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Monday, January 23, 2012

[Toronto] Auberge du Pommier

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4150 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario

I have been to Auberge du Pommier on several ocassions, and have loved the experience every time! Belonging to the Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants family (along with Canoe, Jump, and LUMA,  to name a few), this French restaurant is located just north of york mills on Yonge Street. From the outside, the restaurant resembles a cozy little courtyard house complete with a garden, white picket fence, and a very charming cobblestone walkway. While it looks like a small on the outside, it is deceivingly spacious on the inside! The decor is simple and quaint with its neutral colour theme, fireplace, and stone walls. a romantic ambiance coupled with excellent food makes this the perfect date night spot!

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Auberge du Pommier from the outside (photo source)

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Auberge du Pommier dining room (photo source)

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Table Setting

After we get our coats checked, the hostess brings us to a nicely set up table and hands us menus that show an artistic interpretation of the Auberge du Pommier house on the cover. Inside, all the dishes are in French, with accompanying English descriptions.

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Bread, butter and olives

Before even ordering, the waitor comes by with a tray of bread, some butter, and olives. I was famished so it was nice to have something to hold me over while we decided on what to order. The service is exceptional and not to mention very knowledgeable. In my opinion, there was not another thing they could've done service-wise to make the experience better than it was.

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"Hamachi Marine au Betterave" ($21)- beet-cured hamachi, raisin glace, shiso bavarois, lime gelee 

Pardon my ignorance, but I was unaware that Hamachi was an ingredient that belonged to French cuisine! The hamachi was served raw at room temperature and paired with an assortment of garnishings. The frozen grape, lime gelee, and dollops of whipped cream was a refreshingly sweet compliment to the delicate pieces of fish.

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"Steak Tartare" ($22) -handcut beef tenderloin, slightly spicy, classic garni, crouton

Rob order this as his appetizer. We mixed the raw quail egg into the tartare, and ate it with the plate of toasted croustinis that came with the appetizer. I don't order steak tartare often, but I usually find it to be too peppery. To my surprise this one at Auberge du Pommier was not at all peppery, and had a pleasant sweetness that is not often associated with beef. The only complaint here is the croustinis that were unpleasantly over-toasted.

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Steak Tartare on a croustini

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"Cassoulet de Canard" - roasted ontario duck breast, fresh bean and bacon cassoulet,
pistachio crumble, foie gras mousse, jus de cuisson ($45)

The Cassoulet de Canard was an impressively cooked dish. The duck breast was roasted to a medium rare perfection, while retaining flavour and juice. I particularly liked the pistachio crumble, it gave both the lamb and bean salad that extra texture and oomph!

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"Craquant de porcelet "- crackling of suckling pig, confit de pork presse, sweet potato puree,
rutabaga farci, jus de biere (42)

When the Craquant de Procelet first arrived, it reminded me of a miniature model of a city. There are two peices of pork, and distributed evenly around it are stumps of rutabaga that resemble city towers. Excuse my vivid imagination, but what I'm trying to get at is that the plate was very busy. I didn't know where to start eating! The best part of this plate was definitely the crackling of sucking pig. The meat was tender, the sking was crispy but not dry, and it had the perfect layer of fat. While conceptually it is the same as the roast pork you can find from Chiense BBQ shops, it was definitely less greasy, better cooked, and a quality cut of meat.

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"Parfait Chataigne" ($11) -chestnut semifreddo, puffed wild rice, lemon meringue, marron glace, cassis caramel

Rob were I were quite full, but still insisted on trying a dessert. The Parfait Chataigne comes with two bite size bite size portions of semi-frozen chestnut custard, and accompanying garnishings. I thought the custard itself was pretty bland, but the crunchy candied walnut, puffed rice, and tiny bits of diced celery gave it some texture and extra flavour. Still, it wasn't something that really jumped out to my preferences.

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Complimentary Macarons - Maple and Chococlate

If you don't feel like ordering dessert after your meal at Auberge, they offer these complimentary macarons with your bill as a sweet parting. Surpringly, I think I enjoyed these treats more than the Semifreddo. The ones shown here are Maple and Chocolate, but they also make Pistachio and Strawberry. When I asked the waiter if I could order some to go, he came back with a box of macrons and told me it was on the house. A nice little surprise to end an amazing meal.

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