This culinary adventure started out as emails. Lots of emails to food friends all over to ask where should my BBQ BFF andI go out for dinner when she flew in. The rules were simple. It had to be somewhere new. It had to serve meat and it had to be delicious. Without fail each one of my friends lists started with Parts and Labour. That had to be a good sign.
I made a reservation at one of their chef’s tables in the kitchen. Each of these tables (3) seat 4. Our dinner party participants were Jason Rees , Sid Friedman, Angie Quaale & Myself…. All of us obsessed with BBQ, meat and all things tasty.. We are all experienced home cooks and chefs. More importantly though we all like to eat.
Our dinner excursion for the evening had already had a fantastic start thanks to Scott Vivian and the crew from Beast. So for an hour we let that digest while we sipped some lovely wine at P&L’s rectangular bar, lit by dozens of colourful pot lamps. Our dinner party assembled and we headed to our table.
Anytime I get to watch chefs and line cooks work their magic with ingredients is a good thing. I would much rather spend any meal in the chefs kitchen than see a play or show. Watching the crew from Parts & Labour was akin to watching a perfectly orchestrated symphony. Mason jars line the top shelf in the kitchen. All full of in house pickles and creations from their chefs.
Our waiter Daniel took great care of us right from the get go. Ordering up wines and libations we debated on what dishes to start with. Then talking with Chef Matty Matheson we decided on a meal that seemed never ending and was completely absolutely 100% delicious. This is what we ate.
Roasted bone marrow, white bean purée, crostini, truffle salt, herb salad
– I love marrow. This was good.
Decadent French Fries in house mayo. ( Amazing)
Oysters from the East and the West… mignonette sauce.. I think I am in love with these beautiful gems.
Manhattans & Old Fashioned
Headcheese made from pig’s head. Served with Dijon (and at my request plain white vinegar) pickled fennel bulb.
One of my favorites of the evening. I grew up eating head cheese. It was a staple at my Grandma’s house. This was incredible.
Dried Seaweed (Dulse) from New Bruinswick. Chef Matty’s Grandmother had sent him some for his birthday. It was delicious. Reminded me of black potato chip at first then … like a chewy sea scented calamari. I may need to get some.
Pigs Ear terrine. Pressed pig ears. Now this was chewier than I expected but I really enjoyed it. It was not the tables favorite but I certainly enjoyed the texture. Reminded me of gummy bear pig parts.
Grilled ox tongue, dijon, farm salad, shallot sauce
It took everything in me not to lick this plate. It was a resounding favorite from everyone at the table. We all oohed and ahhed at the taste sensations. Dense, delectable and completely incredibly delicious. The meat was so tender and packed with flavor. Chef Matty described how they pack the tongues in and press them. So much work goes in behind the scenes for this dish.
Wild boar Tourtiere with buttered peas.
We were in luck as this was the last one available for the evening. A beautiful bowl of deliciousness. You crack through the buttery flaky pastry to chunks of boar meat, a rich gravy and absolute yumminess. Such a comforting dish.
Wanting to end the night on a light note we ordered the 20 oz Rib Eye….
Served with monstrous onion rings and a beautiful mash on a massive cutting board. The meat was perfectly cooked, expertly seasoned and the au jus was so good I was tempted to ask for a straw.
Desserts – Lemon & Chocolate Pie
I loved the meringue topping on the chocolate pie but thats about it. I found the lemon bar to be lacking lemon – overly sweet it reminded me of the Shirriff brand of lemon confections. The chocolate pie and crust were not memorable. The only downsides for the night.
Our meal lasted a few hours and in between we had some excellent wine and even some Jalapeño pickles. Throughout the night we put our faith in Chef Matty who fed us well and made recommendations. All of the dishes were very well seasoned. Our entire night was terrific. Our server Daniel did a good job. Our drinks were never empty and our plates were consistently put away efficiently. From the hostess at the front door to the bar to the kitchen we were treated well.
In the kitchen area you are insulated from the loud music around the communal tables. Personally I would never be able to sit at the communal tables on a Saturday night. I really prefer the bustling noise of the kitchen to the throbbing music. Thats one of the things I admire about P&L – they have balanced it out well. The massive space (over 5000 sq ft) that is beautifully decorated- has managed to encompass everything from a night club to a great restaurant. It gives the patron options where to sit and where to go. I will go back to P&L. I believe all of us will gladly – just as long as we get to sit at the Chef’s table and have him feed us.