Monday, March 5, 2012


Cowbell (@cowbellresto), located in Parkdale, is known for having a chalkboard menu that is revised daily. As their website says, doing so "not only announces the day's offerings, but gives a window onto the farms and seasons of Southern Ontario". Chef and owner Mark Cutrara (@mcutrara) is all about cooking exclusively with organic and naturally raised ingredients and serving delicious food in an unpretentious bistro.  Cowbell opened in 2007 where Chef Cutrara processes whole animal carcasses, including cow, elk, deer, pig and lamb, into aged steaks and chops to house-made charcuterie, sausages, carpaccio and burgers. A carnivore's dream really. 

I was really looking forward to trying Cowbell's burger for our Dish Duel tasting since their burger is one of the best in the city. It is no wonder that Toronto Life asked Chef Cutrara to give readers some tips in how to make the perfect patty.

I immediately felt like I walked into a cowboy movie when I stepped into Cowbell. The rustic chandelier, wall scones, the benches with rich red accents and the soft yellow/golden lighting all ties together for a very western decor.

Cowbell's menu.

My Caesar. I wanted to order a second one but seemed a bit excessive given it was only 6:30pm on a week night.

Fresh bread with home churned butter.

Fresh radishes.

Cowbell Charcuterie with Raw Beef Tongue Salad (top right)

A beautiful and extremely delicious charcuterie board.

Chef Cutrara brought out his famous prosciutto for us to try! His prosciutto was the winner of "Battle Prosciutto" at 86'd at the Drake Hotel a couple of months ago. It went up against C5, Local Kitchen and Buca for the title of best prosciutto in town. I liked how it was nutty and not too salty.

Parsnip & Pear Soup, Fennel, Hewitt's Yogurt. Amy had the soup and she liked it.

Cowbell's Grass-fed Red Angus Burger, Venison Mortadella, Cheddar, Ontario Russet Fries

The sheer height of this burger was amazing.

With the pickles, onions and lettuce, it was insanely tall (thankfully, I was still able to hold it without using a knife and fork).

Cooked medium rare, the burger was thick, juicy and tender - really done perfectly. The unique part of the burger is, of course, the venison mortatella top. In one bite I was able to experience the difference in flavour and texture from both the burger and venison mortatella...pretty amazing. Although the burger doesn't look big, it was really filling (think height instead of width). Fries were seasoned well; they were crispy yet soft on the inside.

Really exceptional, farm-to-table cuisine at Cowbell...Chef Cutrara's use of fresh, local ingredients and produce really shines through. Must go back and try the other mains~

On a less serious note... the wrapped Cowbell burger reminded me of Pac-Man.

Cowbell on Urbanspoon