I always feel conflicted about giving anything less than glowing reviews about local restaurants. I want them to taste great, stay open and contribute to the vibe of the city. So, I want this post to be constructive.
A few days ago, I went to Burnt Butter, a new restaurant that has opened in Hintonburg. The restaurant has a simple and serene feel that made me feel positive about the food to come. The service was also strong. Our waiter was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about the menu selections. I don't remember his name, but he did mention that he used to work at the Canal Ritz.
We started off with the soup of the day, seafood (scallops) and sweet potato.
The soup was the highlight of the meal. It was well-seasoned and flavourful. I didn't mind having to request that it be warmed up (despite having requested that it be extra hot when I ordered). It did bother me, however, when I heard the line cook giving the waiter attitude about it when the waiter said that it needed to be warmer. The restaurant is relatively small and there's an open kitchen design. So, I'd recommend that the staff keep that in mind when they're conversing.
We also ordered some calamari. The tartar sauce was nice and tangy. But the calamari itself was pretty bland. We requested some lemon and doused them with it, which made it more palatable.
For the mains, I ordered the Sage Fettucine. Unfortunately, it was pretty bland. The pasta was quite dry and the peas were about equivalent in flavour to the peas that I pull out of my freezer. The proscuitto was the best part of the dish. I brought most of the dish home with the intention of adding something like a pesto sauce to it.
My friend ordered the Swiss Chard Agnolotti. The filling had good flavour, but the pasta was undercooked and the eggplant broth lacked punch and didn't have a particularly pleasing consistency.
My friend has an astute analogy to describe the meal. She said it reminded her of a meal made by a boyfriend who wants to impress you and goes out and buys fancy ingredients to support his efforts. But, after your first bite, you put on a brave smile, appreciate the effort and make a mental note that you'll probably be the chef in the relationship.
You can tell by the effort put into the space and concept that they're trying. But, I think some of the menu items need to change and a chef with a strong palate should get in the kitchen. I'll be keeping an eye out to see how the reviews continue to shape up.