Feed Me: Brockton General


Hi there,

An intimate space at Brockton General quickly fills up with hungry bodies

On Dundas St. West (super west), there’s a little spot that only has about 10-12 tables and a tiny kitchen from which Chef Guy Rawlings works his magic.  The two hosts and co-owners, Brie Read and Pam Thomson, are super friendly and energetic as they apologize to us for the delay in being able to welcome us in.

The bar area

This particular evening, a photo shoot has just wrapped up, so there are bright lights, fancy cameras, and cords snaked about the ground.  There is no need to say sorry though, as we are brought in from the cold, seated close to the bar, and given the small- white staple menu.

Staple Menu of Brockton General fare

Just as we begin to peruse the menu, we hear a rattling sound;  butcher paper is being hung up with tonight’s menu items scrawled in hand written script; no computer generated menu for this.

The menu for this evening

Dishes are always changing and depend on the availability of local produce.  Pam informs us that one of tonight’s specials is pork ribs– she begins to describe it, but I am already sold. Nothing like meat-laden dinosaur bones to take the chill off our frosty fingers and toes. To begin, my friend orders the white bean, anchovy, and garlic mash dip.

St. John’s Bread and house made dip consisting of creamy white beans, anchovies, and garlic

When it arrives, it comes with a few slices of  hearty nut- studded wheat bread and sourdough from St. John’s.  Texture wise, the dip is reminiscent of hummus.  The beans have been pureed to a smooth creamy consistency and punctuated with salty anchovies and sweet roasted garlic.  It appears some fruity olive oil is drizzled on top.  It is bright and not too rich.  A perfect way to begin the meal.  Then comes the pasta.

Maltagliati with walnuts and golden raisins

Home made silky strands of Maltagliati arrive at the table.  These scrappy pieces of pasta are studded with bitter walnuts and juicy golden raisins.  Although I found it slightly oily, there was a smoky flavour imparted on the translucent dressing.  I loved the interplay of the bitter nuts and the sweet, plump raisins.  I forced myself to eat this slowly to savour every morsel.  It was, hands down, my favourite dish of the evening.

Next up, the mains arrive, by this time, the place is completely filled up and the two ladies are hard at work pleasing all the patrons.  As we waited for our mains, we noticed that the painting hung on the wall could be purchased too. Some lucky individuals could walk away full and with a piece of art. Sweet.

This giraffe can be yours for $650

My friend ordered the Raclettte- crispy potatoes, roasted onion, fermented cauliflower, and dijon mustard.

A simple dish of crispy potatoes and Raclette cheese dish

I can’t say I enjoyed this but my friend really liked it.  The large medallions of potatoes were topped with slices of melted, buttery Raclette cheese. I didn’t taste any sour notes from the fermented cauliflower but I did enjoy the sweet roasted onions.  It offset the potato and gooey cheese really nicely.  The dijon mustard was unnecessary in my opinion because its spiciness overpowered the other elements on the dish.  My dish was the pork (ribs) and cabbage.

Mammoth Dino Pork Ribs

I’ll admit, the red sauced meat which was set on a bed of red cabbage was not the prettiest dish of the evening, but we’re not trying to win a beauty contest here.  The appearance is forgotten and the tastes take over.  The mammoth ribs are very tender and there was a creeping heat from the sauce.  The spiciness was echoed in the cabbage and I tried to pick out the individual flavours.  Unfortunately, very soon, my palate was shot because the heat seared through my tastebuds.  They became numb to the more subtle notes of the dish such as the sweetness of the meat itself.  If Chef had gone easy on the sauce (perhaps placed it on the side so we could choose our own adventure) this dish would have been much more enjoyable.

Finally, we come to dessert; I was quite excited at seeing what Chef had up his sleeve since he finished a pastry stage at WD-50 in NYC.  However, the dish, though described beautifully, looked like scattered crumbs one cleaned off a counter top.

Crumbs on a plate aka “Dessert” (food items here are larger than they appear)

Described as ‘Chocolate, cardamom amaro, hazelnut’– on the plate was a small quenelle surrounded by golden and black crumbles, finished with foam.  It was a huge letdown visually- – it was as though we were eating someone’s messy leftovers.  Yes, I am familiar with the ‘deconstructed’ look but, c’mon, this was just ridiculous.  Usually with this type of plating, there is a dominant item as the focal point.  I suspect the quenelle was supposed to be the central component, but it was much too small.  For $7, I expected more than 2 measly bites.

Despite a few small setbacks, with gracious hosts and awesome service, overall, this restaurant has great potential. With a little more wand waving and fine-tuning, this restaurant can definitely dish out some spectacular results in the future.  We’ll definitely return to try them again.

Brockton General on Urbanspoon

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