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Dinner at Loire

2009/10/01

Loire is a nice little bistro located on Harbord Street, just south of Bloor. The stretch between Spadina and Bathurst was always well known for David Lee’s fantastic cooking at Splendido, but over the past year a number of hot spots including Tati Bistro, Harbord Room, and of course, Loire have opened to great fanfare.

I really like the clean, simple space. White walls, a few pieces of art, dark tables. Nothing too flashy. My kind of spot. The room is not terribly large – maybe 12-15 tables inside depending on orientation – so be sure to have reservations. This is especially important in the winter as their outside patio is closed. Both Sommelier Sylvain Brissonnet and Chef Jean-Charles Dupoire are ex-Langdon Hall so expect excellent food and warm service.

The menu is not strictly French bistro with influences from Japan and Italy peeking out from time to time. What is undeniable though is that both meals I’ve had at Loire were thoroughly enjoyable.

Selection of Charcuterie

Selection of Charcuterie

To start, I ordered a selection of charcuterie that included salami, house-made chicken liver parfait, and pork rillettes. A few cornichon, pickled beets. and house-made maple and tarragon mustard made for nice accoutrements. The rillettes were a little cold when the board was brought out but once allowed to warm and become spreadable, they were quite enjoyable.

Seared tuna loin, sprouts, daikon

Seared tuna loin, sprouts, daikon

The others at the table had the seared tuna loin with sprouts and daikon. While it seems a little out-of-place on the menu, once again this isn’t your typical French bistro. The tuna was perfectly seared and rare in the middle. A relatively light and delicate dish and well executed also.

Confit Duck Leg & Muscovy Duck Magret

Confit Duck Leg & Muscovy Duck Magret

I probably should have picked a different main course considering it’s what I ordered last time but the duck two ways is way too delicious to pass up. Confit of duck and slices of seared Muscovy duck magret were served with enoki mushrooms, celery, jus, and a cranberry compote. Boy do I ever love duck. So tasty. The confit was cooked well and not dry or stringy in any manner. The magret was medium-rare as requested and had that nice crispy fat layer on top as well.

Arctic char and mushroom risotto with slivered almonds

Arctic char and mushroom risotto with slivered almonds

My dining companions insisted on some risotto so who was I to complain? One of the other main courses on the menu was an arctic char and mushroom risotto so we decided to order one for the table and divvy it up. The risotto was sublime. It was very delicate and light, something that doesn’t always happen with risotto. I was worried that the char would be lost in the riso but that didn’t happen at all. I also liked textural contrast the slivered almonds provided.

Grilled NY Striploin, warm bean salad

Grilled Flatiron Steak, warm bean salad

While most of us had the duck, one person went for the grilled flatiron steak. I didn’t get a chance to try it but he was very pleased with the dish. The warm bean salad looks excellent!

Pecan tart, honey-thyme roasted pears, butterscotch gelato

Pecan tart, honey-thyme roasted pears, butterscotch gelato

I struggled with my dessert selection. I kept going back-and-forth between a chocolate-peanut butter dealie and the pecan tart. In the end, the pecan tart won out as I hadn’t eaten a really good one in a while. It was delicious! A perfect amount of filling and a (very) healthy amount of pecans on a tender crust. The honey-thyme roasted pears were wonderful but the house-made butterscotch gelato was dynamite. Holy crap was that good. I’ll take a pint to go please!

To accompany the meal, I brought a couple bottles from my cellar (corkage $25 per bottle). Unfortunately, my last bottle of 2005 Chateau de Beaucastel Cotes-du-Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel was corked. A real shame as I was looking forward to drinking it. It would have been perfect with the duck.  I ordered a bottle of 2007 Chateau Mourgues du Gres Costieres-de-Nimes Les Galets Rouges from the list to replace it. I knew the markup was high on this particular bottle but it’s a consistently good performer. The wine list at Loire is pretty reasonable for the most part. Only a few bottles over $75 with a solid selection between $45-60.

The show-stopper was a gorgeous bottle of 2000 Paolo Manzone Barolo Serralunga. It had been four years since tasting the wine last and it has evolved nicely. Evoking mostly secondary aromas and flavours, some tertiary notes like truffle and leather were also present. I look forward to following my remaining bottles over the coming years.

  • 2000 Paolo Manzone Barolo Serralunga – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (9/23/2009)
    Popped and poured. Medium-dark ruby colour. Pretty, delicate aromas of roses, tar, dried cherry, truffle, anise/black licorice. Medium-bodied, tannins are starting to integrate nicely. On the palate, replays from the nose are joined by leather notes. Clamps down a little on the 35+s finish but this wine could be consumed with a decant. The nose is intoxicating and I’m looking forward to following this wine over the coming years. Drink before 2018. (92 pts.)

Brissonnet

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim N permalink
    2009/10/03 5:12 PM

    Nice Blog my friend. Looking forward to getting back to T.O. to raise a glass with you again.

  2. futronic permalink*
    2009/10/05 12:47 PM

    Jim, good to hear from you. Thanks for reading my blog and that you’re enjoying it! Hope the south has been treating you well. Drop me an email when you’re back.

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