It was absolutely pouring that night in Toronto when we poured out of the taxi in front of what we hoped was The Black Hoof (the shopfront only had the word ‘charcuterie’ on its awning). I had dragged my colleagues there after reading positive reviews of this restaurant famed for its meats but I was feeling particularly nervous as they don’t accept reservations and gosh, would we have to queue in the rain? Luckily, we were at the correct restaurant and yes, we just managed to get the last table for four.
The chalkboard menu up on the wall showed their dedication to nose to tail eating. We selected a variety of dishes to sample what the restaurant with its tiny open kitchen could do.
The platter of House cured meats ($18) came out first and we paired this with a large order of their fine bread ($4). Pork, beef, lamb, and venison were all represented and the flavours on the platter were arranged like a rainbow from the mild and silky to the spicy and pungent.
The Roasted bone marrow ($9) came out looking like something out of the Flintstones. Cut lengthwise, there was no barrier to the luscious marrow itself and we spread it on toast along with the accompanying salt and fantastically garlicky chimichurri.
The Pork carnitas tacos ($14.5 for 4) were served with lime and puffs of fried pork rind. They were delicious bites of spiced pork and we jazzed them up with some hot sauce provided.
The Pierogies ($13) were filled with potato, cheese and pork belly and served with a lemon butter sauce. Four to an order seemed a little small though for the price.
Tongue on brioche ($14) turned out to be a tongue sandwich – tender shaved tongue, brioche, tarragon mayo, cornichons and pickled celery and violet mustard. I’m now rather sold on tongue if it were always to be served like this!
We were already getting full and started thinking of sweets. There was only one Dessert ($10) on offer though and that was a cinnamon pannacotta with apple, whisky jelly, raisins and granola. We ordered two for the table and what came out were large Le Parfait jars with the pannacotta inside. It was excellent with the crunch of the granola and apple, chewiness of the raisins and creaminess of the pannacotta.
And the bill? The total for the four of us was about $120 (with a few beers but not including tip), a perfectly reasonable bill for the quality of food we consumed. It might be of interest to note that we visited not long after the original head chef Grant van Gameren parted ways with The Black Hoof and while I have no idea how the food when he was there might compare, I was impressed with what we were served. Shame we didn’t have a chance to return but there were other places to try in Toronto!
Remember – no bookings allowed and they’re closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Black Hoof
928 Dundas St W