John and I were in Halifax last weekend. It was a jam-packed 3 days and on Monday night we had dinner at Elements. It was the perfect ending to our weekend as we were heading back to NYC on Tuesday. Elements on Hollis is located within the Westin Hotel in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia.
A few years ago it seemed implausible to dine at a restaurant within a hotel if you wanted to experience a delicious and imaginative meal with the ambiance to match. It seems, though, that restaurants in hotels are making a comeback. Not only are the restaurants evolving but so are the lobby spaces (places where people can enjoy a snack or drink).
Elements recently underwent a makeover…from dark and boring to light, fun and inviting. Oh, and they didn’t stop there! A push for all things local by Haligonians caught the attention of the restaurant. We’ve all heard and hopefully read about the 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alicia Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. Elements menu focuses on local ingredients within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant. A wonderful way to truly experience all that Nova Scotia farms and fishermen have to offer.
When we arrived, Chef Jon Ganeau wanted to know if we were going to order from the seasonal menu or would we like him to present us with a tasting menu? The obvious answer was to let him run wild and go with the tasting menu. What better way to show off the local food and the talents of the chefs?
We started with Jost sparkling wine followed by a micro salad with shaved Old Growler cheese from That Dutchman’s Farm which was tossed with Blomidom chardonnay dressing – simply delicious! The Old Growler has a consistency that would remind you of Parmesan.
Next came Lunenburg cod fish cake on a bed of caramelized sweet onion chutney topped with pea shoots. This was complimented by a glass of Jost chardonnay. John said this was one of the best fish cakes he’d ever eaten and he’s not fond of cod!
I chose the oven roasted chicken with a herb spätzle and braised rabbit with gnocchi and roasted apple slices for John. We are still thinking about these dishes – so good!
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another morsel, Dave our waiter brought out beef cheek lasagne with quark cheese. Fresh layers with parsley rolled into each pasta square. The beef was fork-tender and easily consumed! Another glass of vino and this time it was Jost Trilogy which paired well with the beef.
A cranberry lime sorbet easily cleansed our palate to make way for a decadent Garrison beer nut brownie with whipped cream and caramel sauce. We were VERY satiated!
|Chef Jon Ganeau and Chef Jonathan Arsenault|
N.B. – To try their tasting menu, just phone ahead!
The Culinary Chase’s Note: While Chef Jon was busy getting our food ready, Chef Jonathan came by our table on various times to speak about the food and the direction the restaurant was taking with regard to their 50-mile theme. His enthusiasm was well received as we enjoy chatting to people who have a passion for what they do. Dave easily guided us through each tasting as well as detailed information about the wine. Four hours later and the evening came to a close. Need I say more? Cheers!