Canoe has consistently been ranked as no. 1 restaurant in Toronto by various sites and magazines. However, over the years, I’ve heard many people comment that it is overrated. This has undoubtedly fueled my reluctance to that end, hence this was actually my first time visiting the restaurant. Located in the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, Canoe is not open to the public during Saturdays and Sundays, but available for private bookings. My main incentive for trying Canoe this time is due to its reasonable corkage fee ($35) and the fact that they serve foie gras. On my trip to Montreal, I’ve bought a number of French wines, as I find SAQ’s selection far more plentiful in comparison to LCBO. As an appropriate pairing to my Coteaux du Layon, I wanted a foie gras dish, et voilà! Canoe fits the bill! Having seen many hipster restaurants in Toronto over the past few years, I was impressed with Canoe’s corporate, by the book good service in contrast.

My only lament for the evening was that I forgot to request a table by the window overlooking Toronto.

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1996 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon ~ this decadent wine resembled a full grown beauty, with aromas of pineapple, peach, honey, beewax and floral notes on the finish. At 20 years old, the acidic backbone is still keeping it fresh and vibrant.

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S’mores foie gras, graham cracker crumble, chocolate sauce + toasted marshmallow cream ($28) ~ The sheer size of the piece of foie gras made this dish a very good deal. The sweetness of the sauce and the savoriness of the foie gras complemented the Coteaux du Layon perfectly. I’ve done my research and in comparison to other restaurants of similar caliber, many serve terrine at the same price-point.

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Venison tartare, crispy bacon, puffed bannock, pink peppercorns, wild mustard + green alder dust ($25) ~ While I wasn’t sure what some of the ingredients described here are, it was still quite delicious. Does it matter that I could not tell steak apart from venison?

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2005 Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault Premier Cru ~ Again, another wine that we pulled from our cellar. Although fruit was almost unnoticeable on this wine, beguiling tertiary aromas of butter and nuttiness made it rather enjoyable.

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Wagyu tri-tip, smoked tongue, king oyster mushrooms, purple potatoes + bacon chive jus ($49) ~ Although many wine buffs would argue that a fuller bodied white wine stands up equally well against red meat in comparison to its red counterpart, I was slightly disappointed that Canoe did not offer more interesting seafood selections to pair with the Mersault. In my opinion, I wasn’t terribly interested in the BC rockfish and salmon that were on the menu.

I don’t remember if I tasted Wagyu beef before, but I was hoping for slightly better marbling of the meat. Most disappointingly, my medium rare steak was overcooked! If it were not in my nature not to waste food, I would have sent it right back!

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Wild boar chop, Niagara sour plums, fava beans + rice of the Prairies pilaf ($45) ~ While I am typically not a big fan of pork over steak, this dish was a better choice than my thin overcooked Wagyu tri-tip. Portions were so generous that my dining buddy gave me some left over for my lunch for next day!

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64% chocolate mousse, wild blueberry compote, Okanagan hazelnut + spruce tip ice cream ($12) ~ Not a huge chocolate fan but the ice cream was nice and refreshing. Although presentation was superb, it was quite small.

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Classic canoe butter tart, brown sugar praline cream, smoked pecan nougatine + wild rye ice cream ($12) ~ Not what I had in mind for a butter tart but the cake was moist and flavorful. I enjoyed it better in comparison to the chocolate mousse.

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Most Recommended: Foie gras, Venison Tartare, Wild Boar Chop

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Suggestions for improvements:

1. Expand on seafood selections.

2. Pace service time accordingly so not to overcook any dish.

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