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Perigee


jcsaucey
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I live in Victoria, and lately I have been reading alot of great press about Perigee.

Since I will not be able to go anytime soon, I must live vicariously through others.

Edited by jcsaucey (log)

cook slow, eat slower

J.Chovancek

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

The Mrs and I finally made it on Friday night and we were not disappointed, from the selection of 5, 6 or 7 courses we each had 6, as follows, as far as I can remember. I didn’t save a menu or take notes, so bear with my vague recollections (especially as the evening wore on and the vino takes hold):

Seared scallops with a wild mushroom relish (her) / Deep fried large squid tentacles with a chilli dust and daikon-slaw (me)

Braised endive with something or other (her) / a cauliflower compote – actually more like a moulded jelly (me)

Pan fried veal sweetbreads with a chard coulis (both)

Seared toro on top of foie gras with pea shoots and a hint of truffle (both)

Cheese – can’t remember a blue for her and a sheep’s hard for me (both)

A waffle something or other (her) / upside down butter tart with rum-raisin ice cream

All of this was very, very good. The sweetbreads in particular were masterfully done – as good as I have had them since I lived in Montreal and would have them at Laloux. The upside down butter tart (a sugar tart for those of you not from the Great White North) was about the sweetest richest thing I have ever eaten, which is why I can’t remember what my wife had beyond a waffle. And, incredibly, the cauliflower mould was a wonderfully subtle dish.

The open kitchen concept is a little cute, but fun to watch. What wasn't fun was craning my neck around to talk to the servers. But the food is good enough to compensate for the discomfort.

We had the accompanying wines with the courses, supplemented with a half bottle of champagne and an extra glass of a Pinot Noire we enjoyed with our main. Not sure about this concept: too many competing flavours and not enough of the better wines for me.

Basic verdict: one of the better restaurants in the city. It's not cheap, but neither is it ridiculous for the caliber of the cooking. I would go again in a heartbeat.

Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

My experience at Perigee wasn’t quite as good.

Yes, I do like the kitchen layout, which meant that the chef could serve the dishes and answer questions. But what about those guests at the ‘outer’ tables – it creates a two-tier system but, of course, the prices are the same. And there are also problems if there are four people to be served. The chef can’t reach across to serve the further two people so has to aggregate the dishes off to the side and wait for a server to arrive to carry the other two plates – and there are relatively few servers.

As mentioned above, there are ‘only’ tasting menus. The four of us opted for the 7-course menu, with a specific request to try ‘as many dishes as possible’. After establishing allergies/preferences it became time to choose the wine(s). But we didn’t know (and neither did the server/sommelier) what courses we were having (it’s in the chefs hands) so how do we select matching wines?????

Of course, the solution was to leave the matching to the sommelier (I guess we could have chosen a sparkler to start and a ‘safe’ choice of red and white). But we were there for conversation, not a wine education course, so I bit the bullet and turned it over to the server, with mixed results.

Now came the first course (actually an amuse) – raw oyster for each of us. One of our party had specifically specified ‘well-cooked and no organ meats’ (but admittedly nothing said specifically about raw seafood) and another had said ‘the more organ meats the better’. The other two had both said ‘anything including experimental’. As a slight (but relevant) aside, many restaurants serving tasting menus to groups serve the same courses to each female and a different set of dishes (but identical for each person) to the males. This occurs at Susur, Jov and now Perigee – presumably to ease serving and scheduling. The ‘female’ dishes all come out first and are served, followed by the ‘male’ dishes. This makes sense ‘a priori’ as couples can share different tastes; females are served first (outmoded but traditional protocol); similar dishes can be prepared together in the kitchen; avoids all ‘who wants the curried dogfish’ questions; and also simplifies serving wine by the glass. BUT, unwittingly we had confounded this neat process as the ‘no organ well cooked’ and ‘bring on the organs’ were the same sex. So how did the kitchen handle this? They totally ignored it. Both people got the same dishes – including foie gras. Now, we solved the problem by passing plates around, but the ‘well-cooked, no organs’ person needed to do this three times. Sorry guys – just not good service.

And the wine matches were very mixed. The best wine served (group consensus) was an Alsace Gewurztraminer – which was totally inappropriate for the dish it was served with. Do I compliment on an excellent wine or lament that it just didn’t match the food? Now, I admit that our swapping of plates might also confuse, but sometimes the males received the same wines and the females different (makes sense if attempting to match the food), and occasionally the same wine was served to each couple, with a different wine going to the opposite side of the table. Perhaps an inspired attempt to allow people to try different wines with identical courses – or perhaps confusion.

I didn’t take specific notes on the wine or food – as mentioned above we were there for conversation. But there were a number of disquieting service lapses, which are not acceptable at these prices. Nothing at all wrong with the food – but similarly nothing memorable jumped out (slight correction, the smoked bison and wild caribou were both excellent – but I’ve had the same dishes elsewhere in Toronto; also the serving of a cheese course (a la Avalon) is to be complimented). But the general reaction around the table was that they’d spend the extra $20 per person and have a memorable meal at Susur (or other high-end).

But if you do go, my recommendation is to go as a couple and ask for a table adjacent to the kitchen counter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ah geez, sorry sorry...you know sometimes, you try and cure your internet addiction? anyway, i couldn't so here i am to say that, although it's been a month and a half, my perigee experience remains memorable enough for me to appear here shame-faced and tell you so. i had been a bit worried that the open concept might interrupt what was supposed to be a somewhat romantic dinner (not romantic romantic, but nice for two), but instead it was a good conversation piece, and having the chefs serve and describe the dishes was a very nice touch.

my favourites (among the eight or nine dishes we had, we went for five courses and were served two of the same, i think, and three different):

octopus legs dredged in something and fried, served with daikon radish coleslaw

a threesome of celery root (pureed with truffle oil, cubed and basted in foie gras and fried, kind of)

sweetbreads in a gorgeous, gorgeous swiss chard sauce

and my partner's main was a seared squab leg that was apparently to die for ( i tasted, but don't fully remember, but it still gets talked about). he also got a savoury cheesecake for dessert. so nice.

the sommelier wasn't as smooth as, for example, the very chatty fellow at rain - i didn't find the wines revelatory, but i would say the evening was fully worth it.

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