May 1: Acadia ★★
My less-than-triumphant return to Toronto food features the critically acclaimed (runner up best new restaurant of 2012, Toronto Life) South Carolina-inspired restaurant in a patio-ridden Little Italy not far from Sam James original. We missed the $29 prix-fixe (not sure why) so we constructed our own: charred octopus to share, then poached chicken breast. The meticulous dishes are works of art from uncountable ingredients. A huge octopus looks like a pirate’s hook, burned ominously, topped with pistachio and a popcorn lookalike. But the meat is more mushy than chewy and none of the toppings help the situation. The poached chicken looks like a slice of heaven, coated with some cream to look like egg whites. But the hen egg actually sits in a bowl mixed with snails and all. It ends up being too salty and distracting from the mélange of (too many) ingredients. It is an amateur attempt at high-brow cooking. And where was the prix-fixe?
Charred Octopus - Cara Cara Orange, Fennel, Turkish Pistachio, Olive Oil Emulsion 14
Poached Chicken Breast - Roasted Thigh, Fried Liver, Snails, Hazelnut, Hen Egg 24
Cara Cara Cream Soda 5