Winterlicious at Celestin
Just a quick review for those pondering their choices!
I went to Celestin last night with family, and I was very impressed, and highly recommend it. If I hadn't been lucky enough to try nearly the entire menu, I'd probably go back if I could!
The menu is above.
I normally don't touch the bread before a meal, but their bread was excellent.
The Crab Bisque was good, but was overshadowed by the other food for me. A very subtle curry flavour doesn't overwhelm the crab, but I thought that the other flavours did. My companions loved this dish.
The Ravioli were rich, delicate, and flavoured delicately. Excellent, but the portion size was lacking in my opinion. Perhaps not if you consider how rich they were though!
The Foie Gras was outstanding. I have never enjoyed foie gras like this before. It was so smooth and buttery, it was unlike anything I've had before. Very rich, the deceptively-small portion size turned out to be more than enough.
The Venison was excellent. Stewed with winter vegetables, the sauce was sweet, with a cinnamon flavour (I was reminded very much of the aroma of those miniature doughnuts one smell at the Ex or Canada's Wonderland, which is a good thing!). A perfect match for the juicy, flavourful meat.
The Scallops were good, but I was not as impressed with them as my companions, who raved about them. By no means was this a weak dish, but rather it didn't exceed my lofty expectations like so many other dishes did!
The Gnocchi were fabulous, the best I've ever had. "Light" and "fluffy" don't even begin. The subtle hazelnut and ricotta flavours blended perfectly. The highlight of the dinner, for me.
The desserts were both very good, but not as outstanding as the rest of the food.
The Mousse was lacking in hazelnut flavour, and was served in a terribly-considered vessel that bottlenecked at the top, so that top layer of the dessert was gone by one's first spoonful (which was where all the hazelnut was). The chocolate mousse at the bottom was very good, all the same.
The pot de creme was a creme brulee, from what I know! The lemon and huckleberry flavours were not very strong, but this was still excellent creme brulee.
The service was so so. Our waiter would begin his remarks of "Yes, very good!", "Absolutely madam!", "Oh, it's excellent, a superb choice!" complete with sacharrin smile, but seemed unable to finish them before turning to attend to another table.
Overall, a fabulous meal!
A word of warning: There is an 18% service charge automatically included.
Just to remind Hounds that they have no obligation under law to pay any "compulsory" service charge, a fact I welcome especially when having ordered an expensive bottle of wine. Used to have it taken off at the old (self-serve) Marché where the only tip needed was a few bucks for the busboy.
I agree, the winterlicious menu at Celestin is wonderful, and I'm glad that they add the gratuity!
I was invited out with a friend of mine who is notoriously cheap when it comes to tipping (has no problem spending $200 on a bottle of wine for himself though...), and it was nice to see the look on his face when he saw that it was included. And it saved me the bother of trying to conceal a wad of bills beneath my napkin! I would gladly go back to Celestin for dinner, but after the madness of winterlicious - for both the superb food and the professional service!