You and your partner/pal/roommate/spouse are hungry. It’s been a long day and you don’t feel like cooking, but you feel even less like ordering in greasy fast food. You just want to go out, have a drink, relax and savour some quiet conversation and good food without dressing up.
Have we got the spot for you.
Despite the ongoing construction on Bank Street, we made our way to The Buzz at 374 Bank at Lewis on Wednesday. In its present location for five years, the bistro has a charming ambience with exposed brick walls, high ceilings, paintings by local artists which are rotated every six weeks or so, dark wood tables and a couple of half-round booths for groups.
We were greeted at the door with a big smile by Chris and shown to a booth. It was early so the place was quiet except for soft background music, jazz fusion we guessed, restful but not intrusive.
I am a social drinker and a carnivore. My friend is a vegetarian. Here’s my version of dinner. Hers to the right.
I ordered a Singapore sling. Since I am something of a sling buff, having taste-tested them in four countries, I’m picky about the drink and the presentation. To my delight, this one was exactly on the mark, not too heavy on the grenadine, sweet with a tiny tart tang and served in the proper glass. Good start.
We shared an appetizer called The Woolwich Cheese and Garlic Affair, consisting of a whole roasted garlic, topped with warm goat cheese with a moat of mango chutney, the baked crostinis arranged in a pinwheel pattern. The pleasing presentation and combination of textures made our taste buds tingle with anticipation.
I ordered the 6 oz. centre cut grilled filet mignon, medium rare, topped with King oyster mushrooms in a Jim Beam bourbon sauce, roasted rosemary potatoes and julienne vegetables. The meat was cooked to perfection, tender, with just the right amount of au jus; potatoes and veggies were crisply tender, as they say in the cookbooks, preserving all their inherent nutrition.
For dessert I had the crème brule, the top crust with just a hint of burnt sugar flavour. Heavenly.
Part of the pleasure of going out is being served, and I was impressed with our waitress, Sarah. She was pleasant, witty and knowledgeable about the menu. She gave us just the right amount of time to relax before taking our order and was unobtrusively attentive. To wit: when I spilled a bit of tea, she appeared with a couple of paper napkins and placed them beside my plate. I was grateful she let me tidy it up myself, without making a fuss. Obviously the comfort and dignity of the customer is paramount at The Buzz.
Since it was Wednesday, it was $5 martini night and although I didn’t indulge, I was pleased to note they were shaken, not stirred, in proper James Bond fashion.
The Buzz has an excellent website at www.thebuzzrestaurant.ca and is a great spot to go with friends, or relatives from out of town you want to impress. It’s refined without being stuffy, can satisfy a range of tastes and left me checking my calendar, planning to return. I give it Five Red Slippers.
The vegetarian’s view…
As a three-decade long vegetarian, I have eaten some dry, tasteless tofu burgers in my time, but on this occasion some very different adjectives apply. The Pecan Burger at The Buzz is one of two (the other being in Chicago) veggie burgers that leave a delightful memory, with a promise-to-self to indulge again.
Consisting of crushed pecans and almonds with assorted vegetables mixed in, the creation is topped with cheese and a savoury tomatillo salsa that leaves the mouth tingling and the palate singing. Accompanied by the diner’s choice of fries or salad, I chose the latter, enjoying a perfect mix of mesclun greens, carrots and cucumbers lightly drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette . The meal was not only beautifully presented, but it was perfect in every important way: attractive, firm and moist. Sort of like my last girlfriend.
For dessert, I indulged in my favourite legal addiction: chocolate. I ordered the Chocolate Pudding Cake and upon first bite, entered Nirvana. Very moist chocolate cake with a molten centre of hot, delicious…what else…chocolate. Good thing my companion had her own dessert, cause I wasn’t sharing.
This is a great dining spot not only for the cuisine, but for the atmosphere, which is charming for any occasion. It’s perfect for a business gathering, friends getting together and that all important ‘date to impress’. It won’t take a bite out of your bank account either, even in recessionary times.
With appetizer, entrees and desserts for two the bill came in under $70.00 not including tax and tip.
I give it 5 Red Slippers as well…only mine are stilettos!