Le Chien Noir, Kingston
Home sick. Catching up on a few reviews...
Went to Kingston early in the month for a getaway and ended up at le chien Noir for the first time. The old standby, Chez piggy, had idsappointed us once too often so decided to give this place a try.
We opted for the Prix Fixe, $35/head, due to budget reasons, but really wanted to try all the Foie Gras dishes. The Prix Fixe started with a choice of salads and I opted for the Caesar after being assured the dressing contained anchovies (so many people just leave them out and use bacon for the salty aspect). It was a reinterpretation of the caesar, with the romaine lettuce being shredded very finely, tossed with the dressing, and served with quality parmesan and house made croutons. It didn't quite deliver what they were hoping, though, as the dressing was a little too creamy for my taste and the saltiness of the anchovies didn't shine through like I'd hoped. My SO had a house salad with a balsamic reduction which was quite good, however, and in retrospect I would have gone for that instead.
The choices for mains on the prix fixe was limited. I ordered the steak frites and my SO had the roast chicken.
The steak frites arrived with aioli for dipping, and a large piece of melting (some sort of Quebec artisanal) blue chees on the steak. The frites were the thin cut kind, not quite Jaimie Kennedy, but good nonetheless, and the aioli was good as well.
The steak, however, was transcendent. With the caveat that I am not a big steak person, and rarely go to steak houses, this was the best steak I have had in 5 years. I didn't ask what the cut was, but it was one of those big baseball shaped steaks, full of flavour, melt in your mouth, the blue cheese perfectly complementing the meat. A true pleasure.
For dessert I had a creme brulee, which was nicely executed, very creamy, nice portion of caramelized sugar on top, but not exquisite. Perhaps a touch too eggy.
I am hesitant to make any real comparisons with Chez piggy as we didn't try anything that was too challenging for the chef, but the last time I was at Chez Piggy I also had the steak frites and was quite disappointed: tough steak, less than stellar frites. hence, or the time being, I would say that Chien Noir is the dinner destination in k-town.
I should also mention the extensive and affordable wine list. Many wines available by the glass, but we opted for a couple of bottles of High Vines Pinot Noir, from Languedoc, that was (i'm guessing)about double the consigner's prices.
One last comment: while the bread they served with the meal was OK, a baguette of unknown origin, they served it with those little sealed packets of whipped butter that you peel open. Why does any high end restaurant do this anymore? At $200 for the meal (with tax and tip), I would expect a slightly higher attention to detail.