I was complaining about the food at the upstairs bar one night when I was told that the new chef was sitting and staring me down at the corner of the bar. I quickly explained to him that my foodie experiences were nothing to talk about from this place and Chef Nolan was determined to prove that he was going to freshen things up so it could be coined a culninary destination. And talk about stepping up to the challenge; we set a date where I brought a group of 8 hungry diners in and he prepared us one of his first run thrus of his tasting menu which will be something that my group of folks will remember for a long time! My compliments to the chef and the entire group at Czheoski's for making the evening so special.
Here is how the evening played out:
The restaurant was very busy when our group came in so the food was a bit slow to come out. We were contented by mingling and drinking while trying not to gnaw off our arms as we were famished.
And then slowly dish by dish, our tasting menu appeared.
It was a slow build which gradually got bigger and then BIGGER...
I will take you through the 10 course menu:
We started with a stark white plate of 2 house cured meats as a palette teaser. They were house made panchetta and guancaile - enough to tantalize the taste buds but not to satiate our appetites.
Our next plate was a combination of a potato croquette and crab cake. The potato croquette was a soft pillow of excellence which was bite sized and was fluffy surprise in your mouth. The crab cake for me was a little fishier but light in texture.
Then came this amazing cauliflower spring onion risotto topped with a deep fried cauliflower - this was smooth and flavourful and a huge win amongst the table. I believe this will be a seasonal item on the menu based on what fresh ingredients the chef can mix with the risotto but very delicious. At this point - we were filling up. But the build just continues though ...
Next up was a well executed spaghetti bolognese - for me, the dish spoke perfect comfort food however I felt it was a bit random on a tasting menu. I was happy to have it because I love this dish but in the same respect, it wasn't entirely necessary.
Then came the showstoppers and the peak of our tasting menu - our meat dishes!
There were a plate of beef ribs with smashed potatoes and braised kale - the ribs were tender and had a punchy salty flavour to them.
Our bellies were so full at this point that folks were caught undoing their pants and leaning back to fall into a food coma. However the biggest surprises of the evening came out next; our desserts which were the most memorable to me! First was a huge hit amongst the table and that was the vanilla milkshake creme caramel with cinnamon and bay leaf caramel. It was a delicate balance of sweetness and was light and pillowy and perfectly executed. And finally, they had me sit down while they brought 4 chocolate ganache tarts with graham crackers with the letters of my last name 'vong' spelt out in house made marshmallows. I was so touched that they went to this effort and the desert was heavenly. It was like the restaurant's home made s'more.
What an excellent experience all together and I commend Chef Nolan and our Czehoski's gang - Jordan, Marc, T, Zach, John and gang for their hospitality and ensuring our evening was full of good treats and surprises.
A few highlights to also mention that weren't apart of the tasting menu:
Beef Cheek poutine and the Mac and Cheese - two classic dishes done very well here!
I would encourage you all eat here at Czehoski's - the change has been good!
678 Queen Street West
By Jacqueline Vong at 8:09 PM