Monday, August 27, 2012

AG at The Sterling is all go for us in Niagara Falls, Ontario (8-18-12)

Our last night in Niagara Falls was one of the few "fine dining" spots in the town itself, as it is indeed a real "tourist trap" with lots of beef and low quality food. AG Restaurant ( at the Sterling Hotel (Silver is "AG" on the element chart, and the hotel is the "Sterling"--get it?) is the home of Chef Cory Linkson who treats local ingredients with great love as the other chefs we dined with the previous nights.

The restaurant is downstairs, so no "views" of the falls, or even the street here. It's a cozy place and as it was Saturday, we had some fine entertainment by a guy playing the keyboards.

There are small crystal chandeliers and the room has many silver accents hints of red and very comfy silver leather chairs.

We sat down to a bottle of LAILEY Vineyard 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay from Niagara and fell in love; it was the best chardonnay on the trip and we were leaving the next day! Oh well. Crisp & dry with slight hint of citrus. It was great with an amuse of Venison Carpaccio, watermelon & balsamic. Sam loved the carpaccio, but didn't care for the melon. The olive and sourdough breads were nice as well. Only the bizarrely shaped (think upside down lampshade, curved in at the top) C & S Crystal glasses for the wine were a bit weird. We had to get red ones as the whites would not fit our noses!

Samuel begged for the Hand Rolled Fettuccini with Beef tenderloin which came with Garlic Scapes, Wild Mushrooms (which he asked to have removed) and fire roasted peppers. Our server Darren, was a gem and immediately said it would be no problem to replace the wild porcini mushroom sauce with an Alfredo (that's super service!).

Will's Abbate Farms Rabbit Gnocchi were dreamy and came with caramelized onion, "Veggin" ( a local farm) radish salad, fine herbs and spring onion pesto. My Whitty Farms Sweet Corn Bisque came with Black Pepper Popcorn, Smoked Bacon, Salsa & Cilantro Essence; I was in love.

We split the Summer Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon salad with Red Onion, Farm Basil served in a Gnger Melon Consomme with Citrus Sorrel Salad. The melon & ginger created a triple acidity with the tomato and watermelon that somehow worked out just right.

Our main courses were Lakeland Game Farm Duck Duo with Juniper Roasted Breast and Confit Leg, Potato Tart, Quiet Acres Boysenberry Jus. Delicate veggies on the side included baby squash, green & yellow beans and zucchini. Will had the excellent Cracked Pepper Rubbed Canadian lamb Loin with Coq au Vin & Goat Gouda "arancini" with the same farm veggies and St. David's hot house sweet pepper bisque. These mains were truly as superb as they sound and paired brilliantly by Darren with a Creekside Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec (60%/40%) 2007 which had an amazing nose and tasted even better in the mouth with super rich intensity and smokey & berry flavors.

Caramelized Summer Melon Martini was cantaloupe, watermelon & honeydew "bruleed" with Icewine jelly, melon water and watermelon ice. It sounded light and was, but very flavorful as well.

Will had the yummy Quiet Acres Cherry Almond Tort with cherry, butterscotch, house made nougatine.

In tasting ice wine the previous days, we learned the "seven second rule: "Don't swallow the wine until you've held it in your mouth and swirled it for seven seconds." The wine changes and blows up in your mouth as it did with out Between the Lines 2009 Cabernet Franc Icewine and the Stoney Ridge 007 Vidal Icewine.

Cheeses followed with Niagara Fruit Compote, Crusty breads and Beamsville Bee Pollen:

Blue Hermite from Ontario

Chevre Noir again from Quebec which was very cheddary

and Comfort Cream (?)

It was an amazing three days of food and wine as well as tourism in Niagara, Ontario!