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BoBo is a French expression, short for Bourgeois Bohème, and it pretty much describes who we are.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Delux dinner

We spent a Friday evening in Hipsterville recently, stopping first to catch a friend's art opening at the Gladstone, then scurrying the seven cold and windy blocks along Queen St W to Ossington Av, where we popped up the block to the lovely Delux for dinner. We had been once before and enjoyed it immensely, but because we were there with a group we were relegated to the back room. This time, when we made our reservations (yes, they ACTUALLY take reservations!) we asked to sit in the front room. We were told that they don't guarantee seating but  that we were quite likely to get our wish. And in fact, they were right- we got our front room table, wedged snugly between a yuppy  power couple's pre-Valentine date night and a quiet granola-crunchy pair who departed not long after our arrival. With a little adjusting of tables, we ended up being a respectable distance from our neighbours and able to speak to each other in more than hushed tones. The room is small with a large and handsome bar at the back end, decorated in the au courant arty meets industrial style.

The Executive Chef is Corinna Mozo. Born in Montréal, according to the bio of her on the restaurant's website she cut her chops in some of Boston's finest kitchens. Toronto Life labels her a Cuban- Québecoise; this heritage is perhaps reflected in the Cuban Lunch and Cuban Brunch offerings which we've yet to sample. From our perspective, her Cuban roots were reflected in one of the most delicious (if unusual) appetizers we've ever tasted: We started by sharing the "pressed cubano sandwich", a delectable assembly of cider-cured pork shoulder, ham, Gruyere cheese, grainy mustard, cornichons, and red onions, all squeezed between two slices of toasty fresh bread. The panino grille had left narrow ridges on the bread which accentuated the crispy outer surface. The cornichons were very thinly sliced and they injected just the right note of  sweet and sour into the savoury goodness of the pork. The sandwich was served with a few fries, a delicious lightly-spiced dipping mayonnaise and some baby arugula leaves tossed ever so slightly in a refreshing vinaigrette. It's actually hard to believe that someone could take on one of these babies by themselves then continue to a main course like steak frites or roasted chicken. We were so glad that we had opted to share it!
image courtesy ugonnaeatthat.com
With well-paced service we moved on to our mains: Achiote and Lime Roasted Chicken, potato purée, and salad of jicama and haricots vert for one; house-made lamb sausage on Du Puy lentils with a little dollop of garlicky spinach for the other. (Out of consideration to our fellow diners, we didn't photograph our dinners)

We firmly believe that roast chicken is one of the best ways to judge a restaurant's abilities. A properly  cooked bird, all crispy skin on the outside and juicy-fleshed on the inside is a sure sign of kitchen competence. This rendition did not disappoint. Creamy mashed potatoes were the obvious starchy accompaniment and the jicama and bean slaw provided the requisite crunch (although there could have been more of it)
The pair of lamb sausages were flavourful and tender, lightly infused with cumin. The lentils were cooked in a rich broth and served in its reduction. This dish seemed to be the perfect embodiment of  a French and Cuban fusion, and really hit the mark on this winter evening. We washed it all down with a lovely Tempranillo/ Cabernet/ Merlot blend from Pagos de Aria in the Spanish Navarra region.

We rarely opt for dessert but tonight we found the "cuban coffee crème brûlée" too alluring to pass up. And it was superb! Once again, a winning marriage of Montréal and Havana!

92 Ossington Avenue
(416) 537- 0134

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