176 Dupont Street (in the back)
This post is sponsored by Branding & Buzzing.
On April 27, 2014 I had the opportunity to attend the Sweet Rain event at Big Crow in Toronto. This special event celebrated the sugar bush season with a special maple menu using Ninutik products, and Samuel Adams Boston lager on tap.
This was my first time visiting this restaurant, and I was really impressed with the quality of the food. Don’t let the casual backyard appearance fool you – Chef Anthony Rose’s menu is more than just run-of-the-mill BBQ fare. I ordered the Smoked Beef Cheek with Smoked Carrots, which was served with blue cheese and maple grits (shown below). The beef was beyond tender… is it wrong to refer to the texture of meat as buttery? Because it almost was.
My photograph doesn’t capture the yummy-ness of this dish very well, but I swear it was good. The smoky flavour of the meat paired nicely with the pungent blue cheese and creamy grits, and the carrots added sweetness.
Richard, the representative from Ninutik, came around and offered to add more maple sugar our dishes. That sugar was so good, I ended up buying a cube to take home! Other servers came around and poured maple syrup onto the dishes as well.
If you’re not a fan of maple syrup, you might think that adding it to savoury foods is totally weird. My brother thought so too, actually. He refuses to try the real maple syrup I have at home, and prefers to eat artificial “buttery” syrup on his waffles. Anyhow, he was somewhat terrified to have so much maple added to his dinner but in the end he decided that it actually complimented all of the dishes really well (and I agree!).
I’m not much of a beer drinker (I literally have 2 brands that I stick to), so I ordered a Maple Margarita to go with my meal. It was sweeter than a regular margarita, but still well-balanced. Also, I love that these glasses look like the ones I use at home. There is something strangely comforting about that.
My brother decided to order a Sam Adams lager because he likes beer and he had never tried that brand before. He raved about it so much I ended up stealing his glass to try it, and then ordered my own.
Even though my photos look bright and sunny, it was actually quite chilly outside when we went to the event. I had heard when they opened last year that the entire restaurant was outdoors, and I was worried that we might be cold, but it seems to have been weather-proofed since then. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the restaurant was down right toasty! The cozy chalet feel was enhanced by the blankets that covered the benches we sat on, and we were really close to the fire in the kitchen too.
We ordered several dishes (which I usually do when reviewing a restaurant), and we tried a few that weren’t maple-infused. My absolute favourite non-maple dish was the Smoked Mozzarella and Roast Garlic Bread.
I’ve read a lot of good things about this bread in other people’s reviews, but you really have to try it to understand the hype. The bread is wonderfully crusty on the outside, and just slightly chewy on the inside. There are multiple whole roasted cloves of garlic stuffed in there with the melted cheese and, of course, a ton of butter. If you do order this dish, be sure to enjoy it while it’s hot
Another nice item was the baked potato, although it did come with a ridiculously huge piece of bacon on top. I know that these are share plates, and the portions are not meant for one person, but still! Super-pork-portions aside, I enjoyed these potatoes. They were soft and fluffy on the inside, and were a nice compliment to my beef dish.
My brother saw Ketchup chips on the menu and got excited. Sadly, these were not the best ketchup chips I’ve had. I’d advise that you spend your money on something that the restaurant actually cooks, and skip the chips.
For dessert my brother ordered brownies, which was a wise choice. These brownies were super chocolate-y, and very rich which I think is exactly how a brownie should be. They are really filling though, we ended up taking two home in a take-out box.
Oh! I almost forgot… we did have another maple dish at our dinner. Don’t ask me how this nearly slipped my mind, considering it’s JUST maple syrup. This is what happens when you’re trying to write blog posts at midnight.
This is the Maple Taffy on Snow, which I thought was the best possible dessert for a maple syrup celebration. Richard showed us how to roll the syrup onto the stick. The result was a semi-soft treat with an intense maple flavour. It’s funny how temperature changes how things taste. We ate the same syrup earlier in the meal and didn’t notice the floral notes of this syrup until we ate it as chilled taffy.
I couldn’t resist taking a video of my brother rolling his maple taffy treat. My mother wouldn’t have believed he ate it otherwise 😛
All photographs shot by Jeffrey Chan Photography appear with permission.
All watermarked images belong to Shareba Abdul and the In Search Of Yummy-ness blog.
This meal was complimentary, however, my opinions are genuine.
This post is sponsored by Branding & Buzzing. All opinions are my own.