*UPDATE MAY 2014 Noah Goldberg, the chef and creator of the Feasting Room (which lasted 6 months in the Orbit Room space) will be taking over the old Peter Pan Bistro space on Queen Street West. No further information has been disclosed at this time.
The Feasting Room is a temporary restaurant sharing its space with the Orbit Room at 508A College Street. There is no big fancy signage and is easily missed, save for the little country-like wooden sign out front with the animal de semaine hanging directly below it; this week was goose.
The “blind” tasting consists of a 6-course meal ($65) with an optional wine pairing ($35) which if I were not driving, would’ve totally been awesome. With individual glasses ringing in at about $14, the $35 price tag for wine pairings was a steal! We were the first party to arrive and therefore nabbed a seat on the enclosed rooftop patio.
Each place setting had a “package” wrapped in butcher’s paper waiting for you to open which contained a napkin as well as a postcard of the animal you would be consuming, labelled 1 to 6 as well as the wine list.
I opted for a glass of the 2009 Ravine Vineyard Estate Riesling ($14). I was in for a treat, as our server explained that the grapes used to make this Riesling got some special treatment from Mother Nature. The grapes were exposed to botrytis (otherwise known as noble rot), which led to a much sweeter grape. Just when I thought about all the dinner parties to be had with this newfound bottle, I was informed that The Feasting Room bought the entire 2009 stock!
We started with a plate of Gizzards served up with a roasted garlic aioli. The gizzards themselves were lightly coated and fried, but for me a little chewy and if it were not for the aioli rather bland.
The second dish was a Corn Soup with chunks of meat from the wing. My only comment is that I found the soup to be too sweet (which, while it only goes to show how fresh the corn is) tasted more like a dessert. Even the chunks of meat didn’t have enough saltiness to tone down the overpowering bowl of sweetness.
The first two plates were considered amuse-bouches and would not be included in the 6-course count. So really, it was more like $65 for an 8-course meal at the end of the day
Next came a Goose Liver Parfait sealed in goose fat and sprinkled with salt and served with a blueberry compote and thinly slices of toasted bread. The parfait was “parfait!” It was so smooth that it could pass for baby food (okay, maybe only babies with foodie moms?) It was flavourful, spreadable, and the blueberry compote was a nice “condiment” to complement the liver.
Continuing on with offals and innards came the Heart Salad with green and yellow beans, mâche, and frisée tossed in a mustard vinaigrette. The hearts were nice and tender and this was definitely a redemption for the chewy gizzards.
A cute dish of round balls topped with shredded meat from the neck came next – cue the “Poutine”. The round balls of potato are encased by a pâte à choux and topped with sheep’s milk “curds.”
Perhaps my most favourite dish of the evening was this “Sausage” which is meat from the leg stuffed into the neck (which served as the “casing”) served with a shallot confit and succotash. I found the meat to be a bit dry, therefore leading to a few more bites than usual to swallow but liked the crispiness of the skin (casing).
The Breast was a little bit disappointing as it too, required a few chews to digest. This was done up with a beet trio (yellow, red and candystripe). Beets are naturally sweet, but I think using a trio of them may have been just a tad too much sugar.
The dessert was a quirky “Goose”berry Rice Pudding with smoked stone fruits (apricots, peaches) topped with a Madeleine made with goose fat in place of butter. Rice pudding isn’t something that I normally order for dessert and the only time I really have them are at buffets. With that said, this was quite a delicious way to end the evening as the rice pudding was creamy and lucious.
I applaud chef Noah Goldberg‘s thoughtfulness and creativity in the way he presents his dishes. The whole concept of snout to tail (or in this case, beak to tail) is a great one though offals and innards aren’t for everyone. I found that the natural goose flavour was rather muted in all the dishes (I guess eating offals and innards is a feat in and of itself, so we don’t want to terrorize the crowds too much with what some would deem gaminess).
I enjoyed my overall dining experience, though execution and technique on a few of the dishes were lacking. Our server was one of the best I’ve encountered in the city; if she didn’t know something she’d find out and come back with a response; our water glasses were never empty; and she won us over with her sweet smile.
The Feasting Room is definitely a place to go for a dining experience. While most foodies are no strangers to innards and offals, the average diner will definitely see this as something adventurous to try. The individual portions are not large, but in aggregate makes for a satisfying meal.
Dinner is served Thursday to Monday with the last seating at 8PM. They are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For your information, the next animals in line are buffalo (current) and rabbit.
The Feasting Room, 580A College Street, 647-785-3557, thefeastingroom.com, @thefeastingroom