Globe Bistro’s Kevin McKenna and Eigensinn Farm’s Michael Stadtländer serve up an epic eat-local dinner
It was gastronomic ecstasy at the elegant “eat local” Globe Bistro Wednesday night, when Eigensinn Farm’s Michael Stadtländer made a guest appearance to heat up the kitchen with his former student, Globe chef Kevin McKenna. A portion of the proceeds from the lavish seven-course wine-paired feast go to the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation. “That’s where I’m going to go after my first heart attack from pork,” owner Ed Ho joked. We were relieved that lamb was the order of the evening.
Globe regulars and industry types were among the crowd out for a taste of Stadtländer’s downtown cameo. We spotted representatives from Langdon Hall and mag men Alistair Kyte (Foodservice and Hospitality) and Alan Vernon (Eye Weekly). All eyes, however, were on Paul Boehmer of Rosewater Supper Club, whose forthcoming Ossington restaurant is the latest buzz generator.
At the table, we were comfortably ensconced near director Harald Thiele and the entourage from the flourishing Ontario winery Hidden Bench, whose rustic 2005 malbec is paired with tonight’s pièce de résistance: Eigensinn Farm lamb. The Toronto Star‘s wine critic, Gordon Stimmel, is also meant to be within chatting range, but he was snagged by another table. Thiele was all too happy to dole out his uneaten portions, and Ho cheekily suggested that we move over and sit on the misplaced critic’s lap. After another glass of Rosewood Estates Ambrosia, we just may have.
The all-Ontario meal was a 100-mile masterpiece, though we later learn from McKenna that there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen—10 in all, and “Michael is a big man,” McKenna pointed out. Hidden Bench winemaker J.M. Bouchard said of the hazelnut-crusted goat cheese amuse: “It could inspire poetry.” Smoky artichoke, chive and whitefish soup was a lovely spring potage, and juicy seared foie gras was lusciously sweet and tender. The climax of the night hit when the roasted Eigensinn lamb was brought out on a 10-foot platter to much applause and the paparazzi-like flashing of camera phones. This was followed by a selection of Ontario artisanal cheeses courtesy of Upper Canada, Fifth Town and Cheese Boutique (including a rare Monforte Toscano), after which we could not savour another morsel. Well, except for Stadtländer’s richly textured maple-hazelnut nougat cake and—if we must—a few more sugary sips of Inniskillin Vidal icewine.