While in Toronto, I had also arranged to meet Renée, whom I’ve known on Flickr for ages. If it was anyone who’d know where was best to eat in the city, it would be the very knowledgeable Renée! She arranged for us to dine one night at Acadia, a relatively new restaurant where chef Matt Blondin concocts dishes inspired by Acadian and Lowcountry cuisine. She had been often and raved about the food. I certainly didn’t know much about both cuisines and was intrigued and excited.

I’d already looked at the menu online prior to our meeting but I was still none the wiser as to what to eat there. I needn’t have worried as the chef had planned for us all (Renée’s friend Gabe also joined us) to have a tasting menu that night.

So here we go through the tasting menu – most of the dishes were smaller versions of those available on their a la carte menu but some were experiments, I think. Pickles to start.

Pickles

Acadia’s Cornbread – sweet potato butter. This was some delicious cornbread but I was careful not to fill up on it.

Acadia's Cornbread

Crab with basil and cucumber. This was a light, delicate dish chock full of chunks of crab meat.

Crab with Cucumber

Cornmeal Dusted Halibut Cheeks – pickled prawn, celery & sugarcane chow chow, mirlitons, buttermilk. A dish with a good balance of strong and gentle flavours (the prawn cake slice was a good kind of strong). I still have no idea what mirlitons are; I need to Google this.

Cornmeal Dusted Halibut Cheeks

Northumberland Strait Scallops – chicken crackling, parmesan, pickled watermelon rind, basil. This was probably my favourite dish of the night. Scallops, chicken crackling…what’s there not to like?

Northumberland Strait Scallops

Yarmouth Albacore – blackened spices, chickpea & celery maque-choux, brown butter hollandaise, tarragon. I also loved this dish with its spices and brown butter pepping up the fish.

Yarmouth Albacore

Dirty Rice Balls – red pepper honey. Unfortunately, I did fill up on these glorious deep fried spheres of a spiced rice and meat mixture.

Dirty Rice Balls

Red Grouper / Anson Mills Grits & Shrimp – chlorophyll puree, parsley. Two dishes on the a la carte menu were combined for this dish. While the fish was tasty enough, it was the shrimp and grits ‘sauce’ that was outstanding. Renée suggested that we order it from the a la carte menu if we were still hungry at the end…but the end was still yet to come…

Red Grouper / Anson Mills Grits & Shrimp

Pork Belly – wrapped in egg. This was my least favourite dish of the night, probably a surprise if you knew my penchant for pork belly. This one was a bit dry and quite salty.

Pork Belly in Egg

Stuffed Quail – boudin, cane syrup glaze, Orleans mustard, benne seed brittle, collard greens. We were presented with a full sized order of this for the table to share. The sweetness of the glaze and brittle was so good with the richness of the boudin and rice stuffed quail.

Stuffed Quail

Nagano Farms Pork Ribs – sorghum salad, sarsaparilla root, tobacco leeks, puffed amaranth. Sticky, moreish ribs…mmm.

Nagano Farms Pork Ribs

Black Angus Flat Iron – heavily roasted vegetables, black garlic, dill emulsion. It was a great piece of meat but I felt the dill overpowered the flavour of the meat; I found myself scraping off most of the dill sauce.

Black Angus Flat Iron

Sweet Potato Pie – molasses & cereal milk ice cream. By this point, I was already stuffed and didn’t manage more than half the pie. I thought it too sweet (I usually think this of many North American sweets) but loved the cereal milk ice cream that came with it (it tasted of my childhood favourite Corn Pops).

Sweet Potato Pie

I may have held my breath when the bill arrived but the damage was a much-lower-than-expected $69 each for the tasting menu. They don’t have this menu available everyday and I’m aware that this was offered specially for us that day but you could try to call ahead and arrange for it. Otherwise, you won’t go too badly wrong with the items from the daily menu; their cocktail menu is also quite interesting and unique too. Service was excellent with the waiters taking pains to explain every dish with great care; I noticed that every table got this level of attention.Definitely recommended for something quite unique to Toronto.

Acadia
50C Clinton St.
Toronto, ON
M6G 2Y3

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