I’ve written about Charcut here and here, so this place really doesn’t need an introduction. This is one of our go-to restaurants for a special occasion meal, although we hadn’t visited for at least a good year and a half (hard to believe it’s already been that long). Although we’re not much for official celebrations, we like to acknowledge both of our anniversaries – our wedding anniversary, and our “the day Cindy manned up and told Mark she likes him” anniversary, which is now going on 7 years strong. We headed to Charcut to celebrate the latter this past weekend.
Charcut hasn’t changed since we’d been there last. It’s still busy and vibrant; the place was packed to near capacity at our 6:30pm seating. Menus and waters were provided, and we settled in see what new offerings they had that evening.
The challenge with eating out, of course, is selecting a dish that fits into our new lifestyle. At a charcuterie this isn’t really difficult, and we’re not shy about asking questions if we’re not sure about certain menu items. It comes with the territory.
To start, Mark ordered for himself Oysters with Lemon and Tomato Mignonette. It’s handy that they allow you to order oysters individually, so you’re not stuck having to order a set amount. This worked out well for Mark, since I refuse to go near oysters after I heard them being described as swallowing salty, oceany snot (great way to convince someone to try a new food, right?). I have texture issues and sea snot is not on my list of things I can tolerate. These oysters were from New Brunswick and Mark was more than happy to carry on by himself, and it’s pretty difficult to mess up oysters.
For his main, Mark chose the Prime Rib with Rosemary Jus. This is ordered by the ounce and Mark opted for just a 5 oz. serving. It came with a whole head of roasted garlic on a bed of arugula, creamy horseradish sauce, and a small pot of rosemary jus, which Mark liked so much, he just drank it straight from the vessel. The prime rib was done perfectly; it was moist, tender, and seasoned well. I think Mark underestimated the portion size and wished he had ordered a couple more ounces.
As for me, I went for the fish of the day, a pan-fried New Zealand Red Snapper. We rarely have fish at home, so this sounded like a good option to me. If you’re wondering what that creamy mass underneath the fish is… well.. it’s polenta. I had asked the server what the fish came with, as the menu didn’t specify anything other than lemon and fine herbs. She said it came with broccolini, so I wrongly assumed that it just came with that as the side. WRONG. This was not the server’s fault since she wasn’t entirely wrong, but it was a tad misleading. It didn’t bother me too much so I delicately lifted my fish off the polenta and pushed it all onto one side of the dish. I’m pretty certain I ingested miniscule amounts of polenta, but no harm no foul. Mark was concerned that I would still be hungry, but the portion of fish was generous and with the couple of large stalks of broccolini, I was perfectly satisfied. The fish itself was pan-fried really well – it was flaky, moist, and seasoned with just the right amount of salt. A squirt of lemon is all it needed.
I have obviously been out of the restaurant game for too long, so I forgot to take a picture of the side we ordered, Duck Fat Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Chili. So, this might be my new favourite vegetable side dish, ever. It didn’t look like much when it was set down in front of us, but one bite is all it took to get us. I might have to buy a deep fryer JUST to recreate these Brussels sprouts at home. They were crispy, earthy, a little bit sweet, and tangy from the lemon. So simple, yet so tasty. For all you Brussels sprouts haters, you cannot hate on anything that is fried in duck fat. Really.
To end our meal, we each got an Americano and naturally skipped dessert (we had berries with whipped cream at home instead). We used to be the type that would eat until we were stuffed beyond capacity, but nowadays we’re able to eat until we’re satisfied and that’s more than enough for us. It feels good to enjoy a meal and not feel like passing out into a food coma afterwards or have to unbutton my pants from the stomach expansion.
Charcut will continue to remain as one of our favourite go-to restaurants. Their menu remains simple yet contemporary, and it’s easy to adapt to our new lifestyle. Our next big occasion is my birthday in January, so perhaps we will find ourselves there once again.
CHARCUT Roast House
100, 899 Centre St SW
Phone: (403) 984-2180