http://www.cagneys.ca/ 905.826.2311 $$$ open daily lunch $ dinner
Having a restaurant next to a bowling alley located in a strip mall is almost never a good thing, unless what one finds inside is so extravagant, it just might work. Owner Alex Lassos spared no expense turning an old neighborhood favorite into a lavish Vegas style lounge. Lush furniture, versatile lighting, upbeat Budda bar-ish music (live jazz on the weekends), lively fireplaces and an Aureole looking wine fridge makes this spot work just right. Wines on the consignment only list are richly extravagant, as are the cocktails. Working with a mixologist to build your list is always a plus, add in fresh fruit juice supplied by http://www.chasersjuice.com/ and every sip we drew was Hallelujah: Members Only, watermelon Margarita, Pimm’s brew, Bourbon Sour. Service is stellar.
Charcuterie tonight includes: Piave, prosciutto, spicy sausage, speck, spicy mixed olives, exploding sweet-tear drop peppers, plum mustard, housemade lemon ricotta and a grainy 6 month old Monchego. Fresh from the oven bread served with creamy butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar is one of the best things to come out of the kitchen. Braised short rib Arancini shines because of the balance of goat cheese, maple celeriac puree and thinly sliced Sicilian slaw. Loved Angus beef hand pressed burger – tomato relish, barbeque onions, red leaf lettuce, bacon, aged cheddar – on a deceivingly light and shiny bun.
I must include some criticism, however. Mains prove to be the hardest to execute with finesse from the kitchen, mainly because they are overcomplicated and extremely dated. Sometimes the hardest things to let go of is the past. Stuffed chicken supreme – pesto cheddar, purple crushed potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, seasonal vegetables – dry, complicated and over. Black Angus bone-in rib steak is not so much overcooked but lacks moisture and seasoning. Cuban lobster looks plump but sadly is chewy and lackluster.
I came back a few days later to listen to the live Jazz band and to sample a few more dishes. The smoky duck poutine was good, but better if one requests the peppercorn gravy instead. And finally the “signature” Caesar salad, which initially I didn’t care for, however it grew on me with each bite. Ending on a high note with one of the best, housemade cheesecakes I’ve had in a long time – Lassos mothers recipe.