Originally posted on Feb. 11, 2010
Dine Out menus during Savour are things of beauty. I love the concept of having access to a number of Halifax restaurants that are offering amazing multi-course meals at seriously reasonable prices. It is like splurging without even having to spend the extra cash. I chose to visit Onyx during their Dine Out menu offering because they are a restaurant I wouldn’t always be willing to spend the money on regularly. Onyx belongs in my special occasion meals or just going out for a few really nice glasses of wine and cocktails (mojitos) category. To be able to have the experience I had on Wednesday evening for $45 (food) and $20 (wine pairing) it an absolute treat. Not to mention how locally-inspired both the food and wine are at Onyx for their Dine Out offering. Home to, in my humble opinion, one of the most impressive wine lists in Halifax, it was very nice to see their wine pairing for Dine Out comprised completely of Nova Scotia wines.
We were greeted with complimentary aperitifs made of a cherry-balsamic reduction and Prosecco that started the night off on a delightful and creative note. The service was definitely up to its usual standard and I enjoyed taking in the Onyx atmosphere that always strikes me as big-city.
First course for both me and my lovely dinner date (from a choice of two) was local honey glazed digby scallops, perfectly pan seared, and accompanied by a purple radish shoots & apple slaw. This was matched up with Domaine de Grand Pre Seyval Blanc; a lighter bodied white wine with flavours of crisp citrus fruit. This wine proved to be a very enjoyable match for a shellfish dish with a delicate and sweet glaze that had enough fresh acidity to match up to the denseness of the scallop and its naturally rich flavour.
We then enjoyed an Oxford Blueberry sorbet as intermezzo, and with cleansed palates, excitedly received our main course – both having chosen the lobster. Being a lobster lover and not having had it for a long time (and having already looked at Onyx’s Dine Out menu online over a week before going) my anticipation was running high! The dish was beautiful; the flavour and texture variety superb. Atlantic lobster buerre monte poached, sweet corn flan, charred scallions, roasted carrots, asparagus, and dragon’s breath buerre blanc. The lobster meat was of course taken from the tail and claw, and there was lots of it, all delivering that classic Atlantic lobster essence. I have never before enjoyed a buerre blanc like I did this particular evening – everything about the dish was delicious and intriguing – the sweet corn flan having a light and fluffy texture juxtaposed by its spectacularly rich and unique flavour. This complex dish was paired with, of course, the varietal that Nova Scotia seems to have mastered, the highly aromatic, bold and full-flavoured varietal – Muscat. A glass of Gaspereau Muscat did the job well – not backing down to the combination of confident flavours represented in this dish. Muscat is a classic pairing with lobster and did not let us down.
We finally ordered different dishes during our dessert course. My counterpart vying for the oxford blueberry cheesecake, Acadian maple syrup toffee, and cloud berry compote paired with Grand Pre Dolce Vita, a red dessert wine. I did steal a bite (and a sip) that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can comment more on my own dessert – the valley apple Pomme d’Or tart, cranberry compote, ice wine jelly and crispy apple cinnamon ice cream. I found the elements of this dish to work very well together and loved how they played up on some classic flavour combinations, yet kept things creative with an ice wine jelly, and tied in two local dessert wines. This was paired with the absolutely perfect Jost Vidal Ice Wine. What can I say about this ice wine? It had been a long time since I’d drank it and I almost forgot how impeccable it is. Its reputation speaks for itself – the balance is incredible, as was the company, meal and experience that evening!