Tuesday, January 10, 2012


J and I are definitely real carnivores, we both love meat and good meat at that. Needless to say when we heard about Black Hoof, we both knew we HAD to try it. Owner, Grant van Gameron has generated much deserved attention for himself as a master of charcuterie. He expertly knows how to make about 40 different types of charcuterie – from lavender and sake cured capicollo to even horse meat!  

Where: 928 Dundas Street West
Price: $$ (Entrees between $10-$22)
No reservations; cash and debit only

BEWARE to all vegetarians or anyone on a diet – this is not the place for you - unless you are just fine eating cheese and bread :)

picture via. blog.to

We came here for our anniversary and it has thus far been one of our favourite restaurants. We love the interactive-ness of the food – you’re literally getting down and dirty with it. Although known for its in-house made charcuterie, this restaurant has famously been known for making odd and unusual cuts, delicious. Black Hoof will definitely test your limits as to how many parts of the body of an animal you can eat but rest assured, none of it shows any slight resemblance to the body part it comes from. Black Hoof opens at 6pm so we arrived at 5:50, anticipating a line up. There were already 2-3 people waiting outside but the line quickly grew in the next fifteen minutes or so. On a typical night, you have to wait around 45 minutes for a table, so get there early!!

The restaurant itself is pretty small in comparison to other restaurants – it seats 20-30 people max. You are given a small, no-nonsense menu but other items are listed on chalkboards (featuring their market price) around the restaurant. With their open-concept kitchen featuring typical stoves (their stove is a stove found in a typical household!!), you can truly watch the magic happen.

We started off with one of the sole reasons why people from all over Toronto are drawn to this place: their homemade Charcuterie platter! They have 2 sizes for the platter a smaller one ($16) made for 2-3 people and a much larger one for 5-6 ($25).

This dish is different every day depending on what kinds of charcuterie they prepare that day along. I have jealously heard of people who have had a elk salami! Ordering this dish, we both hoped we would get something unusual that. Ours came with around six different types of meat as well as a a delicious delicious seedy mustard. If I remember correctly, we had pancetta, horse meat, duck breast, truffle salami, chorizo and one other meat which name I have forgotten.. Regardless, it was so interesting and delicious to try these new types and styles of meat! 

Our charcuterie platter ($16) and cheese plate ($15)
We also ordered a cheese platter with names I cannot remember but were definitely from Quebec. Like the charcuterie, the cheese came into a small ($15)and a larger platter($24) depending on the size of your party. Each block of cheese was paired with a jelly, jam or fruit pairing that was to help accentuate different notes in the cheese.

We also ordered a bone marrow dish because a) we have never had bone marrow (on its own) before and b) It was supposed to be amazingly well done here. Now the bone marrow I’ve had before is the kind used in Chinese soups where they boil it to extract the flavour into the soup. I expected the same consistency so I was a little surprised when I first tasted Black Hoof’s version. Its sweet, rich and absolutely butter-like in its nature which made it both filling and delicious.
Bone Marrow ($9)
The bone marrow comes with 2 types of condiment (I’m hesitant to use this word because it seems SO unclassy in comparison to this restaurant): Maldon sea salt and chimichurri. The idea of this dish is to spread the bone marrow on to bread (also included with the dish) and sprinkle a touch salt and chimichurri on top. Sigh, perfection.

Fun fact of the day: Did you know that in many parts of Asia, they give you a straw to slurp up the bone marrow !

By this time, we were starting to get full, but we willingly ordered one more dish:

Tongue on Brioche.

For those who have never tried tongue, I can almost see the look of nausea on your face. 
For those who have, please try to refrain from drooling as you read on..

Tongue on Brioche ($14)
Now, J and I don’t particularly like tongue – atleast not the way it is made in the Chinese culture (Don’t get me wrong, I love ordering tongue at Guu) so we were a bit hesitant at first. But seeing as this was one of their winning dishes this doubt didn’t last long. 
Tongue on Brioche and Roasted Bone Marrow
Rest assured, the said tongue hardly resembled the respective body part but is, instead, beautifully thin pieces of meat sandwiched between 2 soft pieces of brioche. The super soft brioche works so perfectly in this dish. The dish also has a few pieces of pickled celery that had notes of cinnamon and nutmeg which I desperately would like recreate back at home. 

Beef Tartare ($16)
Lastly, we ordered the beef tartare which came with slices of  bread covered in chimichurri (I think?) and shaved parmigiana. Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy this dish too much - perhaps I was too full to properly enjoy or perhaps it was too similar to other tartares I had tried before but this was definitely the disappointing dish of the night..

If you love meat and trying new things then I strongly advise you to visit Black Hoof!! Their unique take on meats will definitely have you going back for more. BH does well to incorporate a little meat and fatty goodness into all their dishes which leaves you actually wanting more. This experience was insatiable - can't wait to go back and order more!

*Update: As of August 2011, van Gameron is not affiliated with BH any longer and has decided to go solo; however there are no apparent big changes to BH as chef, Brandon Olsen has been running the kitchen already for months (apparently about half of the menu consists of his creations) while van Gameren took on a more executive role in the company. Jen Agg, famous for her creative cocktailes, is now the sole owner of the restaurant* via. Toronto Life

Black Hoof on Urbanspoon

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