Friday, June 3, 2011
The Black Hoof Review
I've been dying to go to the Black Hoof. Finally, my Mom took me there. What a great meal. There are no reservations, so that can mean having to wait in hour long line-ups for a taste of nose-to-tail eating. Luckily, Thursday nights are relaxed. We arrived at 6:00 (when it opens). Our server was Ian. He was very friendly and answered all our questions about the food. We were seated behind the open kitchen, so I could watch the cooks cooking our food. We started with the charcuterie platter. Shortly, the various charcuterie delights arrived along with bread, whole-grain mustard and lavender whipped lardo; ranging from mild to robust. First was a cappicollo. It was mild, rich and salty, however did not taste much different from the store bought stuff. Gorgeous blankets of cured duck breast were the highlight; their fat dissolving as it grazed your lip. They were incredible. Dry-cured fennel salami was sublime and porktastic. Horse bologni was good, yet not that great texturally. The bologni was more like a pate than a cured meat. It fell apart and was too soft. The lardo was interesting, it tasted like porky butter with a frothiness to it. The bread was really good. Our second order was the foie gras torcheon with honey gastrique and brioche. It was my first real foie gras experience. My first bite was mind-blowing. I just loved the texture. Silky, soft and melted as it warmed in your mouth. Truly a luxury product. It's flavour was indescribable. Not livery, not butter-like, but slightly sweet and unami-packed. My mom found the foie too rich and only had two bites. By the time I finished, I was really full. The foie was uber-delicious but need acidity desperately. The honey only help richen the dish not relieve richness. A beautiful compote of cherry, or some other fruit would have really worked wonders. Glazed pig belly was next. It arrived atop apple puree, ramp kimchee and generously glazed with a soy/hoisin glaze. Wow. The belly was sensational. The best dish of the night. Meltingly tender, salty and rich best describe it. The ramp kimchee was a perfect acidic addition and the apple puree was sublime. Next came N'duja sausage, a calabrese specialty with plentiful amounts of parsley, deep fried brussel sprouts and parmigiano cheese stacked over toast and arugula pesto. The sausage really was one of the best I've had. Taken out of the case, still moist then seared. I really enjoyed the bold seasoning in the dish, with parsley, garlic and arugula pesto. It was punchy and bold. All the flavours well incredibly well, the salty cured sausage, crisp toast, crunchy brussles sprouts, vibrant parsley, and smooth pesto. Next were salty nuggets of sweetbreads fried in butter came scattered along with slightly chewy ramps, tender fiddleheads and creamy potatoes. The sweetbreads really benefited from the smoking which added a layer of complexity to this relatively simple dish. A really delicious dish. All together, the Black Hoof is a definite come back. It's affordable, casual, and awesome. It's pretty surprising how this place still uses a four-burner electric stove to pump out food. I also loved the open kitchen, so I could see what the cooks were up to, searing the sweetbreads, glazing the pig belly, slicing the charcuterie. I would highly recommend.