Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cava Delights

Rated by Toronto Life Magazine as one of the best new restaurants in 2007, Cava is a tapas bar located in a mall on Yonge just north of St. Clair. The service was excellent. When our cava mojitos were taking a bit longer than one might expect, our waiter brought us complimentary half-glasses of cava to toast with and take the edge off a long week. The dishes were served in a logical order at appropriate intervals:

*Watercress and roasted beet salad with marcona almonds - the crunch of the salty, oily nuts hidden under the watercress elevated this dish from ordinary to special
*Pinchos of sockeye salmon machaca and avocado - I had high hopes for this dish, but it was disappointingly bland and boring
*Croquetas of cauliflower and manchego with roasted tomato sauce - same comment as above
*Roast boneless quail filled with spiced chicken and served with Moorish style spinach - now you're talkin' - a great combination of flavors - close your eyes and you're in Morocco
*Swiss chard with pine nuts and currants - a tapa bar staple, good but not great
*Crispy braised pork belly with buckwheat noodle, new potato and savoy cabbage gratin - this may have been the best dish - lovingly prepared, it had that "slow food" quality, with a surprising combination of ingredients and flavors that "worked"
*Broiled, cider-glazed sablefish with black rice and escarole - a close tie for best dish - the fish had a crispy glaze on the outside, tender and melt-in-your mouth on the inside. The black rice cooked al dente had a pleasant nutty flavor.

The bill for two with wine came to about $105. PS - don't make the mistake of asking for the menu. Look down - it's the napkin holder!

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