Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tide and Boar in Moncton!

While on tour in the Maritimes, between shows I stayed in Moncton visiting family. We all met at a restaurant called "Tide and Boar". When it was suggested to me by my sister in law she said "it's supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Canada". Whoa. Ok. Settle down.

Tide and Boar had a nice website. They called themselves a "Gastropub", which I know is a new, trendy term but it doesn't sound appealing. When referring to a place to eat I'm not sure if "gas" should be in the terminology. "Pub", yes. Farts. No.
On their site they say -
"..a Gastropub... is a pub with creative food, amazing drink and craft beer from all over, come and see for yourself."
This still doesn't really answer my question but ok. I'll come see for myself.
When we got there the lighting was so bright. I know that sounds like a high maintenance complaint but lighting is so key. It had the lighting of a cafeteria. Is this a "gastroteria"?? Seriously guys... I know, bad joke. They can't all be gems.
So I asked the waitress about the lighting - yes - I was that person. Sure, to her I was annoying but I bet everyone in there would've thanked me for the better lighting. So I will take one for the team. You're welcome.
So what to drink? It was kind of a hard decision because they had some fancy cocktails on the drink menu. I think that seems to be part of the trend alongside the gastropub - good old fashioned cocktails like the "Old Fashioned", "Mint Julip", "Manhattan". I don't normally drink cocktails but considered it for a minute just because they had them and it was different. But, I decided to go with a local-ish beer on tap - "Garrison" Nut Brown Ale (brewed in Halifax). Very good. Dark without being too heavy or bitter.
The food menu was very unique. Sometimes menus like that can be intimidating because you might not know what half the stuff is. When you're not sure what it is there's a good chance you'll be apprehensive to injest it.
We decided to try "Southern Fried Quail" as an appetizer. I've never had quail before but forced myself out of my comfort zone and tried it! I liked it but it seemed to not have much meat on it. A lot of work to eat it. There was a nice light, flavourful batter on it but I kind of felt like I hadn't really eaten anything. My sister in law ordered Polenta Fries which I tried and they were excellent. Anything fried is usually good. Let's be honest. But these were, again, unique. As a main course I decided to try Pulled pork poutine. Alliteration! It was really good except the Pork had that taste of not quite fresh. Not old like it's going to make me sick but old like it has that after taste that is not fresh-fresh. So that was a little disappointing. The rest of the poutine was good though. Hard to screw up fries, gravy and cheese...
I did that whole - "you order this and I'll order that and we'll share!" Which guys love - haha... The other dish we ordered was Parmesan Crusted Haddock. It was served with a fennel slaw - which I liked - didn't know I liked fennel. Apparently I do. At least the way they did it. The fish was cooked really nice with a delicious, light coating. The haddock was served with... the highlight of the whole dinner ........ the Tide and Boar salad!!!! It's weird but the SALAD was the BEST thing of the meal! So so good. That was the consensus of the WHOLE group. You know a salad is good when it's everyone's favourite! A salad!
I can't explain exactly what was so good but the dressing, the combination of the flavours, the - everything. You've got to try it.
Here's what was in it -
Artisan lettuce, shallot dressing, roasted root vegetables, toasted granola, parmesan.

We had heard that Tide and Boar was considered one of Canada's top restaurants. If that's true, we must have been there on a bad night. Many, many people have raved about Tide and Boar and urbanspoon also has very good reviews. They must have just been off that night. I guess everyone is allowed to have a mediocre night it's just not the best when it happens and you're paying for it. Not cheap either. But I will go back for sure. One more time. If for no other reason than to have that excellent salad again!

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