Lardon implies lots of things. With a name dedicated to fat, I'm expecting plenty of it. The menu is small and so locally sourced that when you flip it over, everything that's on the menu can be traced. Chef Jacky Lo has working relationships with all producers listed. That shows, but still, I'm expecting just a little bit more than this menu delivers.
My guest, Niagara winemaker Arthur Harder, is passionate about Riesling, so we order the Chateau des Charmes 2008, which happily meets his nod
of approval. "Dry, enjoyable, with great balance, it's an excellent aperitif wine," Harder adds.
It's asparagus season, so it's the Smoked Prosciutto Wrapped Spears ($11) on special. An antipasto plate ($10) is elegant with a summery swoosh of brilliant pesto accenting grilled veg and buffalo mozzarella. Is this a harbinger of fresh food flair to come?
The name of this place enticed me. Frankly, I want something rich and...There's pork belly sous vide, but that's not the preparation I'm feeling for somehow. I want something luxuriously rich. I want to be as spoiled as a little lardon myself. So, I end up with Sei Formaggi Orecchiette ($17) with truffle oil. It sounds and tastes decadent, especially with the rush of truffle oil wafting under my nose. But the pasta is not quite right. It looks like cavatelli. Either that or my poor little baby ears are all curled up like little beads. Arthur's dish is Cavatelli with Duck Confit, Woolwich goat cheese and pear ($21), but rather monochromatic in appearance. Details, details...we eat with our eyes first, so there should be more colour. Speaking of colour, while modern and beautiful, the intimate size of this Roncesvalles resto is acoustically stark. Once full, the din makes quiet conversation difficult.
Veteran sommelier Doris Bradley offers Daniel Lenko's 2004 Late Harvest Vidal to go with our desserts. A dense chocolate mousse with rich, ripe, berry compote ($9) is shockingly good. Finally, the fat I desire arrives! A vanilla, bacon, maple infused ice cream ($9) is heaven, a definite dessert destination for a dame willing to throw caution to the wind.
Price: $120 plus for three courses with wines to match
Atmosphere: Cool, clean and loud
Surprise, Surprise: Small wine list, well thought out wine pairings, well priced.
Wheelchair Access: No
Hint: Do not miss dessert.