Groupon had a tasting menu deal for Raincity Grill, a place I had yet to visit, where 2 can dine for $95. Wendy had taken her mother out for a previous Groupon tasting menu at Raincity and really enjoyed the meal, and since my mom was coming to visit I decided to do the same. My mom has never been to a small plates restaurant so I’ll pass the review over to her for a fresh perspective on the evening:
I was pretty excited when I found out what type of meal this would be. The first plate to arrive was of course the bread and butter, little buns that could have been warmer but were nonetheless very tasty. The dish of salt was a nice surprise but maybe a tiny spoon to scoop it with would be helpful. Could be my inexperience but I wasn’t sure how to get just enough.
This is a little embarrassing to admit but I had never tasted a raw oyster before. I wasn’t about to get squeamish so I quickly slurped it up and it was amazing, so fresh with a hint of tartness from the raspberry. Alas there was only one but I could become a devotee of the oyster.
Next the soup arrived, poured from a tiny pitcher into a bowl already garnished with toasted hazelnuts and moist slivers of pear. Here we had a velvet dream, the nutty flavour of parsnip perfectly complemented by the hazelnut, a perfect winter soup, and let’s face it, spring is not here yet.
Here we had the only real disappointment of the evening. Somehow the salmon pate lacked flavour. The spiced mayo was nice but wasn’t enough to combat the blandness of the fish itself. The roasted capers did give it a nice crunch though.
We soon forgot the pate as the next plate was a masterpiece of beauty and flavour, a perfect slow-cooked egg, soft and creamy atop a nest of crisp greens and woodsy roasted mushrooms and hiding underneath was a gleaming spoonful of black quinoa to add even more texture. We were swooning.
Could anything top that egg? How about a bowl of plump juicy mussels? I could not believe how generous the portion was and we needed every bit of the extra bread the server (a lovely woman, helpful and knowledgeable) had brought to the table to soak up the magnificent wine and garlic broth.
By now I was getting very full. The steelhead trout was another generous portion. I had been looking forward to the lentil and pork belly ragout hiding underneath. Its saltiness was a perfect complement to the crispy skin and firm flesh of the trout.
Hitman checking in for the dessert section; thanks mom! She would have finished the review while she was up visiting but we somehow lost the dessert pic and decided to hold off on finishing the review until we were sure it couldn’t be retrieved (unfortunately it couldn’t). Needless to say though the dessert was as pleasing to the eye and palate as the rest of the meal: berry meringue with raspberry sorbet, fennel gelato, shaved chocolate, and honey-infused yogurt. The fennel gelato was a huge hit with both of us, especially considering the fresh fennel in the small salad that came with the salmon pate dish lacked the freshness and flavour you would expect from it. The meringue was made from some unidentifiable pink berry and the raspberry sorbet packed a decent punch. However neither of us could taste the honey infusion in the yoghurt, but that could be just because the dollops were so tiny and it was hard to scoop it up without inadvertently getting a spoonful of milk chocolate shavings along with it.
As I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of macarons, I really don’t see what the fuss is about. Wendy would have gone gaga over this one though, especially the salted one. The sweet and salty combo works in pretty much anything I suppose, and this one was probably the best macaron I’ve had. The chocolate was typical for me though, plain and boring but at least not too over-the-top sweet. Overall the Groupon deal was a hit and next time they have one Wendy and I (and my mom) recommend trying it out.