Thursday, 16 August 2012

What is Excellence Myth or Reality?

My Privileged Visit to Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine.

Excellence, is a tough word to define as it relates to the culinary world. Can it be found in the beautiful plating of foie gras custard in a delicate intricate pattern? Or, can it be illustrated in the use of an ingredient picked at its peak perfection and treated simply?  In my opinion it must be both. 

Let me explain, in order to achieve excellence which should be the goal of every restaurant.  Well at least it should be their goal to strive for it. Cause without it…or the striving of it…they would cease to exist or even worse, they would cease to be memorable.  In this cut throat world that is the restaurant business, the worst thing that could possibly happen to you is for you to be easily forgotten.  As is very obvious and evidenced by the numerous restaurants that have come and gone the way of the Dodo bird…

Spring Fresh Pea Custard Amuse Bouche
To describe a restaurant as EXCELLENT…it is a hard and daunting word for me to use when describing my culinary experiences.  It is NOT a word that I toss around lightly…the reality is that excellence is fleeting but not a myth.  It is very hard to attain and can be so easily lost.  Many restaurants go through peaks and valleys and a guests may visit at the wrong time…it happens to all establishments. But, the goal should be there to challenge and inspire!  I am not a food snob, far from it…I enjoy food as much, if not more than the next fellow be it a burger joint or a michellin stared restaurant in Spain.  I am always open to any and all experiences fine dining or not and will think within that framework of what I am experiencing. It is not fair nor even an easy comparison to hold one against the other and judge which is better.

"Pingue's" 24 Month Aged Prosciutto with "Monforte" Toscano, Preserved Lemon, Arugula, Baco Noir Balsamic Reduction
On a recent road trip to Niagara on the Lake, I had the pleasure of dinning with great friends at one such restaurant which I believe you will agree strives for excellence and in my opinion achieves it in spades. The restaurant in question is Treadwells Farm to Table Cuisine in Old Port Dalhousie. Executive Chef and Owner Stephen Treadwell is the true mark of what heart and soul looks like on a plate.  It is very evident that he and his brigade strive for this in his culinary creations and more importantly his tastes. Further, Front of the house Manager and Co-Owner James Treadwell leads their team and provides flawless service and knowledge of Wines, Food and Overall atmosphere. Happily this is a partnership that works very well together.

Potato and Lemon Gnocchi with "Ermite Bleu", Wild Mushrooms, Crispy Sage
I will spare you the reader my tasting notes which I am sure by the end you will see that I would just end up gushing over and over about how much this establishment hit every note and left us all very satisfied. I will let the photos tell the story, making comments as you go along. I will just say that if you consider what was experienced at Treadwells in terms of location, service, ingredients and culinary magic, you must put this place on your foodie bucketlist. It is truly that EXCELLENT!

Tartare of "Cumbrae Farms" Beef with Housemade Potato Crisps and Watercress

Pan Roasted Sea Scallop with Pea Puree, Smoked Bacon, Cheese Foam

Tempura of "David Irish's" Zucchini Blossoms with Sambal Mayonnaise

Pan Roasted Lake Erie Pickerel with "Berta's Bounty" Egg Yolk, Fingerling Potatoes, Summer Vegetable and Smoked Ham Hock Broth

Summer Mushroom Crusted "Cumbrae Farms" Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Potato Puree, Horseradish Jus, Heirloom Vegetables

"Confit" of Atlantic Salmon with Creamed Savoy Cabbage, Oven Dried Tomato, Wild Watercress
Wild Honey Crusted Duck Breast with Pommes Anna, Black Pepper and Balsamic Marinated Strawberries, Foie Gras Jus

Seared Lake Huron Whitefish with Butter Poached Lobster and Smoked Bacon Dauphinoise

A Truly Lovely Panacotta - Simple and Elegant One of the Best!

If I were so bold as to suggest a meal:  I would be torn between the Tartare and the Scallops for a Starter. For a main I for sure would pick the Duck Breast as my hands down favourite and finish with the Panacotta. It was simply divine.

For more information:

Treadwell Farm To Table Cuisine
61 Lakeport Road,
Port Dalhousie, ON

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