1610 Champlain Ave.
Time to go to where many of our chefs started....school! Durham College has a culinary arts program that allows their chefs-in-training to practice in a real restaurant kitchen. Love this! In fact, there's a screen in the dining room where you can see chefs making your meal. The next big chef could be cooking you dinner and you didn't even know it!
That's not all; it's field to fork. When you drive by on Champlain Ave or drive to the restaurant parking, you can see their gardens and there are plans for greenhouses too! It doesn't get any fresher than that. Whatever is in season is what they're serving.
The venue itself is beautiful. Bright orange walls were the backdrop for the dark wood tables facing floor to ceiling windows. Everything was beautifully designed, right down to the lighting and table setting. Great atmosphere. Once the construction at the college is complete, the view from your second floor seat will become much more esthetically pleasing.
After we ordered our drinks, bread and a house spread. The bread was fresh and the spread was AMAZING. Garlic, shallots and a whole lot of yum. When our Warm Baked Flatbread arrived, we kept what was left of the spread and used it for the flatbread too! Marinated , cheese, sherry onions and even more garlic all on a flatbread fresh out of the oven. The toppings were tasty, but not overwhelming. We made quick work of it even though it was huge.
For mains we went with Steak Frites, Local Cornish Hen & Grilled Birch-Glazed Salmon. The Cornish Hen was tender, juicy and was infused with citrus. The strong citrus were cut nicely with the pepperoncini polenta. Fantastic combination. The piece of salmon was HUGE. The picture doesn't do it justice; it was easily over an inch thick. The roasted peppers were great but the potatoes weren't fully cooked. The Steak Frites was probably the . The steak was tender and well seasoned. The fries were , sprinkled with thyme and served with tomato jam. You read it - JAM. This was not your grocery store ketchup. It had such a unique that I have nothing to compare it to. Either way, it was fantastic. try it!
The service was great. They were quick, attentive and knowledgeable. They are very professional. You wouldn't even know that the people there are in training to be chefs because it tasted like they were pros already!
I realize they just put a huge logo for this place right ON the building, but it just doesn't stand out. I know if I'm looking for a restaurant, I'm looking for the traditional big sign near the road. If you're not from the area, you might not find it.
This was my first meal at the culinary school and it won't be my last. Support your local college and give them feedback to make them the best of the best!