Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chef Nick Liu's Last Service at Niagara Street Café

My favourite taco (and also the winner) at the Death Row Meals Supper Club's Taco event last month was Chef Nick Liu's (@ninjachefnickCrispy Octopus and Jicama Taco with Smoked Paprika Caponata, Chorizo Bacon and Spicy Tomato Aioli. I really enjoyed the taco because I thought it was unique (i.e. the jicama "tortilla" ) and in my mind, scored the highest overall in terms of originality, taste, and presentation. I was thrilled when Chef Nick said that he would be adding the taco to Niagara Street Café's menu. Sweeeeet~ As I've never been to Niagara Street Café  this would be the perfect opportunity to go try the restaurant (and of course stuff my face with tacos =P).

However, panic sets in when I found out a couple of weeks later that January 29 was gonna be Chef Nick's last service at Niagara Street CaféI immediately started checking my calendar and phoning friends (OK more like texting friends) to see who would be available as my Niagara Street Café dinner date. Well, I obviously made it *whew* right on the night of January 29 too.

As you can imagine, it was a very, VERY busy night at Niagara Street Café last Sunday. Everybody wanted to be there to experience Chef Nick's cooking one last time at the restaurant. So thanks, Chef Nick, for letting me into your kitchen (since I know I was in your way most of the time).

Here's my friend Rian (@mommy_instincts) and I waiting to be fed at Niagara Street Café =P I warned Rian and her hubby, Ray, ahead of time to not eat (or eat very little) during the day because I knew there would be a lot of food for dinner. Well I was right (ha!) because dinner was indeed epic...with 11 courses! It was a no-menu meal where we ate whatever Chef Nick brought out and it all started with...

Bread: Served with Sherry Vinegar Caramelized Onions.

Course 1: Crispy Calamari and Jicama Taco - Smoked Caponata, House Cured Bacon, Spicy Tomato Salsa Aioli.

Course 2: Miso Roasted Parsnip Soup

Course 3: Water Buffalo - Pickled Kiwi Berries, Lamb's Lettuce and Pressed Lemon Yogurt

Course 4: Spicy Black Bean Escargot - Asian Slaw, Rice Wafer, Shiitake Chips, Cold Pressed Soy Oil

Course 5: Crispy Frog Legs - Lily Bulb, Crispy Fingerling Potato Chips and Salsa Verde

Course 6: Korean Crab and Sweet Bread Po'boy - Tomato Salsa, Kim Chi Pickles, Salt and Pepper Chips

Course 7: Japanese Bolognese - Rare Beef Tataki, Soba Noodles, Tomato Consomme 

Course 8: Roasted Nagano Pork Loin - Chive Pancake, Asian Cucumber Salad, Soy Glaze, Smoked Apple Hoisin Sauce

Course 9: Smoked Pickerel - Purple Potato, Gamjatang

Course 10: Crispy Confit Tongue - Smoked Plum Purée 

Course 11: Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Thank you, Chef Nick, for such a fabulous dinner. Although I didn't get to "stuff my face with tacos", my friends and I truly loved all your dishes; we really enjoyed the various Asian influences and the bold flavours! We thought everything was original, unique and delicious~ I wish you all the best in your future endeavors (and don't keep us waiting too long with the new restaurant, OK? =D). I also want to say a quick thanks to Anton (@antonpotvin) (owner of Niagara Street Caféfor his hospitality that night; you really have a great wine selection (we still can't stop thinking about that Riesling)!

For those of you who may not know, Chef Steve Gonzales (@latino5spice) will be the new chef at Niagara Street Café starting... TONIGHT! Salsa anyone? =P

Niagara Street Café on Urbanspoon