|Photo propery of The Record.|
When I found out about the 1st Annual Tri City Wine and Dine Festival (held from January 18, 2013 to February 2, 2013), I was excited to experience our region's own version of Winterlicious! After making a date with our nouveau foodie friends, Liz and Paul, we decided to give Sole's Wine and Dine Festival menu a try.
Sole is part of the Cerny Hospitality Group that also owns Melville Cafe and the Blackshop. To be perfectly honest, I am not a huge fan of either the Blackshop or Sole. Neither one is a personal favourite but I was willing to give Sole another try considering their fabulous Tri City Wine and Dine deal of $29 for a three course prix fix meal.
I'm actually quite glad that we decided to give Sole another try. I started my meal with a glass of Gerhring Riesling Riverside. This was a fabulous riesling. Our server brought us some delicious multi-grain bread and onion marmalade to get us started.
For my appetizer I ordered the "Smoke Rainbow Trout". This was served with green beans, toasted almonds and red pepper reduction.
This was a lovely, fresh appetizer. This appetizer was served cold. The smoked rainbow trout was perfectly smoked. The green beans were blanched to perfection and the red pepper reduction provided the right amount of sweetness to offset the smokiness. A very nice appetizer.
For my main, I chose the "Pan Seared Red Snapper". This was served with sausage and mozzarella arancini, vodka rose sauce and shaved asparagus.
Absolutely delicious. The fish was perfectly cooked. The arancini were delectable. So so good. I really enjoyed the vodka rose sauce which added the right balance of flavour to the whole dish. The shaved asparagus was also perfectly cooked. I am not a huge fan of the shaved asparagus concept but it added a lightness to the whole dish. I enjoyed my main very much.
We had two choices for the dessert course, I chose the "Strawberry and Cream Napoleon". This was served with a raspberry coulis.
This was a perfect light ending to a wonderful meal. The dessert consisted of layers of light phyllo-like pastry, strawberries and cream. The raspberry coulis was the only really sweet component on the plate. A little awkward to eat but nevertheless a fantastic.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, I am really glad that I gave Sole another try. A wonderful meal with wonderful friends. (By the way, the really enjoyed their meals as well).
In his opinion:
Unlike some of my friends and acquaintances, my opinion when going to Sole has always been a positive one resulting in a good experience for me. Much better experiences I reckon than the ones I have had at the Blackshop restaurant, the other establishment owned by the Cerny Hospitality Group. Unfortunately, the patio wasn't an option on this cold winter night but the dining room with its warm, inviting and laid back demeanor with exposed wood beams and monumental brick oven did a fine job of welcoming us.
I started my evening with a French Martini. It was very refreshing and a perfect way to commence things. It's always hard to pick a good cocktail but this one was easy given the fact that it was one of the recommendations on the menu.
The menu was a fixed price, "Prix Fix" as a result from the Tri City Wine and Dine event happening at the end of January. After some quick browsing, I made my decisions and grabbed a piece of multi-grain bread. To my surprise, onion marmalade was the only spread provided and that didn't sit well with me (I am one of those people that has an aversion to overly cooked onions). Dry bread it was...
For my appetizer, I selected the "Trio of Mini Pizzas" consisting of one Margherita, one of prosciutto, gorgonzola and fig and one of tomato and bocconcinni. Although small bite sized pizzas, they packed quite a bit of flavour. The runaway favourite was the prosciutto, gorgonzola and fig, for the toppings alone but also the combination of flavours they produced together.
For a main, I reluctantly passed on one of my favourite dishes, "Duck Confit", but was delighted with my selection of "Medallions of Pork Tenderloin" that came wrapped in prosciutto. It was served with soft delicious risotto, sauteed rapini, pesto cream and black olive tapenade. The pork was perfectly cooked and succulent making me wish the already generous size of the medallions would somehow enlarge even more, for prolonged enjoyment. The pesto cream worked well with the pork, contrasting it in texture and flavour. It was the tapenade that left me perplexed, unsure of how it fitted within this dish, a welcome but unnecessary addition of flavour in my humble opinion. I ended up using it as spread for my "no longer" dry bread actually, so happy ending!
For dessert, I chose the "Mini Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee". Very traditional in its flavour, tasted great but was indeed MINI. Even with the tiniest spoon supplied, it was gone in 2 bites. I was very unsure of the platting presentation given that the whipped cream that was the base for the cigar wafer cookie was partially spread on a paper napkin. Not a common practice in my mind.
Lastly, a very disappointing espresso yet again. The quest for a decent espresso is a lifelong one for me as it seems! I'm getting the impression that I will find Yoda and the "force" before I can consistently find a good espresso in a restaurant. The search will indeed go on...
The Good: Great ambiance, good friends and a good meal, highlighting the excellent value of a $29 fixed price menu.
The Bad: Bad presentation on the desert, with smeared burnt sugar and whip cream over a paper napkin.
The Verdict: Overall, a great meal and again didn't disappoint. Staff were very courteous, food was well prepared and timing was impeccable.
I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 olives as rating