Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rushes restaurant

I havn't written in quite a while. I didn't abandon this, I've just been...preoccupied. Very pleased today, received our Health Economics midterm marks. Performed a lot better than what I expected.

On Saturday evening this week, we went out to Rushes restaurant, at Waterloo Inn, in Waterloo. Just myself, the roomates, and our neighbour. I made reservations too, because I was under the impression that it was a really well-known place. I even came back early from Toronto, just to make dinner.

I've heard good things about their wine list. And it was impressive. But the quality of the choices? I'm not really sure. Let me give you one example. They represent Niagara pinot noir fairly well, with Malivoire and Flat Rock Cellars. But no Lailey. And you know how I feel about Lailey pinot noir. Looking further down, they offer a cabernet-merlot from Lailey. I don`t understand how they feel that that bottle is a better represention of the estate. For dinner, I ordered a bottle of 2004 Malivoire Estate Pinot Noir. Just a wonderful wine. Earthy, bright cherry notes, hint of herbs, and of course, that racy acidity. Really, really indicative of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation, but how well do these wines age?

The dining room was nice. Tasteful interior design, perfectly dim lighting, quiet, and clean. It had a partition in the middle, giving you quite a bit of privacy from other tables. A nice cozy feeling. The only problem was the wrinkly tablecloth. That was embroidered with this floral pattern. And it wasn't pure white. Also, the very busy table arrangement. Too many useless utensils on the table. The fresh daffodils? Unsure about that, maybe another flower would have been a better choice.

I ordered the chicken and rice soup for appetizer. It looked like canned chicken soup. No exaggeration. Too much vegetables - carrots, celery, corn...keep it simple. And quite simply, too much herbs. Much too much rosemary. It would have been better to cook with the rosemary, then remove it when you're serving. Instead of placing a few leaves on top as a garnish. When you bite into fresh rosemary, it's so strong that it completely overwhelms the palate. The vegetables were overcooked, probably the result of not enough soup orders getting out, and being constantly on a burner. I'm not surprised. At 7pm, only 3 tables were seated. Including ours.

For the main, I wanted to stick with a simpler dish. Duck leg confit. Simple enough right? I mean, a restaurant who presents a menu with a section for traditional dishes better do a simple confit de canard properly. Again, I felt they were off with this dish. It was served on top of a bed of lentil beans, with a side of bok choy. Yes, what we Chinese people eat. And on top? A slice of green apple, tempura fried. What the fuck?! Duck confit is preserved and a bit salty. Apple is sweet. Frying it like tempura makes it sweeter. Bok choy is sweet. Simply, the flavour profiles were way off base. It was 3 seperate dishes combined into one. And let's just not talk about the beans. The duck, however, was the most disappointing. Just - dry. Completely dry. I mean, it is a confit, but come on!!

I decided to forgo desert. Just a coffee. I'm pretty sure no one can screw up on coffee. And I was right. The girls had cheesecake and creme brulee, both of which were less than satisfying.

My overall impression of this restaurant is that the chef is either one of two things:

1: They have no clue what is going on, and they use this fusion cuisine bullshit to hide it. If you cant do traditional cuisine properly, dont even attempt to be all fancy. And all this stuff about using regional ingredients? What a load of shit. Since when did Waterloo grow Chinese vegetables?

2: Business is really bad and they need to think of ways to attract new customers. I dont blame them. But using these techniques is not going to work. Cook good, local food and people will respond to that.

A bright spot of the evening was our server. Very attentive, polite, and professional. But sad to say, I will not be returning to Rushes.

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