…goodbye parties, friends with champagne glasses in their hands, feasting, excessive laughter, good conversation, spot on service and a fantastic feast. That about sums up my evening last night at Canyon Creek Chophouse.
As a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food Administration program I am familiar with the Sir Corp group of restaurants as many of my classmates went to work at their various concepts (such as Jack Astors, Loose Moose and Alice Fazoolis to name a few). When contacted by their team I was thrilled to check out their steak centric restaurant concept for the first time. It was one of those moments when you exhale, “at long last.”
Timing was ripe for a feast as I was just about to head to the Ontario Tourism Summit followed by a three week road trip across South Africa. I took the opportunity to invite three of my close friends: Erica, Melly and Mike for a dinner where we could catch up and celebrate our shared passion for food and drink. I co-ordinated the menu in advance with Kate who works on the Social Media and the Chef made sure our tasting featured CC’s signature dishes and fan favorites.
I arrived at their Front Street location, a stones throw from Union Station, just after 5pm on a cold and overcast October evening. The host table is located down a short hall cum wine cellar. A sizeable bar and lounge can be found to the right and formal fine dining room to the left. Once at my table I chatted with the GM and Bar Manager who helped sort out the perfect wine pairings for the evening (I really wanted to showcase a sparkler due to the celebratory nature of a going-away-party). Once all of my guests had arrived we pulled back our sleeves and started our culinary marathon by sipping on cocktails (a great warmup and stretch session).
The evening was full of delightful conversation, the sort of memorable storytelling that is a product of joyous libations and the adventurousness of a sizeable feast. Our server was excellent throughout the evening always ensuring our table was filled with a basket of their pipping hot signature rolls and sweetened butter. Canyon Creek offers a steak centric menu with a few surprises along the way. The entire table fell in love (read: licked the plate clean) with CC’s Asian Nachos and Banana Coconut Cream Pie.
We stumbled out onto the street four hours later, I believe the clock read sometime after 10pm. Hugs, kisses and burps were exchanged before we each scattered across the city in search of home. As I hopped on the subway I closed my eyes and smiled. I had an overwhelming sense of pleasure coursing through my body. My shoulders relaxed and my legs fell slack as I happily slumped into the closest chair. My mind filled with South Africa family road trip excitement followed by fond memories of an unforgettable dinner made by a perfect marriage of true friendship and fantastic food.
Now my new dilema, where to celebrate the Welcome Home Feast?
We sampled (* notes my favorites)
Vodka Martini Lemon Twist
Raspberry Blue Bubbles
Lime Ginny *
Open Sparkling Wine VQA, Niagara *
Le Clos Jordanne “Village Reserve” Pinot Noir VQA, Niagara *
Canyon Creek Dip
asiago, artichoke hearts, spinach with beer infused salsa fresca and tortilla strips
Asian Nachos *
lemongrass chicken, shredded vegetables, three cheeses, sriracha sesame and lime sour cream
prince edward county parmesan, applewood-smoked bacon, sourdough croutons
vine-ripened leamington hot house tomatoes, vidalia onions, ontario danish blue cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
Smoky Bacon and Cheddar Burger *
artisan potato chive-bun, long-cut fries
Cedar Plank Salmon
jail island fillet, lemon white wine tomato broth, sour cream and chive potatoes
Chipotle Top Sirloin *
chipotle tabasco, roasted garlic, goat cheese butter, loaded baked potato
Slow Roast Prime Rib
aged 40 days, dijon mustard curst, jus, horseradish cream, wild rice pilaf
Banana Coconut Cream Pie *
toasted oat crust, banana whipped cream
Canyon Creek Pecan Pie
fresh whipped cream, caramel sauce
goldschlager, baileys, hot coffee, whipped cream, cherry