On all my trips to Niagara, tradition calls for packing sandwiches for lunch, and eating dinner in the area, before heading back home. I wanted to eat at About Thyme Bistro - unfortunately, I forgot to call ahead of time, and they were fully booked until 8pm. The other choice was Old Winery Restaurant, which was about 30 minutes away and further east in Niagara. Not willing to drive all the way, we decided to instead drive back to Toronto to eat.
About 80 minutes later, through the horrendous traffic and driving rain, we arrived at the Shops at Don Mills. Dinner at Prairie Ink. Quiet inside, with only 3 other tables. A duo playing sax and double bass. Romantic. A mildly gay environment for two guys to be dining together.
Started with 2 soups - a peanut soup and a pumpkin purée. The peanut soup was silky in consistency, but was a bit too sweet. Liquid peanut butter. The pumpkin soup was spicy, with good texture but a bit under-seasoned. On to the entrées. An 8oz sirloin, and a pan-seared pickerel. The steak was juicy and cooked perfectly to medium-rare, but again, I don't like this idea that the only way to cook steak is on the grill. The char marks were beautiful, but were burnt and bitter. Fries alongside were a bit overcooked as well. Brown. The pickerel was beautifully cooked. Delicious in fact, but I didn't appreciate the accoutrements too much. There were raw sprouts placed on top, which I promptly removed. Not eating it raw. Underneath, roasted bok choy. What western cooks don't understand about bok choy is that you can't only wash the outside. There's dirt trapped between the stalks, and each bite produced more grit. The only saving grace is the roasted potatoes. Clearly organic, and wonderfully soft and buttery. Beautiful.
Shit, I hate fusion. The pickerel was beautiful, as were the potatoes, but why the bok choy? Why the sprouts? Be honest with yourself - is that stuff really necessary? Is it? And wash the bok choy thoroughly! A shame, because I really like this restaurant. Keep it simple, folks.
We had a half litre of 2007 Fielding Estate Unoaked Chardonnay. Came out too chilled, as usual. Some citrus, a touch of bacon fat. Quite simple on the palate. Short, bitter finish.
Maybe dinner is a bit too much to handle. Prairie Ink does the brunch scene quite well. The lemon/blueberry bread is absolutely delicious. I'll be going back, but maybe not so much for dinner.