Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A hungry man reviews...The Black Hoof restaurant

pictures courtesy of

Grab the smelling salts!! This is something I haven't done in a very long time on this blog. Yes, the name of the blog is a hungry man travels and yes, I should be blabbing more about food so it's time to correct this oversight.

Now to be fair to myself and the blog, I have sampled and mentioned restaurants from around this great, big wide world. I have been very lucky to check them out, and have said this or that about the food I've had the pleasure of eating. This time, the culinary experience was different. Not Japan different (note: Japan will ALWAYS be my measurement of outstanding food), but pretty close. Despite the world culinary adventures, I just haven't felt compelled to write a review or reviews about my hometown (Toronto) restaurants.

Now the reason for this can partly be blamed on laziness, and partly due to the fact that there are so many opinions about the city's booming restaurant scene on the 'net, why should I bother to add to it? I've made a mistake thinking that way, and now I'm making up for that extraordinarily stupid mindset. I mean c'mon, aren't you supposed to share good news when you receive it? Particularly if it's local, culinary good news? So here is the review in four words: I love this restaurant.

I am in love with The Black Hoof.

Although you can go wrong with in-house made charcuterie, the Black Hoof hasn't. When the restaurant first opened in 2008, it received rave reviews from critics regarding the charcuterie. If what I had the pleasure of eating last night was indicative of what was made almost five years ago, then boy have I been missing out.

House-made sausage, foie gras mousse, venison brasaola, prosciutto, pancetta, salami and chorizo, all served with mouth watering bread - oh God a meat and carb lovers wet dream, and may I add so damn good? And again, all made in-house, except for the bread which is provided by French bread maker extraordinaire, Chef Marc Thuet's Petite Thuet bakery. My dinner companion and I shared a fabulous horsemeat tartare with a sensational clamshell and mushroom cream sauce. A simple yet tasty vegetable dish of Brussels sprouts with peanut sauce followed, along with a spicy tripe dish with chopped tomato.

I am still kicking myself for not having the foie gras.

And for dessert? Polenta cake with lemon curd and rhubarb cream sauce. Is your mouth watering? Stomach growling? It should be because you HAVE to try it. Please, please make room for dessert, you will not be disappointed. I honestly haven't blabbed about a Toronto restaurant (vocally) in years, until now. Believe me when I say that I've been very blessed to have dines in some pretty incredible Toronto restaurants over the years (why hello there Auberge du Pommier, what a nice summer we had last year).

I am truly sorry I didn't visit the Hoof back when I first heard about it in my culinary school days of 2009. Some of the students were hoping to Stage there (work for free), so the place was endlessly talked about. Like the classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine did not want to see the film 'The English Patient' because everyone kept telling her she had too, I reacted the same way when my friends would babble about it. I wanted to discover it for myself, and I didn't want anyone to tell me I 'had' to go

Suffice to say I was the loser whom, until recently, had totally missed out on serious culinary deliciousness. 'Tis ok, the Hoof brought back the reason why I love when a food experience is so memorable, you can't wait to share it. The food, service and ambience is why I highly recommend the restaurant to friends, and anyone wanting to try a truly adventurous dining experience, without the pretension that can sometimes be attached to that. Yes, it was and is worth all the hype. Run, don't walk, for simple yet amazing food. The Black Hoof.

Oh, and this should also be mentioned to all you potential 'hoofer's' out there. Try to avoid visiting on the weekends, unless of course you're a fan of standing in line. The restaurant has a no reservation policy - fair warning!


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