Saturday, January 9, 2010

Restaurant review: Habit

I just grabbed this from their site, as I didn't think to take pictures.
Looks like a pretty good shepherd's pie.

Last might my lovely girlfriend and I had dinner at the newly done Habit at 10th and Main. It reopened a short while ago after a lengthy period of renovations after a nasty fire closed it down. I didn't eat at the first incarnation, but I heard good things. It advertises itself so:
Lounge - Bar - Modern Canadian Food.

A quick glance at the menu shows a limited but intriguing selection of appetizers and mains, and some mouthwatering desserts. Of the appetizers, the cod cakes look good, as do the sweet carrot and brie perogies. We weren't too hungry, though, so only ordered a main each. The first thing that caught our eyes was the tuna casserole. They also offer a lamb meatloaf, veggie* shepherd's pie, some grilled fish, steak, brisket and a pork tenderloin. Both my girlfriend and I wanted the tuna casserole, but I thought that for a first time at a new restaurant we should mix it up a bit, and was leaning towards the pork tenderloin (but hesitating over pineapple chutney; I would prefer fig, maybe) when the extremely friendly server told us about the duck confit special, and I was sold.

It came with fried spinach, mushroom and bacon, and amazing gratin potatoes. They were the highlight of the dish, to be sure. The duck itself tasted beautiful and was perfectly done, but too salty even for confit.

N's tuna casserole was pretty perfect. It tasted like really, really good tuna casserole, which is exactly what it's meant to be. It didn't try to be too fancy, using high quality ingredients to make a wonderfully simple dish.

The dessert menu came with the information that the owner's mother makes them all fresh (though not the cheese plate from Mount Pleasant Cheese Shop). I was tempted by the pineapple upside-down cake, a childhood favourite, and the lemon meringue tart with strawberry sauce sounds pretty good, but the chocolate brownie with mocha ice cream, honeyed walnuts, whipped cream and caramel was the first choice of us both.

And it was a good choice. It's hard to go wrong with a brownie, but the quality shone through. The walnuts were perfect, not too sweet, the ice cream was a delight, and the brownie was rich without being cloying.

The drink menu is varied: great beer selection, very interesting do-it-yourself retro cocktails, decent wine selection, and an entire page of Canadian whiskies. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm not a huge fan of rye, so it's not a selling point for me at all. I don't care how you describe it, Canadian Club is , and I'm not going to order it just because it says that it has a caramel palate. We tried a more expensive one a while ago when there just for drinks (I forget which), and it was decent, but nothing special. I've since tried Tangle Ridge, which they offer, and quite enjoyed it.

Comfortable, relaxing, and welcoming.

The new decor is clean and warming. It's a bit too loungey for my liking, but it's a lounge, so... Our server was excellent, very friendly, very informative. It was a bit chilly, but that might have been me still getting over a cold. It's a very congenial atmosphere, no one rushing around, a mid-level hum in the room never overpowering our own conversation.

The website that I'm using to help write this is functional and clear, but uses pdf menus, something that is really bothersome at times. Yes, you have to code in a few more pages instead of just writing a word doc and converting it to a pdf, but for my money it's worth the trouble.

Habit will definitely see my expectant smiling face again. Hell, I'll return just for the service and those potatoes.

Habit Lounge
2610 Main Street @10th
5-12:30, 5-1 on the weekend, 5-11 on Sunday.

* Veggie with two g's always bothers me. I really don't see the need. How many of you thought Reggie was pronounced Regg-ee as a child?


Trish said...

Thanks for this review Brenton. Aubrey and I used to love this place. We used to go there at least once a week, which is perhaps a little too frequent, but we were young and carefree! You didn't mention the appetizers and salads. I lived for the roasted beet and goat's cheese salad with Bibb lettuce and pistachios. I was always as good as I hoped. any chance it was around still? They used to own and operate a place just off Cornwall in Kits as well, and it was great. Can't remember the name tho.

Brenton said...

In fact, I did mention the appetizers/salads, Trish-ola: "Of the appetizers, the cod cakes look good, as do the sweet carrot and brie perogies." I remember seeing a beet salad, and Nina suggested it; might have to try it next time.

They're connected to Cascade, the bar next door. No mention of anywhere in Kits. Were you thinking of Abigail's Party at Yew?

And thanks for commenting on the blog. I really love it.

Trish said...

The Kits place closed down about a year before they opened Habit. I think it was indeed the same location as Abigail's Party-it was the new place after Abigails went tits up. The name still escapes me! It had an Asian Pacific fusion theme. They served tropical cocktails with umbrellas in them.

Brenton said...

And who can resist cocktails with umbrellas? I used to love the plastic swords, myself, because they fit perfectly in GI Joe figures' hands.