Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Niagara Street Café with Chef Steve Gonzalez

Now that chef Nick Liu (@Ninjachefnick) has left Niagara Street Café (check out my post on his farewell dinner at NSC) and is starting his new project, Gwai Lo (@GwaiLoToronto) with Kristina Kuypers (@deKuypers) (formerly of the Black Hoof, Splendido and the Drake Hotel), guest chef Steve Gonzalez (@latino5spice) (formerly Origin, Top Chef Canada) is now manning the kitchen at Niagara Street Café until the end of this month. I strongly suggest you go and check it out. Why? Because it is a great opportunity to preview what chef Gonzalez has to offer when he opens his own Latin restaurant and ceviche bar in Toronto (once he finds a location). And seriously, who wouldn't want to be fed ceviches, whole steamed fish, sancocho, chicharron, empanadas and other delicious Latin dishes???

Chef Steve Gonzalez (Photo Credit: Swallow Food)

I did not waste any time and headed to Niagara Street Cafe last Friday night. I opted for a tasting menu with wine pairings. I'll let you know my thoughts at the end of the post.

Bread with Chili Lime Butter

Clam and Chorizo with Uni Coconut Foam


Pork and Mushroom Empanada, Patacone with Guacamole Mousse, Latino 5 Spice Beef Heart, Baked Beans and Aji 

Whole Steamed Branzino with Rice and Radish Salad, Ginger / Lime Vinaigrette

Sancocho - Short Rib, Beef Neck, Yucca, Plantain, Potato, Tamarind, Cilantro

Passion Fruit, Coconut, Kiwi, Mango and Rice Pudding

Spicy Soma Peruvian Hot Chocolate with Rosemary & Jalapeno

Chef Steve Gonzalez did an outstanding job that night showcasing modern, sophisticated and refined Latin cuisine (i.e. it's not all about Tex-Mex, tacos & burritos!). My personal favourites were:

The ceviches - clean, sharp flavours...very refreshing to the palate. My favourite was the Acadian Sturgeon
 The whole branzino - steamed to perfection (supplied from Hooked @hookedinc)
 The miniature "Latino Street Party" with empanada, patacone and beef heart - delicious and fun to eat (no utensils needed except for the beans =D)
 Desserts: the fresh fruits with sweet rice pudding was light and refreshing while the thick soma hot chocolate with a hint of chili went down smooth and really warmed the heart.
Last but not least, lovely wine pairings (as usual) from Anton Potvin (@antonpotvin)!

So in case I haven't made myself clear enough, I will say it one more time: Chef Gonzales will be at Niagara Street Café only until the end of March!!!

Related news from Swallow Food (@Swallow_Food)

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