Monday, January 24, 2011

Grace Restaurant

My first experience at Grace Restaurant was about two years ago. At the time I didn't have a food blog but I still remember this particular restaurant when Cindy suggested going to Grace for her birthday dinner last month - I remember it because of its name (my Aunt's name is Grace) but not because of the food - well I thought the food at Grace was only average two years ago, and my view of it didn't change after going last month; it wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either.

The four of us, including the birthday girl, went to Grace one Tuesday evening in December and it was freezing that night, which probably explains why the place was so empty (we were also early). I regret coat checking my jacket too because the restaurant was so cold the whole time we were eating there.

The people at the table there were exchanging Christmas gifts.

We sat towards the back of the restaurant by these French doors; there was a beautifully lit Christmas tree inside. There weren't any seating inside that room though so I'm guessing the room is probably just for looks. 

The menu is divided into 3 sections: meat, vegetable, and seafood. Appetizers are listed first in each section and the mains are listed beneath (a bigger space separates the two courses on the menu which is not too obvious in the picture).

We all really enjoyed the bread. It was the warm, with a soft and doughy center and chewy crust. 

Persimmon salad with arugula, basil, toasted pine nuts, shaved parmesan and a lemon vinaigrette - Too bad I didn't get a shot of the persimmon - it was beneath all that arugula and cheese which was only visible after a few bites. My friends enjoyed this salad a lot, especially the persimmon which was sweet.

Buffalo mozzarella, charred radicchio and onion, chili balsamic vinaigrette - This was my appetizer. Love the presentation; I like it when a dish is stacked high like that. However, I thought the salad lacked flavour. Although there was a lot of it, the buffalo mozzarella is not a strong cheese, so I was looking for the other ingredients in the salad to give me more flavor. Unfortunately nothing did, not even the supposedly "chili" balsamic vinaigrette because it tasted like normal balsamic to me. Both the onion and radicchio were very neutral.

Slow cooked halibut with heirloom carrots, patty pan squash, braised kale and buerre blanc - Cindy thought the fish lacked flavor; as in, the fish itself wasn't marinated and the only source of flavor was from the sauce.

Lobster and sweet pea ravioli with lobster bisque and a tarragon emulsion - My friends enjoyed this dish as the ravioli was very soft, its pasta shell was fresh, and the sauce was creamy. The only complaint they had was the portion; there was only 5-6 raviolis and they weren't full from it.

Chicken liver pate - The pate is actually listed as an appetizer but I thought I would treat it as a main since I wasn't too hungry and I know pate would fill me up anyway. It was served on a huge wooden board. 

Let's start with the side stuff first. The different pickled veggies were all very yummy and placed beautifully. The baguette was also very good and there were many pieces; I was able to use all of it for my pate.

The pate was pretty good, no complaints. It was smooth and very "liver-y" like how it should be. There was a lot of it - don't undermine that little jar, I was so full afterwards. So much for trying to eat light O_o

The dessert menu was divided into "dessert" and "cheese".

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream - This is actually the "fruit pie" on the menu just that that night's fruit happens to be apple. Direct quotes from my two friends:

"It was big enough to share with one other person. I liked its thick crust and softness. Oh, and there were lots lots of apple inside~ which is how good apple pie should be"; and 

"there were sprinkles of crispy sugar that gave some delicious crunch to the pie as well!"

I guess they liked it =D

Banana cake with caramel, chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream - Cindy said this was moist and very "banana-y".

Chocolate souffle with dark callebaut chocolate and creme anglaise 

I really loved this dessert. Our server informed us to poke a hole in the middle then pour the cream in. The soufflé was hot, light and fluffy. I could really feel the lightness when the spoon cracked the middle; it reminded me of beaten egg whites, that light foam texture. As for the taste, it was perfect; not too bitter (even though they used dark chocolate) nor sweet.

My favorite course that night was undeniably, the dessert. The other two dishes I ordered were average. In my opinion, there is no "wow" factor to Grace; it's not bad, but it's not great. I don't think I will go to Grace again anytime soon; the soufflé itself is not enticing enough to bring me back for a whole meal there.

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