Thank you, The Commissary

Ate there a few times. Tonight, I guess, will be my last time. The Commissary, on Queen at Logan, will be shutting its doors and reopening as Bero on July 10th, with Matt Kantor (of Secret Pickle and Little Kitchen fame) running it together with Andrew Bridgeman.

In the mean time, it’s still The Commissary, but with a different menu. Tonight I ate there, and couldn’t resist one dish that Matt served a bunch of years ago at the second Secret Pickle: Vitello Tonnato — slices of barely cooked veal with a mayonnaise sauce that incorporates tuna. Veal in tuna sauce. My initial response three years ago was that it was a strange combination, until I tasted it. I was glad to be able to have it again tonight.

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Matt has changed it up a bit: served with an arugula salad, it’s garnished with capers, some herbs, and — the big surprise, lovely little gems of raw tuna. It was pretty awesome to have the tuna along with the veal, and discover how well the two flavours worked together, how the textures compared, watch how the light hit them, and what was the same, and what was different. I really enjoyed his new take on the dish.

That was my appetizer! For the main course, I thought I’d go with the short rib with a honey-something glaze (I really should have written down what I was eating). I thought it was going to be thin slices of beef, like Korean short ribs. No. Or as my Dad would say “not No, but Hell No.” This is my delicious plate.

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I haven’t had a beef rib for a main course in a long time: maybe since I visited Sandy on a work-term, back around 1981. It was perfectly braised. The texture of the meat reminded me of the moose meat my grandfather used to bring back to Montreal after hunting in Newfoundland in the summer. The flavour was delightful — good beefy taste that comes from slow cooking some of the harder working muscles of the steer.

It was served with two types of cauliflower: pickled cauliflower (that’s the turmeric-coloured pieces) and a white cauliflower purée under the rib. Also under the rib (not very visible in this shot) was savoy cabbage, my favourite type of cabbage, nicely cooked, sweet, still a bit of crunch. Pomegranate seeds decorated the plate and provided a bit of acid.

I contemplated having dessert… alas, too full. I’ll have to come back once the place reopens for something sweet!

Tomorrow night — June 22, 2013 — will be the last night that The Commissary is open. Bero will open on July 10th.

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About pat

Visual thinker, first got interested in digital imagery in the early days of Omni magazine, back when it used to review what had happened at SIGGraph. I worked in the 3D software field for 23 years. Lifelong enjoyment of gardening grew over time; I was a Master Gardener (briefly) and had a vegetable and herb allotment garden in Toronto to grow vegetables, as well as perennial gardens at home. Gardening and enjoying fresh produce also raised my interest in cooking with really good local food. As more restaurants in Toronto are offering local fare, I enjoy dining out and sampling the visions the different chefs have.

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