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Black Hoof – Toronto

May 11th, 2009 · No Comments

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A simple brown awning with charcuterie written in simple letters hides a den of deliciousness. Well – it is not exactly hidden since as soon as you look in the window/door you can see that this small restaurant is completely full – both at the tables and the small bar at the front.

The menu is written on a chalkboard and although I think the menu does change there are certain staples which always remain and which are must-trys including the house-made charcuterie, the tongue in brioche, the marrow and the the raw horse sammy. My dining companion that night is generally open to try new things but wasn’t keen on trying the tongue in brioche or the sweetbreads – both which came highly recommended by the server. With a little convincing along with the help of some wine – we tried the sweetbreads as well as the tongue and there were definitely NO regrets.

This is a place which obviously takes great care and pride in its meat and meat products. The charcuterie plate is a wooden board laid out with house-made charcuterie. It comes in a large and small size – in retrospect, even though there were only two of us, I would have ordered the larger plate (it looked like it had 3 additional kinds of charcuterie. That night our charcuterie plate included – pate de grandmere, chicken pate, lavender scented duck breast proscuitto, a few different kinds of sausages and salamis – all of which were house-made except for one of the chorizos. We added a marrow for $5 to our charcuterie plate and it came to the table just roasted and with thin crispy bread on which to mound the succulent marrow which you spoon directly from the bone. Order a side of delicious Thuet bread and you are set to begin on a culinary journey.

The sweetbreads with mushrooms were fried crispy morsels that somehow were a cross of creamy sweetness but with enough heft to it to almost seem meaty. No worries – there is no brain in sweetbreads or, according to the server, any of the products on the menu. The tongue in brioche – although granted not a name which would appeal to most is a sandwich of toasted brioche piled high with multiple thin layers of the most delicious tender “meat” (which just happens to be tongue).

Other dishes which came highly recommended were the testina and lentils as well as the raw horse sammy are supposed to be amazing but alas we were full. Most of the dishes are in the $10-15 range although the raw horse sammy and the black hoof marrow (4 delicious bones of roasted marrow) – each weigh in at around $20-25. Luckily, you can add a marrow (a single bone) to any of the dishes you order. Vegetarians beware – the only vegetable dish on the entire menu was a fresh asparagus salad and the only non-meat product was the cheese plate (from the Cheese Boutique), olives and bread (Thuet).

And of course with great meat – you also need great drinks. Most of the cocktails are $9-11, beers are on tap and many bottles of wine available in the $40-60 range. The bartender is a well-known purveyor of cocktails with an ever-changing list of drinks. The papaya mojito was a delicious and refreshing combination of papaya-infused rum, papaya juice, lime and mint which thankfully avoided the too often overly sweet concotions that masquerade as cocktails at other institutions.

The service was very good. It is a busy restaurant, but service is fast and friendly. Our server knew the dishes in detail and kept our water glasses full.


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Black Hoof
28 Dundas St W
Toronto, ON M6J, Canada
(416) 551-8854
Reservations: No. Be prepared to wait if you don’t arrive early 6ish or late 9ish. If you do have to wait, the hostess will take your cell and you can take a walk around the gentrifying neighbourhood which is an interesting mix of funky shops/restaurants amongst the old stalwarts (eg. Cafe Brasiliano) of Dundas.

Cash or debit only.
Cost: Less than $150 for ample food, cocktails and wine

Black Hoof on Urbanspoon

Tags: charcuterie · cocktails · Favorites · Toronto

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