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Canoe - A Hit & A Miss

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Well, with the Christmas money that I received from my mother in law, I decided to take the hubby and myself over to Canoe for lunch.

When we left, we let out a collective `Harumph`... It really didn't blow us away. Sure, it's a nice scene, amazing view, friendly service (without being familiar). The food, however, was the main event and it see-sawed between excellent and yawn. The foie gras app? WONDERFUL! Shrimp cocktail? LOVELY! The calf's liver main? dry.... The scallop main? Boring. The corn chowder base was bland and there was a dollop of what tasted awfully like cocktail sauce on them... I know it wasn't, but let's just call it 'Memories of Cocktail Sauce'.

Wine selection made by our server? She poured my husband's glass of $20 Spanish somethingorother (I forgot to write it down) without letting him taste. Which is entirely forgiveable for the average place, but when you are paying almost $200 for lunch, I just expect things to be done one step better. Maybe I am expecting too much.

The bouquet on the nose was amazing but the resulting taste was watery... Not something he would have chosen. She let me taste before giving my wine the full pour (different wine) and that was great... It turned out to be a good choice with the scallops...

We advised her that we weren't in a hurry - i.e. not on a corporate lunch schedule, so there was no need to speed us through it all. At her suggestion, she said she would allow a little time between courses. Unfortunately, that screwed up the kitchen somewhere as we ended up waiting almost 40 minutes for the mains.... Which, nice view aside, is a bit much... I regretted mentioning that we weren't in a hurry. We should have just left it alone and then taken our time eating. Live and learn.

So we skipped dessert and called it a lunch.

It wasn't bad. It wasn't great. Based on what I had read on this board, I had hoped for a little more. I think, for the money, I'll stick to my old fave, the Studio Cafe!

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  1. What exactly does a 'Harumph' sound like?? I am very curious. Can you call me and let me hear you do that!

    1. I'm with you, KG. Perhaps it's our Kawartha heritage, but I always look for substance first, style second. The beauty of Studio Cafe is that you compromise neither. Canoe shouldn't have taken advantage of your easy-going, polite nature by serving up sloppy service. Wish I could think of a single restaurant with a view that lives up to their typically high prices.

      1. I've been to Canoe twice: once for an anniversary dinner about 8 years ago; the second time for a private dinner dance about 2 years ago.

        We had "okay" food both times - nothing worthy of the reputation or the prices.

        We have had great food at Auberge du Pommier - another Oliver and Bonacini restaurant.

        1. Canoe is a expense card visit when wowing clients. I wouldnt call it a foodie experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: to_frankie

            Well, live and learn, like I said.... In Peterborough at least, I get a meal at a decent price.... Parkhill on Hunter... Cervantes... Ahhhhh....

          2. Sorry to hear that. I have ordered the calf's liver twice in the past 6 months and it was great both times - not dry in the least.

            I think the notion of a Canoe experience gets built up. If I was paying that much, I would probably expect a lot more. But I have only ever eaten while parked at the bar, and it is the best bar grub I've ever had ;)

            1. Have to agree with NovoCuisine..I am at Canoe at least once a week on my own coin at the bar...Sitting at the bar in the late afternoon enjoying the view and eating off of the bar menu is a great experience..The drinks are some of the best town and more reasonable than people think..

              1. hmmm...i have been to both canoe and studio cafe and i can't believe you are comparing the two!! Canoe is (imho) far better than studio...and the prices are not that different...studio is totally hotel style..they are good at it but i wouldn't put them on the culinary map of excellence..the unionized staff is very well trained ( i think most of them are lifers ...can't blame them...excellent pay, benefits and job security...you can screw up constantly and still work there) anyway..sorry..a little union rant there (unions do protect the employee and abuse does run rampant in kitchens..i admire them..i don't think i could work in a kitchen)..anyway..canoe, for me, by a mile...

                1. The act of allowing her to taste her wine with scallops (no doubt a mid-priced white), but not allowing her husband to taste the $20 by-the-glass red first, that alone is unforgiveable. It's the sort of thing that can put an edge on the entire night, let alone the 40 minute wait that followed. Canoe is okay, but for their prices average doesn't cut it.