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Oct 3, 2013 11:24 AM

The Huntsman Tavern: Comfort Food on College

Here's a link to a new restaurant that just opened on College. Looks and sounds promising.

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  1. OOOOOkay. So I was there last night :D

    Taking up the space that was Red Fish, Huntsman Tavern serves up elevated gastropub fare and its price points are good. With leather booths, dark tiled walls, and a wide bar at the back, it's likely you're in for a comfortable meal.

    Aside from the market priced meat, everything on the menu is $22 or less and divided under three sections as small/medium/large plates. Good stuff.

    The potted duck (a duck rillette) and the steak tartare, while perfectly fine, weren't especially notable. They are, however, extremely well-priced at $6 and $8, respectively.

    The chorizo corndog - a surprisingly interesting and tasty snack. With pickled onions, egg, and pummery, it's a little spicy with its ground chorizo interior and a a bit crunchy from it's crunchy exterior. A decent-sized snack.

    The hot-smoked trout cakes - three pea pancakes topped with trout and creme fraiche. A serviceable canape-type thing, but not a reorder.

    Their crispy wings are smoked and fried and come with a house BBQ sauce of consisting of Sirracha and ranch (I assume by what they called it). Really excellent wings - the meat was moist and tender, and even with the saucy sweet and spicy exterior, the skin still retained a bit of crunch from the fryer. Would order these again and almost ordered the fried chicken because of how good they were. But... there was more food coming.

    I was very excited to try their tourtiere hand pies and I was not disappointed. A mix of pork and wild boar in a tallow lattice(ish) crust and sided with a tomato-cranberry relish. Definitely something to re-order. Quite enjoyed the flavours and the flakiness of the pie pastry.

    They had a house-made pappardelle with "cheeky" ragu on menu and of course, I had to order it. I felt like it wasn't as strong as the other large plates that we ordered. Thought the pasta would go awesome with the stew instead of the ragu.

    My absolute favourite of the night was the Huntsman stew: braised short rib, venison, and pie dough crackers on the side. Such great and deep meaty flavours, as well as that lovely collagen-thick texture of the stew. A great and hearty winter meal that really needed a beautifully crusty white bread to sop it all up. Still, we made do with the spoon after the crackers were gone.

    A surprise for me (though why after the wings) was the fish & chips. A lovely and light tempura batter surrounding a moist and flaky cod. So nicely flavoured and perfectly textured, I didn't even dip into the remoulade sauce! Sided with so-so salt & vinegar fries. Which I mostly ignored in favour of the fish, anyway.

    A very tiny dessert menu: apple pie, lemon tart, and a cheese plate.

    The apple pie was a fried pie reminiscent of the old-school McDonald's treat of yore. Nice, crispy, a little heavy, of good apple taste. Just not my thing.

    The lemon tart was much more my speed and much less a tart than expected. A low jar of lemon cream that was just a shade grainy (though nothing that would impede me from eating it) and with a very nice mellow lemon flavour. This was accompanied by two rather tasty butter (shortbread?) cookies. I quite enjoyed this one but almost felt that I should have gone for the fried chicken instead to finish off.

    They've just opened and are working out some process kinks - so be prepared for a slightly drawn out meal - but this is most certainly worth a visit. A great mid-priced restaurant that's serving up some excellently executed dishes. Overall, this is a definite recommend from me. I hope they keep it up!

    --- -- food. is. love.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jlunar

      BlogTo just wrote a review. The fried chicken that you spoke of and the wings look awesome!! Here's the link:

        1. re: MissBingBing

          Same here!! And they do take-out as well, although you have to supply your own cutlery as they currently don't

          As of now, I'm planning on dropping by on Monday, so I'll report back :)

          1. re: kwass

            Turns out that the lunch and dinner menus are completely different. At lunch, they serve primarily change of plans for Monday :(

            Guess I'll have to wait a few weeks to try their fried chicken :(

      1. re: jlunar

        jlunar, I was just curious...what was it about the smoked trout cakes that you didn't particularly like? They look so good in the picture in the BlogTo review.