Do you think Picasso loved lentils? Frank does, as one of three restaurants in Toronto participating in the loveyourlentils.ca contest to win a trip to PEI to hang out with Chef Michael Smith. Frank at the AGO was the first stop on my tour to sample the goodness being prepared by these chefs . I had not been to Frank before, and had wanted to see the Picasso exhibit, so this was a great opportunity to check two things off my list. Or was it? I’m not one for being overly prepared, so when we (mama bear and I) showed up to see the exhibit, and we were told the galleries close at 5:30 (it was 5:00) I was only partially surprised at my failure. Sigh. Well, at least mom and I were hungry, so we went right to Frank.
The space is very clean, with lots of wood, and quite bright and spacious. Staff was friendly, courteous, and on top of everything throughout our visit in a very efficient way. A nice focus on VQA wines and local craft beer is a nice touch. I was there to try the lentil dish, but the menu was definitely appetizing enough to order quite a bit of food. Tuesday’s during the Picasso are dedicated to Spain, and the menu has tapas, fresh and interesting salads, and paella.
Spain and lentils to have a lot of connections, and this all fit in a nice thematic. The regular dish that is posted for the contest was unfortunately not what we were served, and the dish was not my favourite of the night. The flavours were a bit muted and the dish was unsophisticated. The lentils were cooked perfectly, and presented with some roasted heirloom carrots on top, as a side more than a main. I have to admit the simplicity of the dish was attractive, and beluga lentils are so very stunning when plated, like little black pearls.
Overall the food we served was very tasty and presented nicely. Here was what we ate:
In Spain you find lentejas (lentils) prepared in soups, stews, and salads. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they're best if cooked with assertive flavorings. This works very well for a cuisine that uses a lot of chorizo, pimentón (paprika), and full bodied wines. Stay tuned for my next post where I will be sharing my lentil soup recipe. It’s origins are in Israel, which the only connection to Spain is sharing of a body of water, but maybe we will put a spin on it to show the versatility of lentils. What's your secret ingredient that you put in your lentil soup?
Remember to comment on this post to enter my contest and visit the loveyourlentils.ca site to enter their contest & tweet "I voted for my favourte recipe & a chance to win a trip to PEI for @FoodDayCanada with @ChefMichaelSmith at LoveYourLentils.ca #lovelentils" for another chance to win. Read my original post for details, here.