very posh looking, although the outside is definitely lacking due to the strip mall setting. Service was very attentive and surprisingly mature from university age ladies. We ordered a fois gras appetizer to share (couldn't possibly eat one myself), which consisted of a nicely seared piece of a good size on a crouton, layered with baby spinach and delicate onion strings in a cherry shallot sauce. Very nice and rich, the combinations of flavours was excellent. The foie gras needed a touch of sodium to really push it up a bit, but it was very good. Very reasonable markups on the wine (baseline test...Wolfblass Yellow Label $35). We ordered a favourite (certainly not expensive) and had it decanted at the table. Totally unnecessary, but endearing.
I ordered from the regular menu; an Australian lamb shank brained in red wine and shallots, with a chocolate sauce (yes chocolate), over a bed of ancho root vegetables. The lamb was good, fall off the bone tender with enough fat to keep it very moist. The lamb was not as hot as it could have been, but was served with the piping sauce, which had the promised richness of chocolate. The combination with the chili-heat of the ancho vegetables was amazing! Similar to the mayan hot chocolate you can get in shot-format at Soma, the tastes really did work and were something very different from the ordinary. Hubbie also had lamb, but ordered from the blackboard menu. He had sirloin of lamb, medium rare, with buttermilk mash and seasonal vegetables. The lamb was very tender and cooked perfectly. I found the dish a touch bland, but compared to an entree spiked with ancho, I would think that, wouldn't I? One observation on the blackboard menu (and the dessert menu) was that it was very "winter" focused...lots of hearty meats, root vegetables, rich sauces, and heavy desserts. I would have appreciated the option of more seasonal dessert offerings, instead of the trio of creme brule (made a little more summery by the margarita and daiquiri flavours), or carrot cake. With no berries, or sorbets, or "lighter" fare we passed on dessert, instead enjoying a beautifully served blueberry tea.
No kitchen noise, very conscientious seating, and a half full resto on a Tuesday night made for a pleasant atmosphere. Would most definitely return!
$160 for two with a reasonable wine.