Where to go on the last repeating digit date of the century (12/12/12)? How about the relatively new restaurant in Leslieville, Skin & Bones where Chef Matthew Sullivan heads the kitchen?! Sounds about right. Quietly opened in November last year, it hadn't yet broken through onto the foodie scene yet. Oooh I had no clue how great of a meal I was in for.
980 Queen st. E
Transit: 501 Queen streetcar eastbound OR 72 Pape bus southbound
Hours: Sun – Thurs (5-11pm), Fri – Sat (5pm-12am)
|They converted an old Jaguar repair shop into this beautiful restaurant space! :D Great looking bar too.|
With so many restaurants opening up in the Parkdale/Ossington neighbourhood, it was about time that Leslieville got a new and exciting addition. Skin & Bones is just that and a lot more. I didn’t know this until I read the article on them last night, but they’ve got complimentary bites (5-6pm), ½-price beer & cocktails, and ½-price sparkling wine and buck oysters Sundays! As if the food itself wasn’t enough to lure you in!
Something that Chef Sullivan is working on… ;) Thanks for the sneak peek!
Freshly in-house baked bread. You cannot go wrong with fluffy bread. When butter is superfluous to the bread, that’s when you know it's real good.
Crostini (amuse) – stracciatella, burnt honey, “Perth pork” crackling
Amuses are supposed to be a bite-sized, light introduction to your meal. This one was super well-balanced. The honey and the crackling were an amazing combination.
Morcillia Spanish Blood Sausage (8) - pickled apple, sourdough crostini
I could eat this all day. Balance and the notion of "just right" was definitely a prevailing theme of the dinner.
Crispy Chicken Tails (8) - potato salad
Reading this on the menu, it didn’t immediately jump out at me but Stella insisted that we MUST order it. So we did, and I was instantly converted. And so I shall pass on the same words of wisdom to you when you dine at Skin + Bones, you MUST order the chicken tails!!
Beef Tartare (13) – iceberg lettuce, milk bread, pickles and “Montforte” toscano
In my slowly growing number of tartare experiences, I’ve learned that no two tartares are the same. As for this one, it’s the pickle flavour that dominates along with the beef. The chili brings it to life.
Celeriac Gnocchi w/ Uni Bottarga (15) – fried tomato preserve, chili and garlic
Stella can attest to this. I was positively giddy as I speared the pillowy gnocchi, swirled it around in the sauce before popping it in my face. Deceivingly simple, the uni bottarga shaved on top (from Société Orignal?! I was fortunate to have sampled some of their products at canoe HERE) brings this comforting dish to another level.
Roasted Perth Pork Belly & Octopus Salad – w/ roasted bone marrow arancini, marinated radish & parsley (18)
You don’t often get served pork belly like this, looking like a super thick piece of bacon. But fyi, that’s what bacon is, thinly sliced seasoned and cured pork belly. There is a counterpoint here of fat to meat that is only enhanced by that crust. The octopus salad lends more crunch and the necessary acidity to cut the fat.
Chicken & Wine (19/37) – slow cooked half/whole chicken, rutabaga purée, celery & white wine sauce
I kid you not this is a perfect dish. Yes, all the others we’ve enjoyed so far were fantastic, showing great technique, restraint and balance. But personally, I’ve never had chicken so good before. “Sous-vide” is now a magical word to me as Chef Sullivan explained to us how he prepares the chicken.
Sticky Toffee Pudding (6) – bone marrow caramel and chantilly cream
How do you eloquently cap off a meal full of highlights? With this dessert. If you’re on a diet and are allowed one cheat dessert, this is how you should spend that cheat card!! This is an exemplary use of bone marrow in a dessert. Another MUST when you’re here.
Co-owners Harry Wareham and Daniel Clarke have really created something worth noting (by “noting” I mean dining at ASAP!). Now more than ever, you cannot say that great food means empty wallets and awkward table manners (ie. which fork do I use?! What do I wear? I must fit in...). Behind this non-descript gray brick wall is a great time, mindblowing dishes and an awesome bar.
Verdict: Clearly, I’m raving about this place. Skin + Bones is doing it right. I’m not a wine person but if you are, this is your place. Chef Matthew Sullivan designed the each menu item to be paired with the wines they’ve got, not the other way around as per usual. The atmosphere is chill, zero pretension in sight, there’s coat check (free), and the food is top notch.
Check ‘em out! http://www.skinandbonesto.com/
5 out of 5 NOMs