16 Aug Food By Ian – Eliot & Vine European Restaurant
It finally happened!!! I finally got around to checking out the new restaurant in Halifax, Eliot & Vine European restaurant. I’ve heard so much talk about this place and about how good it is and how I have to go, so I finally did it. The only thing is, I wish I had done it sooner!
So what finally brought me over to this place? Well on Friday that just passed, it was a good friend of mine, Liam’s, birthday and for celebrations we headed on over to Eliot & Vine. Last year we were over at the Bicycle Thief down by the waterfront (to which I plan on doing a review at hopefully soon) and this year we mixed it up and decided to go somewhere different. There were about 10 of us who went in total this year and I’m pretty positive I was actually the only one who had never been there before, so I had a lot of ideas thrown my way on what to eat. That’s great and all but Food By Ian likes to live dangerously when it comes to meal selections and trying new things, so I figured I would take their feedback and probably go with something else. Funny enough, I actually ended up getting the one thing everyone told me to get, the steak.
Listen, if you’ve read my review on The Keg Steakhouse, you know that it’s going to be a challenge to beat their steaks; it’s what they’re known for. I’m always a little skeptical when people tell me I have to try the steak at a place that isn’t really a steak house, so I was interested to taste one that everyone was recommending. That being said, you just know I had to have a three course meal, so we’re starting with the appetizers first.
First thing that caught my eye on the list of appetizers was the Spreads. Two different cheese dips in one appetizer, now that’s what I call a win. Typically when you get a cheese dip appetizer, let’s say something along the lines of a spinach and goat cheese dip, it’s just the one type of cheese with some pita bread or chips on the side. I enjoyed the Spreads because it came with two types of cheese dips, both different I might add, and it also came with a few different breads to dip in the cheese. Again, this is what I call a win, I get more than one flavor and I get it at the same price as any other restaurant that has a cheese dip on the menu. Now I know, it’s not just about quantity, it’s also about quality when it comes to the food so let’s talk about flavor. The first dip (as shown on the left in the first picture at the bottom) was a feta cheese tzatziki dip and the second was a goat cheese and basil pesto dip. Oh yeah, that’s right, I said pesto. I love pesto, it has such a unique taste to it that makes it stand out in any meal. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved all the other ingredients too but pesto is that lovely added bonus. Clearly you now have realized that out of the two of them, the pesto was my favorite but I want to emphasizes this, if you’re not a pesto fan that’s okay, though it stands out, it blended perfectly with the goat cheese and basil. Look at it this way, the feta cheese tzatziki dip was also good. Tzatziki also has a unique taste in my opinion but it didn’t over power the taste of the feta cheese either. Actually, what it helped to do was make for a creamy cheese dip, as opposed to something too thick. Both dips were great and pesto definitely takes the two thumbs up in my book.
Up next was the Beef Tenderloin which I ordered medium rare because I like some red in my meat. This was a very creative platter, something you wouldn’t necessarily find paired with most steaks. The meal included cauliflower puree, confit sweet potato medallions and this fantastic, hands down one of the most flavorful sauces I’ve had yet, double smoked bacon sauce au poivre. I was quite excited to taste this steak after reading the menu and hearing such good feedback on it. I also enjoyed the way the meal was presented; please excuse the picture below as it does not do justice to the way the meal actually looked.
I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourselves, pureed vegetables? Who would eat such a thing? Well what do you think apple sauce is? Essentially it’s pureed apples so stop complaining and start eating your vegetables kids. Honestly, you wouldn’t have even been able to guess it was cauliflower after eating it, they were whipped up well and had a great taste to them. Of course the other vegetable on there was the sweet potatoes. I loved the way the sweet potatoes turned out, they were almost like fries. As shown in the picture below on the right, you can see they came out nice and crispy which made for a crunchy outer layer and a soft inner layer. Remember, they weren’t french fries so this is the way you want them, not just crunchy through and through. Now it’s time to talk about the steak. I cannot exaggerate how easy this steak was to cut, guys. It was like butter, the knife glided smoothly through it. It was cooked perfectly, medium rare with just the right amount of pink and the taste was succulent. I seriously mean it when I say this steak was all around great. It has to be one of the best steaks I’ve ever had and it meets all the criteria you’d want in a steak. It was cooked right, it was still juicy through and through, it cut like butter and it was flavorful. I would go back just for this steak. Actually wait, correction, I realized I forgot one important part to this meal as well. The double smoke bacon sauce. The sauce went with the entire meal, from mixing it in with the cauliflower to dipping the sweet potatoes and steak in it, the sauce was delicious. You could really taste the bacon and what I believe was peppercorn mixed in as well. I won’t lie, I may have licked the plate afterwards… I’m starting to think this is a reason why my parents stopped taking me to nice places… ha ha ha.
Last thing on the agenda was the dessert. Why does dessert always have to be last though? I’m going to have to go to the Middle Spoon soon where the excel in dessert first and ask questions later… Or am I getting that saying wrong? Anyways, point of the story is, of course I ordered dessert and like the rest of the meal, of course it was delicious. Whether it’s coffee, espresso, or coffee and espresso flavored stuff, I love it. I don’t just drink 6 cups of coffee a day for the energy, I actually love the taste of it too and that’s the same with espresso. This lead me to the one and only tiramisu cheesecake on the dessert menu. If this isn’t already, it certainly will become a fan favorite. You can taste the coffee/espresso in the dessert and it is heavenly. I was actually surprised that it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting, which is a good thing because as you can imagine, after two prior meals you don’t necessarily want something over powering with sugar. Now for all you dieters out there, clearly there is sugar in this, it’s cheesecake for crying out loud but my point is, it’s not going to be over the top. It’s just the right amount to kill that sweet tooth craving you’ve been having. I think that even if you’re not a fan of the coffee/espresso tag team, you should give this dessert a shot, it also has chocolate!
There you have it Foodians, the long awaited Eliot & Vine restaurant review. Although I know that Eliot & Vine is not a steakhouse and I highly doubt they anticipate being one (though I could be wrong), other places should look out as there steak is going to become a top contender. The atmosphere is great here and so are the waiters/waitresses. The lighting is dim-lit which makes for a romantic evening and during the afternoon, the windows are huge which allow for the natural sunlight to light up the place. I rank this place high on the “you must visit” list. Eliot & Vine, if you ever get featured on the Food Network, I would be more than happy to speak to your delicious food.
Finally, if you haven’t realized this by now and have been living under a rock the past 5 days, then scroll up the page and hit that middle tab that says “SHOP”. The Food By Ian Store is now open for business. I’m also extremely excited to announce that sales have already started to come in and I wanted to say thanks to everyone whose been following so far and everyone whose been shopping. You guys rock and I promise, there will be more designs to come!