Acadia refers to a francophone region that covers Eastern Quebec and the Maritimes in Canada, spreading itself through Maine, the Carolinas and event as south as Louisiana. The cuisine is classified as 'lowcountry' and has already made an impact as a restaurant in an Acadian region of the US was selected as the best new restaurant of the year.
Here in Toronto, Acadia is the latest addition to the College and Clinton block, non descript, homey restaurant slightly tucked away from the busy corner.
The immediate warmth felt is met by the hospitality as we walk in and we are told about the secret tasting menu which both my sis and I cannot resist so we don't even look at the menu and charge ahead with the tasting. 3 appetizers, 2 mains, 2 sides and 2 desserts OMG!!
Chef Matt Blondin formerly of Colborne Lane, created a small menu but of dishes, seafood heavy, with ingredients that seemed foreign to me and thus started our culinary adventures through Acadia!
The first thing to arrive at our table is a bunch of pickled snacks including okra, string beans and bell peppers. We are told to use our hands and dig in which we do and already are satisfied and anxiously anticipating our dishes.
The presentation of our first starter is interesting and attention grabbing. Served in a clear glass bubble shapped bowl was our Chesapeake Bay crab. Served in a broth with dollops of bright yellow chow chow, to a whipped white buttermilk and foam; it is a gorgeous dish to observe as it is sophisticated to eat.
Next up is the Northumberland Strait scallop - one sliced thinly in half with crunchy chicken crackling, shavings of parmesan, watermelon rind and arugula served up on a grey plate. It looks like a painters palette with one paint colour which is the scallop. It was a delicious dish, clean flavours and nice textures. It made me want much more! This was actually a bonus dish for us as it usually isn't placed on the 'secret' menu.
The big highlight for me was Anson Mills Grits and Shrimp. The flavours were absolutely amazing. The grits are velvety and smooth, sitting in a delicious consomme packed with flavour from the ham hock it was made with. The shrimp is done well and oyster mushrooms and pimento cheese round out the flavour. This dish is a stand out and a must have! 3 down... 2 more mains and sides and dessert to go! Albacore tuna comes out as one of our mains with chickpeas and plated with brown butter hollandaise. This was a lighter main which was appreciated. The Nagano Farms pork ribs are our second main and they are amazing. Sticky with a sweet and smoky flavour served with thinly sliced leeks.
But it doesn't end there - we are presented with rectangles of sweet potato corn bread that was hot and freshly baked. I have such an affection for corn bread so it was such a bonus and there was some spice in them. What a great surprise.
Then our small plates came out... 3 Boudin balls were were insanely good - like dirty rice balls - served with a side of smoky roasted-pepper honey. They were de-lish-ious!!! We were getting to the point where we started to see stars and whine about not wearing expansion pants because we didn't leave a dish behind ... well at least we tried.. I think one of the balls got left.. For dessert, we had the duo - house made sugar pie topped with creamy and rich ice cream and almond cake, black cheeries and chocolate nougat which combined tasted simliar to a black forest. What an incredible eating adventure... love at each bite! I must return soon!