Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

I dont know why i feel the need to write at 4am when all i should be doing is sleeping... but here I am, exhausted after a very very busy valentines day. 
A few things... We dont take reservations....I really didn't think we were going to be that busy tonight....i mean, i know our food is tasty, but in my mind it doesn't scream love is in the air.... maybe smoke in the air due to our horrific venting system in the kitchen everytime we sear foie gras, but far from the romantic evening i would assume most would want to spend with there loved one. But, there we were, 545 pm, people lining up like animals ready to dip there heads into the trough and get there eat on at the hoof. I had my pig snouts pre roasted... i honestly didn't think anyone was going to order it. 1/2 way through the night, we were sold out. I was stunned... i couldn't believe how the plates were coming back licked clean. One table even lifted there plate up to show me how empty it was. It amazes me to see what toronto can handle. If people are down for the pig snouts what else are they ready for. Perhaps its my duty to see how far i can push them. I thought the snout was overboard, but apparently not. 
Its nice to see people dressed up for there special occasion be it valentines or any other special night and eating at the hoof. Not that they shouldn't be enjoying themselves but i always feel like people come to the hoof expecting something different from what we are. From my little cubicle of a kitchen, i watch certain tables and certain people as they order and as they eat, 100% sure that they just dont get it and are not having a good it the food, service, washrooms, or atmosphere..... but then its those same people who come up to us in the kitchen and say how much they enjoyed themselves. So it calms my nerves for the moment until i focus my eyes on the next one... 
For instance, this old couple was in tonight.... they ordered a good amount of food for being old people...not that old people cant eat but i always remember grandma portioning her food like it was the Stalin regime. They started with cheese, then soups and marrow, then foie gras and something else, then i'm pretty sure they had dessert... they sat there for hours, i even had a chance to lift my head up while in the weeds to see them chatting with a young couple sitting beside them, i heard that one table even bought them a drink. 
So as the table was walking by the kitchen, the old women popped her head over the pass and smiled and told me how much she enjoyed her dinner. It made me feel good. Not because it made my day, but because it made me feel like i made hers. 
This is what the black hoof has made me realize. 99% of people dont really give a shit about table clothes, fancy cutlery and plate wear, over the top service that borders on "leave me the fuck alone already".  People want to be around other people enjoying themselves eating good food and drinking good wine, not to mention fantastic cocktails. No one really cares that our tables are unbalanced and that its like a smokehouse in our restaurant... why??? cause they just dont. 


Unknown said...

Hey Grant,

Great blog, and even better food.
Stopped by last Sunday and had the charcuterie plate and the tongue sandwich, both were excellent.

However, the reason for my post is that I wanted to thank you for not neglecting beer when you were coming up with the drink menu. I love my wines and cocktails as well, but I'm a beer geek at heart and there is something about a well hopped beer that I think pairs perfectly with the salty and fatty goodness of charcuterie.

To walk in and see Dogfish Head 60 Min, Brooklyn Lager, Mill St Tankhouse and Chimay in bottles, as well as the Erdinger, St Ambroise, etc. taps, was a welcome treat - obviously not a beer destination, but a small selection of well chosen brews goes a long way. It also helps me spend more money on the food rather than the wine.

Unknown said...


I'm glad you enjoyed everything.
Although id love to take credit, the beer, wine and cocktail selection is all my partner Jen's doing.
But i will pass your good thoughts on to her.