Yet Another Black Hoof Review (YABHR)
I figure there should be an acronym since we all enjoy writing about this place so much. I haven't had the time or inclination to go out to to a place for the food in awhile, figured the Black Hoof was the perfect salve to a tiring day.
Went at 8PM on a Monday, was told it would be a 30 minute wait when it took a whole hour to get seated... A little unreasonable of an estimate but we were in the right mood to wait. The layout is lively with a long bar introducing the small dining room with very closely placed seating and thus a little loud with the hard surfaces all around.
Dishes came in good time:
Bread (small) $2 - Thuet bread, good. Decent portion with +10 half-slices
Charcuterie (small) $16 - Magnificent! An exercise in enjoying the purest form of a variety of flavors. We had duck prosciutto, chicken liver mousse, chorizo, salami, rabbit, pork neck, and a few others. Everything was shaved razor thin and presented like still art, while there were favorites each item was distinctive and the whole experience was an awesome tasteventure. Cute little house-pickled vegetables and a grainy mustard served to help break the palette along the way.
Marrow $5 - I haven't had it before just presented on it's own in the bone. Served with a few slices of bread and sea salt. A fun but unassuming little dish.
Scallop ceviche with dried pig's ears - About 8 scallops were ceviched whole served with a salsa on top and a twigs of dried pig's ears. Competently put together but both items were a little bland and the dry sticks of pig's ears didn't seem to jive with the pool of ceviche it rested on. Would pass on it.
Raw asparagus salad $9 - I thought it looked surprisingly large until I realised it was 'cause they shaved the asparagus using the meat slicer but it's used to great effect. A thin vinaigrette and proscuitto are thrown in for taste. Good but too much prosciutto oversalted an otherwise nice 'recess' from the meat orgy. I do hope they keep vegetarian item(s) on the menu.
Foie gras on brioche $20 - A very generous serving (2 'lobes') served on top of a delightful slice of crisp buttered brioche. Seared perfectly with a slight crisp that I would gladly hold as a standard for any future order of foie. The buttering of the brioche seemed a little unnecessary given the obvious chunk of fat it was supporting. A little onion relish superbly added contrast and cut through the heavy flavor.
Summertime cocktail $11 A concoction of rum and other fruity fun fresh things. My friend had a great cocktail of gin, tea, and other items. Both very great and made of fresh ingredients and infused liquors.
Wine list looked great but didn't partake due to it being a Monday. Will definitely order a glass of the malbec next time and they have an 'end of the bin' wine list that looked like it would be very fun to try.
Service was surprisingly excellent, more attentive for a place of this stature than I can remember for a long time: water always filled, we were seen to make sure how we were after each course, and everything came in great time.
All items above with tax before tip was shy of a $100 for 2.
Not so much 'cheap' as a good value for a unique foodie experience, It's rare that I have no complaints about a restaurant but beyond the waiting time hiccup I don't. It would be nice to have a more expanded menu but I understand the Hoof Cafe will have the facilities to offer that. While I might not return for a whole meal for awhile (the menu is small enough that it can get tiring) I think this is just a fantastic place to go for a drink and a nibble with friends. The great cocktails and wine list with small plates that almost demand sharing make it a perfect hangout.
928 Dundas St W, Toronto M6J, CA
I had gone not too long ago as well and had an equally fun experience. Really great to see Toronto diving into nose and tails stuff..! Got some interesting photos of the dishes I had: bone marrow, horse tartare sandwich, pickled herring, lamb's tongue salad, and pork belly pastrami, (didn't like the last one so much). Check the blog for visuals, there's a "menu" shot as well - which is just the chalk board in the background. Excited for the Hoof Cafe to open too!
http://www.foodpr0n.com/ - food. is. love.