I was minding my own business when I checked my twitter account and was teased by Richmond Station challenging me to come in and try the venison and wild boar tourtiere for lunch. I responded with a “maybe I will” and next thing I knew they were saving me a seat for after my appointment. When I arrived, I was greeted by name and sat promptly at the chef’s table.
The $19 prix fixe lunch was an easy choice…french onion soup with that alluring meat pie…..
French onion soup is difficult to perfect. The tendency with most is to rely on salty broth and an abundance of cheese as the main flavour. This broth was light and delicate and seasoned with flavours much more robust than just salt. The Gruyere cheese was the perfect amount of taste and meltiness on top. It was quite easy to finish the modest portion without any ill feeling of consuming too much sodium.
I watched the chef struggle a bit with plating the delicate tourtiere, so it was a bit messy. Despite this, the meat pie was easily the best thing I’ve eaten so far in 2013. The crust was flaky and the large chunks of venison with the ground boar was a blissful textural contrast. The seasonings once against avoided from the tendency to rely heavily on salt and instead promoted the flavours of fresh herbs reminiscent of my Grandma’s Christmas pies. The frisse salad tossed with apples and citrus dressing was a great compliment which, coupled with the pickled vegetables, brought some crunch and tartness to compliment the main.
In a smart move, Richmond Station offers their regular dessert menu for only $5 during lunch. I couldn’t resist. At the advise of the very helpful waitstaff, I opted for the lemon posset which was accompanied with a poached pear, blueberry compote, chamomile foam and meringue. The presentation was a bit odd as it lacked any real colour since the blueberry was hidden beneath the meringue. The posset itself could of been a bit more intense in its lemon flavour to offset the sweetness of the other components. The pear was delicious as a stand alone but was a bit confusing with the rest of the dish. The chamomile foam was magic with a wonderful mouth feel and subtle tea taste. In the end, it was a pleasant finish.
The first time I went to Richmond station the lunch concept was still under construction. Based on this experience, I’d get off at this stop anytime, especially if the tourtiere sticks around. The tempting twitter taunt materialized into an experience characterized by the trinity of terrific service (both virtual and in person), a smart location and the reasonable $19 prix fixe lunch menu. The whole 3 -course lunch was served in less than 45 minutes despite the fact the restaurant was full and offered a spectacle highlighted by a kitchen run with impressive efficiency. Let’s call it a great dinner and a movie for less than $30. I even got to see a great trailer with the delivery of an impressive pig by a proud butcher for later use. I’m sure it made for quite the sequel.