Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eat Real, Eat Local, Eat Fine!

We've all done it...promised ourselves to go to a certain restaurant and yet somehow never make it. One of those restaurants for us is Fid Resto, in downtown Halifax. We've been meaning to go ever since we moved to Halifax from Toronto. Their motto...on their brochures, website and chalkboard is - Local By Nature. Dennis Johnston, chef/proprietor and his wife Monique have been long time advocates of using fresh ingredients and promoting local producers. Last year they did a revamp of the restaurant to make fine dining more casual and relaxed and more affordable. In fact, this year they won The Coast's 2009 Best Restaurant Award for their efforts.

And finally, last night, long overdue...we went and had a truly lovely dinner. But first, let me explain the photo at the top of this post...I personally love a restaurant with a view to the kitchen. It shares a very intimate place with the diners out front and to me, it means that I'm part of the whole experience, not just the eating part. And that blur you see is Dennis, really enjoying himself (you can't see the smile, but I did).

We arrived early and Dennis actually came out of the kitchen to make sure we were taken care of (and that was before I told him I wanted to write about Fid) - in fact, I'll be going back to have a discussion with him next week about how he got to where he is today (he actually grew up in Halifax and went off to France to hone his exceptional skills) and hopefully share some advice for us home cooks.

But enough yakking, let me share my dinner with a nutshell....from start to finish...

For starters, we couldn't resist the Lobster Roll - juicy Nova Scotia lobster meat with cilantro wrapped in rice paper wrapping - a lovely play on a traditional Nova Scotian lobster roll (usually served up in a hot dog bun) with an Asian twist. It's worth the trip to Fid Resto just for this! And I do hope it makes it's way from the "daily special" on the chalk board to the main menu.

W also shared an extraordinary plate of local goose proscuito (cured at Fid and totally awesome - chewy, salty, and in a word- HEAVENLY!) served with tiny sour gerkins and red cabbage.

My Honey, being the carnivore that he is, went with the 7 Day Marinated Hanger Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (and left not a speck on his plate!) . He's already got his eye on the the Portuguese inspired Roasted Monkfish for our next visit.

I went with the Farmer's Market Inspiration which is vegetarian and presented in a black and red bento box. Being a carnivore myself, I thought perhaps I'd still be hungry - or at least not satisfied after the meal (it often happens), but felt - for the sake of this post, that I wanted to see what the chef picked up at the market and what sort of dish he would create. In fact, lots of my favorite Spring veggies made it to the table- fiddleheads, asparagus, baby bok choi, tiny new beets and potatoes and even some Jerusalem artichoke. A tasty dipping sauce for the vegetables, some of which were roasted and others stir fried and all served with a heaping spoonful of the most delicious, creamiest polenta I've ever had....which is saying a lot, since I've never really been a fan of polenta. The glass of Annapolis Valley winery star Grand Pre Vintners Reserve Acadian Blanc (similar to Chardonnay) went perfectly with the meal.

And although we really were both full, we managed to share a dessert. It was hard to choose. Everything sounded delicious - Moelleux au chocolat; sticky toffee pudding; Fid trifle - but we had to go with a twist on one of our favorite desserts - the Banana Creme Brulee that took the traditional creme brulee to a whole new level. Not sure I can do it justice with words...perhaps a return trip is necessary.

So what's your favorite restaurant that makes it a point of using local ingredients and showcasing local producers?


Katerina said...

This looks amazing! I love hangar steak, its my favorite cut. Plus you know you live somewhere fabulous when lobster is a truly local food.

Ruth Daniels said...

It is awesome to live here - especially about the lobster ;-)

As to the hanger steak, it's not easy to come by at the local grocery store (not many butchers in town either), but hopefully I'll get the chef to share his source ;-)

Anonymous said...

Love the pics. I always enjoy lovely presentations of food.

(AKA FoodRenegade)

Dave Jones said...

sounds delicious....amazing pictures.