August 7, 2014

The Alex Restaurant

The other night a few Belly Monsters and I had dinner at The Alex Restaurant. I know, I know, you're thinking - "How can Chanry possibly have time to go out when she hasn't blogged in weeks? Surely that's important to her!" - first off, simmer down with that sass okay? Second, I will get better - It's just every time I have a few spare moments where I can either blog or sleep .. well the later usually wins.  But I have a lot of fun things in the works! Including my #CanadianClubTour weekly post! #shamelessplug
Anyways, my first trip to The Alex, happened here, for Taste Of Burlington. I knew I was in for a really good meal and considering the company ( the Belly Monster + Jeannie & Salar from MeatVentures) I knew it was going to be pretty kick ass night. 

Matt & Erin, the duo behind my food crush Rapscallion and 2 Black sheep have plans to open a fourth restaurant and are introducing one day only pixe fixe special menus at all of their three restaurants in anticipation for their fourth masterpiece. Details on the other prix fixe meals at the end of this post. 
Be warned, portions do sit on the smaller side at The Alex - so yes these pictures or a little misleading but don't hate - what you loose in quantity you definitely make up in quality. 

First course: Duck confit rillette with summer corn chowder - the corn chowder here was fantastic - nice and sweet with little salty bits of pork. The rillette I enjoyed as well but the inside texture isn't my absolute fave. That is personal preference though. It was seasoned and cooked quite beautifully. 
Next up, Roast sweetbreads, lardons, pickled carrot, roast cauliflower purée - I absolutely love sweetbreads - reminds me very much of the texture of brain & liver, two of my favourite things. These looked like they were very lightly dusted in flour and then fried because they had a very subtle but amazing crunchy exterior. Everything else on the dish, from the roasted cauliflower puree to the pickled carrots worked wonderfully. It was so enjoyable loading up my fork with a little bit of everything for perfect bite after perfect bite! 
This next one, the Charred quail, asparagus salad, quail scotch egg - was a bit of a hit and miss for me. Let me explain! The scotch quail egg was absolute perfection, exactly what I pictured a scotch egg to be; crispy on the outside, with a flavourful sausage and the egg yolk was beautiful, bright and runny. Kudos to the cook who had to boil, peel and prep these eggs. You hard work did not go unnoticed. Feel free to demand a raise - you've earned it!  I could have had a 20pc bucket of these. The rest of the plate, the shaved asparagus and quail were great but next to that quail egg it didn't stand a chance. It was like putting the boy next door next to Ryan Gosling or one of the 1 Direction kids - no one stands a chance!  
The Lamb rack chops, fried polenta, rosemary was another well executed dish. The polenta was fantastic - almost stole the show to be honest, and the lamb was cooked to perfection, as it should be at a place like this. I love it when all the components of a dish are executed wonderfully. From the sauce, to the veggies to the main attraction - this plate was excellent. But and yes there is a but - after those sweetbreads and that mind blowing scotch egg this was  a little on the boring side. I know, I'm just being such a diva now! 
The Crispy pork belly on smoked pork hock and chèvre ravioli was the second 'main' dish. We all loved the presentation of this one - simple & clean. At first glance, this looked pretty traditional- pasta with peas and a cream sauce. But after dissecting it, it came out on top to be another crowd pleaser - minus the thick ravioli, which shows they definitely made it in house! 

My biggest praise for The Alex has to be all the well thought out dishes. All the components of each dish were meant to be there. Do you know what I mean? Take this dish for example, the raw radish slices,  [which are everywhere now by the way. It's like cauliflower and radishes are the new Beyonce and JayZ of the vegetable world .. and this is their On the Run tour] and peas all played an equal role next to the pork belly and ravioli. Everything does its job to elevate your pallet and to bring you flavours that are on point.
The dessert was a little on the meh side. Some of us enjoyed it and some of us didn't know what to do with it but all of us cleaned our plates so that says something right? The shortbread was good but I had no idea what to do with that jam thing on top. I just moved it around my plate a little bit. You win some, you loose some.
At the end, the entire meal was $69 ++ (taxes & tip) which I think is perfectly fair. The quality of the dishes paired with the service and atmosphere are all worth every penny.  Our server was actually the same server I received the first time I was here - which says a lot about 1. the establishment: that a server would stay so long and 2. he remembered serving me before. So naturally this guy worked his way into my good books. 

Matt & Erin are hosting two more dinners.  August 12th is Five Courses of Duck for $69 ($30 for wine pairings) at Rapscallion and August 19th is $50 drink & food at Two Back Sheep.  If you've never been to any of these establishments before (shame on you) this is a perfect opportunity to get your feet wet, and you can feel good about helping them get to their fourth restaurant. Which I am very impatiently waiting for. 

Happy Eating!

The Alex Restaurant 
480 Brand Street
Burlington, On
The Alex Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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