We met up with a friend last Saturday morning at the recently opened The Hoof Café, The Black Hoof‘s newest outpost. Well, it’s more like a nearpost, as it’s located right across the street. With a totally different vibe and menu, we sat down and were presented with an issue: what to eat? I mean, we knew what we wanted, but really, could we consume it all? Taking the safe tack, we opted to keep it at a main per person and two shared dishes. We threw in the Caesar listed on the wall and we were good to go.
Updated notes on The Hoof Café (2010.01.15)
Sabodet (above) Supposed to be a strong, earthy pork sausage of pig’s head and skin and a specialty of Lyon. So Google tells me. Reminded me more of breakfast sausage. Came on a bed of lentils, which were pretty tasty. I would say this was our least-favourite dish overall. Not bad, but everything else was just more to our taste.
French Press Coffee They use 49th Parallel from BC. It’s quite mild/mellow and quite lovely just black, even if you’re a milk ‘n’ sugar kind of person. A perfect drink for a relaxed morning.
Pig Skin Soup Thick and hearty, reminding us of a French pea soup. Came sided with baguette toast, and instead of butter, some delicious kind of porky fat was spread upon it. I had to refrain from eating it up since this was an early dish and I knew we had more coming…
Rabbit & Buckwheat pancakes The smell when it hit the table was incredible. Quite a nice dish, but we couldn’t finish it. Candied celery dice hidden underneath and chunks of rabbit were embedded throughout. But what I loved (and what gave off that heavenly smell) were what I assume are the slightly charred piggy/bacon curls on top. More of that please! (Thanks to ksl for the reminder!)
Pig tails ‘n’ grits Tasting of a mild tomato with a gentle kick. Loved mixing that yolk in and taking a bite of the pork. A hearty and heavy dish. Maybe a bit too heavy for me in the morning with the addition of cheesy grits, though the hit of green onion every now and then helped to break things up.
Tongue grilled cheese Looking more like a pastrami sandwich, but still really tasty. Lovely grill marks on the toasted brioche. You can’t really tell from this photo, but the thinly-shaved tongue is piled high. Hidden within is some chorizo. Comes skewered with some sweet pickles. My preference would be some dill pickles instead. (Thanks to Renée for the brioche/chorizo bits).
Marrow side Usually only one marrow per order, we were given two because the first one was small. Since there were three of us, I wasn’t going to complain. Tasty, as always, especially with that hit of Maldon sea salt. So good.
A Caesar was up on the drink menu. Pink peppercorn, vodka, marmite syrup, horseradish. It had to be ordered. I kinda felt like it needed more bite and I didn’t really taste the marmite. I think I preferred the one at Ceili Cottage (you’ll see it in a future post) better.
You can check out the kitchens through the little window near the door. I think that’s Grant Van Gameren playing with some sweetbreads on the left there. Yay to him for making offal cool and broadening Toronto palates.
Though we left things like the Suckling Pig Benny and the Brioche French Toast (with a slab of foie gras on the side, of course!) for next time, despite our discretion, we still were really full. So full that I didn’t even think to ask about dessert – something I regret, now that I hear talk of bone marrow donuts with cherries inside. Sigh. But what we did eat was very good, very rich, and ultimately, satisfying.
I know we’ll be sitting in the sunny room of The Hoof Cafe again very soon.
- The Hoof Café 923 Dundas Street West, Toronto
More photos from The Hoof Café
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December 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm
I believe the tongue grilled cheese is on brioche, and there was cheese inside and sliced chorizo (or at least that’s what we had in ours about an hour after your meal). Although pleasant, I found both items distracted from the classic tongue on brioche bit. You ordered the rabbit pancakes – what I had intended to order but instead went with the day’s special (boudin noir crepe with quince) – so I suppose I’ll live vicariously through you. :P Hopefully I’ll get to try those heavenly pork bits soon. Does this mean that we should all head there soon again? ;)
Oh, I wouldn’t kick yourself over missing the doughnuts because it wasn’t advertised – at least not that I know of, else I should kick myself for missing them too! I know that I asked about them last week (after ML told us about it from his return visit) when I went to the Hoof (I know, different spots), but sadly they were sold out by then. I thought it was just an on the whim sort of offering.
The first time ML and I visited Hoof Cafe, ML had the grits (which were spectacular for both of us) and I had the hash (pretty decent). On the second visit, my friends and I went with the tongue grilled cheese, the benny (very nice), and the special crepe. Both times we had the Sabodet of which my non-sausage loving friend really enjoyed (good texture; relativelly lean); I’m guessing it’s a little too lean for your tastes? We also had an interesting cock’s comb soup that Grant’s experimenting with. That was fun (if you like cock’s combs – I had the pleasure of eating ~72% of them in my dining trio because I think I’m one of few who actually enjoys them).
Let me know “when” – I’m sure the weekend fixture (M) would be glad to join. Ha ha.
December 23, 2009 at 8:27 pm
I do think we had JUST left the other day when you arrived. Hahaha! We should all go again soon. I want to try the eggs benny! For the Sabodet – I think I like less-spiced sausages so that more of the pork comes through. But that’s just me.
How was the boudin noir?! I… didn’t see that either. I think the pancakes were good, but not so awesome as to ram every last bite in my gaping maw, despite fullness.
Soon! Maybe in the new year?
December 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm
Hi! I stumbled upon this wonderful food blog while I was looking up Black Hoof! I love your website and it must be wonderful to be able to eat a great selection of food and take pictures and share it with everyone! I love all the food pictures! :) Great job!
December 31, 2009 at 2:04 pm
Hi Diana! It is a lot of fun to take photos and share my favourite meals. And boy, are there a lot of meals I love! Thanks for visiting!
January 15, 2010 at 12:16 am
Will try the French Toast when I go…have seen incredible photos of it!
January 15, 2010 at 10:40 am
Visited with two friends, both of whom are hoof cafe and black hoof regulars. Sweet god….. I had the suckling pig benny. I have been a chef for the last 8 years and have never in my life had a eggs benny that tasted as good as that. I thought afterwards there could be nothing better.
One friend then past me a very tiny( he is also a chef) piece of tongue and grilled cheese sandwich. I realized I was wrong. everything was absolutely perfect. And I mean everything.
I would like to wish continued success to the people at the hoof cafe and the black hoof. You are fighting the good fight.
January 15, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Ayl > Still have yet to try the French Toast! Third time’s a charm. Not to mention the rather yummy sounding doughnuts.
Josh > actually liked the hash more than the benny. And the sandwich is really quite good.
August 14, 2010 at 1:40 am
Yummy! I wish they still had the Rabbit & Buckwheat pancakes. I’m less sold on the pigtails and grits now, Waffles & Hog’s Head are next on my hit-list :D
August 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm
Erin > If it’s anything like the Smoked Pig’s Head, it’ll be delicious!