Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thank you letter to Canoe

Dear Canoe,

Thank you for the lovely meal I had last week for Winterlicious. It was my first time eating in your establishment and I was very excited, and apprehensive, all at the same time. I'd been warned by many a friend and colleague not to expect much from you. People told me that the service would be mediocre and the portions would be small. They said that because it was Winterlicious you weren't going to treat me as well as you might a regular customer. But all of that turned out to be false! From the moment I walked in you were nothing but hospitable and gracious.

As a starter I had your Chilled Slow Cooked Heritage Salmon and may I just say, “bravo”. All salmon should be cooked that way. There’s nothing more offensive to my mouth than overcooked salmon, except perhaps overcooked beef. It came with a Radish Emulsion and Maple Sherry Reduction. I’d never thought of pairing radish with salmon, but it really works well together and I plan on incorporating that duo in my home cooked meals in the future.

For the main, my whole table got your Duo of Ontario Beef. Our conversation slowed to a halt when we started eating that beef. Everyone agreed that it was beyond fantastic and we all had to remind each other to slow down and make it last. Everyone also agreed that Molasses Glazed Carrots were marvelous and there were much exclaims of “why haven’t I had this before!”. I’m not normally a fan of creamy mashed potatoes. I prefer my spuds with texture, but you managed to pull off creamy potatoes without making me feel like I was eating glue. I’m not sure how you did that, but I’d love to know your secret.

I was the only one at my table who didn’t get the Birch Syrup Cake. I chose the Niagara Pear Panna Cotta instead. My friends adored the cake. Mouthfuls were followed with comments like “I’d come back just for dessert!”. I thought I might have chosen the wrong dessert until I had my fist taste of the panna cotta. Divine! When the waiters came back to the table to clear the dessert plates they asked me what I thought and I said, in all honesty, “that was like angel filled clouds dancing across my tongue.” They laughed and said “that’s good. We’ll tell Chef. He will like that one.” and I really hope they did.

Our main server, Brendan, was perfect. He was attentive without being overbearing and he made us feel at ease. I appreciated his sense of humour and his obvious talent for hospitality. When we left he shook all of our hands and said he hoped to see us again soon. That’s always a nice thing to hear. When it came to paying our bill, Brendan made up a copy for the table and then a bill for each individual so we could decide how we wanted to pay, without any prompting to do so. When he did that, I think I fell in love with Canoe. Every restaurant should adopt that billing process! It’s considerate and practical and I really appreciated it.

When we left, each of us received a packet of house-blended spices and a recipe to use it with salmon. It probably didn’t cost you much to do that, but I found it really touching. No other restaurant has done that for me before and I congratulate whoever thought it up. I get to take home a little bit of my Canoe experience with me because of it and that makes me feel special.
So thank you, Canoe, for all the great service and the wonderful meal. I won’t forget it and I hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,


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