The meaning of Auberge du Pommier for a restaurant may be confusing. Literally meaning “house of the apple” or “apple inn”, whichever one you may choose, it may not make that much sense to call a restaurant by that name. What’s less confusing is the choice to go to this exquisite restaurant because of the reputation they hold.
Auberge du Pommier is one of the high end restaurants that Oliver and Bonacini has, and is often noted as one of the best restaurants in Toronto to eat at. Patrons can and should thank the executive chef, Marc St. Jacques for his expertise in culinary arts. Marc St. Jacques is a former executive chef at Michael Mina’s at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. For those who aren’t aware, Michael Mina’s is a restaurant that boasts a one star rating by Michelin, which is nothing to scoff at.
I had the pleasure of experiencing the food at this restaurant before, but this time the food was better. I had treated my girlfriend and some others to this restaurant before, but the Summerlicious and Winterlicious menu’s just cannot compare. Having eaten at the restaurant prior to taking my girlfriend there, I had told her, “the food during normal times are better”. Of course this is only an opinion, but as any foodie should know is that food quality has two discerning qualities – the reputation of the restaurant and the price.
The evening started out with complimentary rosé champagne from France. It was a fairly dry champagne, with tastes similar to a chardonnay. Granted chardonnay grapes are one of the seven types of grapes used to make champagnes, I was not surprised at all. Following the orders of food, we had a complimentary serving of some mini appetizers to get us started. There was a black truffle infused brioche, and smoked salmon, arugula, and egg on a small baguette. The black truffle infused brioche was delicious, having a very earthy flavor because to the truffle.
For the appetizer, my girlfriend had the foie gras terrine. I had been constantly telling her how good foie gras is, and this was her first time trying it. The foie gras terrine that was on the menu for Valentines Day by Chef St. Jacques won gold for the Canadian Culinary Championships of 2013. It had a very smooth, somewhat creamy texture to it and the lemon curds adds a nice sour touch to it. I had the tartare, which was simply delicious. For those who don’t know, tartare is raw beef, which is seasoned and sometimes served with raw egg yolk. The wine that was paired with the tartare was a light rosé which complimented the dish fairly well.
The entrées were better. My girlfriend had the “Demi-Deuil” which is a truffle-stuffed chicken roulade, Asian pear mostarda, Napa cabbage salad, parsnip purée, and a périgourdine sauce. The Demi-Deuil wasn’t as good as I would hoped, but it was still good nonetheless. I had the “Canard”, which on the other hand didn’t disappoint. It’s a roasted duck breast, served with a bean cassoulet, purple mustard, and a foie gras mousse. The bean cassoulet was spectacular, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m no normal fan of beans. The duck breast was done rare, and the texture was very soft, with a little chewiness but not too chewy. Paired up with the foie gras mousse it was a delightful entrée to have. The wine that the duck was paired with was also good. The wine was a pinot noir from Ontario’s “Organized Crime” winery. It was a half bodied wine, which was a perfect match for the duck seeing as how none of the flavors were too powerful.
Lastly comes the desserts. My girlfriend got the “Fromage” on the menu, which consisted of black truffle stuffed Brillat-Savarin, Ontario honey poached apple, hazelnut crumble and apple bread. Brillat-Savarin is a type of brie cheese, which is known for it being rich and creamy – always a pleasure to have in my opinion. I would’ve liked the cheese a little less creamy, but the flavor was right on. I had the pleasure to enjoy the “Chocolat” on the menu, which was a chocolate and sesame terrine with ginger caramel, sesame tuile, and passion fruit ice cream on the side. The chocolate was very rich, and wasn’t too sweet either. The passion fruit ice cream was delicious, having that sweet tangy flavor that the fruit is known for. What made the Chocolat particularly enjoyable was the wine that it was served with. The wine was a rosé sparkling wine from the north-eastern region of France. Plenty of bubbles, and a little bit on the drier side but not too dry. It cleared up my palate almost instantly, but that’s not the most noteworthy thing about the wine pairing. The flavor of the passion fruit mixed with the sparkling wine created an illusion of a tropical fruit flavor in my mouth – a very interesting flavor to taste. It tasted almost like I was eating a bubbly candy in my mouth, which tickled my tastebuds in just the right way.
After our desserts, we were served a complimentary dessert to end off the night – peppercorn marshmallows. The marshmallows were very soft, and the peppercorn gave the marshmallows a unique flavor.
Auberge du Pommier is an excellent choice for a romantic restaurant to take a significant other in order to celebrate something special. For those who are looking to try Auberge du Pommier but don’t want to break the bank, Summerlicious is starting in a few months. Despite my claims of the food not being as good during the Summerlicious and Winterlicious events, the value of the experience of dining at this restaurant absolutely cannot be beat.