Summerlicious 2011: Stonegrill

21 Jul
It literally feels like 47 degrees out today and I refuse to step outside, so here’s another summerlicious post!

Second in the summerlicious 2011 lineup was Cabbagetown’s own STONEGRILL. Though known for their interactive cooking method where diners may cook their own meat a la cave man style on a heated stone slab, I was equally excited to try their exotic selection of proteins such as alligator and wild boar.
The prix-fixe dinner was $35 and you can see the menu here.

I would have pinned a photo of the venue here but I hadn’t successfully snapped one. My camera is pitiful in lowlight and I was too embarrassed to lug my huge DSLR around, taking pictures of food. Hypocritically, I hate it when people take stupid pictures of their stupid food. It is a punch to my soul every time I do it myself. See what I will do for this blog, hmm?!

Anyhow, Stonegrill was smaller than I anticipated and the signage/store front was unassuming but sweet, what with its apartment style entrance. Inside however, was quite chic and elegant with a fireplace lounge in the back. Classy, but not fuddy-duddy (check your merriam-webster, kids)

Spinach salad: The passion fruit dressing was just perfect-sweet and tart, goes really well with the baby spinach, walnut chunks and smoked salmon pieces. Fruit vinaigrettes are probably now one of my favourite dressings because the fruit is naturally sweet enough to properly balance the acidity, which is the problem with most vinaigrettes. It reminds me of this salad all the girls at work get the chefs to make, called the Tassamic, I know I’m supposed to know what’s in it, but I honestly don’t. That and I’m also supposed to be a “perfectionist” etc etc.

Oh, and I begrudgingly ate my bed of alfalfa sprouts in this salad. Alfalfa is the most tasteless thing ever, I question the purpose of its existence.

J’s Rooter BBQ Ribs. Babyback ribs braised in rootbeer and red wine, cool eh? Tasted pretty good too.

The seafood soup that R had was pretty tasty and thick like chilli. She even said it tasted like chilli, so there you go. A pretty awesomely decadent way to start a meal I think.

That would be the Wild Boar before and after cooking. Each side only needed about a minute and a half for a nice medium rare sear and once it’s ready, you can stop the cooking process by moving your meat to a side-plate. Surprisingly the stone stayed quite hot throughout the meal and you can re-heat bites of the boar as you eat. We were all initially quite skeptical about ordering this because apparently the smell of wild boar can be quite gamey, a distinctive smell which is common in wild prey animals. I’ve been descriptively told by people who dislike lamb that these gamey meats smell like “death”.
To our pleasure, the boar was perfectly free of gamey-ness which indicates it’s been brined and cooked properly. Boar is a bit more robust than a typical pig, so the meat was leaner. But this is not synonymous with dry, the cooking process sears the outside and locks in the moisture, making for a juicy boar chop.
Also, boar tasted a bit more complex (sweet, earthy, nutty) than a typical pork chop, probably due to the animal’s diet. I don’t really have much to say for the sides (roasted potatoes, broccoli, peas etc) because they were so generic, so I will not be bothered to write about them.
My blackened Louisiana alligator was a pretty good experience. I would personally describe it as a more interesting chicken or maybe a cross between chicken and frog. But that may be because I’m imagining a hybrid land-swamp creature. Given the choice between chicken and gator though, I would probably choose alligator because it has a stronger taste, though this won’t agree with everyone. I’m not sure what cut of meat this was but I’m guessing it’s body meat as opposed to tail because tail is pricier and more desirable.
Despite quite liking the alligator, there were some serious flavour issues in the dish. The mango salsa, that saboteur, was way too over-seasoned and distractingly spicy. Again, veggies were just being veggies.

The chicken roulade was quite juicy and tender. The pesto cream sauce helped boost that moisture level as well, which is important for chicken as it can often be quite dry. Extra points for being stuffed with mozzarella and lobster meat. So really it’s a meat party and did I mention it was wrapped in bacon?

Truffle Royal Chocolate Cake, a basic but velvety rich chocolate mousse cake

A really fluffy looking cheese cake.
In retrospect, I think I’d like to come back just to try their regular menu, I have my heart set on the swordfish or their game combo (choose 3 out of kangaroo, benison, boar, and bison rib-eye).
Overall, a good experience with good food and great company.
Eating: korean cold noodles. It’s retarded hot today.
Craving: Churrrros (please Markham, open more spanish restaurants!)



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