Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blackshop Restaurant in Cambridge

My wife and I went to Blackshop on Hespeler road for her birthday a few weeks ago. Although I can honestly say that their sister restaurant in Waterloo (Sole) is not my favourite, Sole does treat Celiacs very well. I thought I'd see if Blackshop was similar.

Well, my overall impression was similar to Sole. The atmosphere was wonderful, and the menu looked great. The waitress didn't know much about Celiac disease but asked the chef about all my choices.

But overall the food just didn't taste amazing, as the menu, atmosphere (and price) would lead you to believe. I found it just mediocre, and actually didn't feel well afterwards.

I ended up ordering from their Southwestern specialty menu. For an appetizer I had an interesting twist on tacos - the shells were made from shredded and baked Parmesan cheese. Unfortunately the beef was served at room temperature. I didn't complain because I thought maybe it was supposed to be served that way. (?) Overall, I can't really say I enjoyed it though.

I chose the Enchiladas for my main meal. They were stuffed with pulled pork, which in theory sounds amazing but overall just tasted 'ok' - they definitely didn't wow me in any way. My wife ordered the Tequila Tiger Shrimp, and although the shrimp was good it was way too spicy for her to eat. They marked it with a '2 chilies' meaning it's medium, but it was way hotter than my '3 chili' tacos which we both could eat without breaking a sweat.

Here's one I haven't heard before though. My wife ordered the potato frites for an appetizer - basically french fries - and I asked the waitress if they were gluten-free and cooked in a separate fryer so I could sample them. She came back and said they were cooked in the same oil as other gluten-products, but "the chef says it's ok because all gluten breaks down in such a hot fryer and therefore you have nothing to worry about".

Wow! That's news to me, and of course I didn't believe it. All literature I've read certainly does not give this indication, and thus I stayed away from the fries. (As an aside - does that mean I can have onion rings because all the gluten content breaks down? Hahaha, wishful thinking.)

So that was pretty shocking. That comment alone makes me very skeptical about a restaurant. I appreciate the fact that they mention it, but a comment like "if you are very sensitive to gluten you might want to stay away from the fried food" would be a better answer.

Anyway, by the end of dinner, I wasn't feeling all that great, so we passed up on dessert. I really wanted to try their creme brule, (and it is my favourite) so you can tell I really wasn't feeling good! I'm really not sure if it was gluten contamination in their food or just indigestion. (I didn't get completely sick, just an upset stomach.)

I don't know if I'd return to Blackshop any time soon - their atmosphere and menu does look good, and perhaps their regular menu items are more tried and true. But for a $120 meal for 2 people (including wine), I feel like their are plenty of other restaurants (like Verses or Charbries in Waterloo) that would be much better options.

Have you been to Blackshop? What was your experience like? Feel free to leave a comment.

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