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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Belgravia Hub - The Goldilocks Zone

Seventy-sixth avenue, with the recent arrivals of Enzo's on 76 and Belgravia Hub, is indeed a lucky stretch of roadway. Two top-notch - but very different - eateries are within a few blocks of one another. Enzo's opened several weeks ago, and already produces some of the finest Italian fare in the city. Belgravia Hub has been open for little more than a week and already operates like a finely-calibrated, sinuous machine.

A blues-tinged soundtrack (that will later segue into John Lennon and The Doors) lolls about in a room dressed in metal and wood. A one page menu features "Beginnings," "Get Fresh," and "Fill Up." Translation: starters, salads, and mains. For starters, flatbread with goat cheese and veggies is graced with tangy pesto and crowned with little clouds of cheese, roasted morsels of peppers and mushrooms, and gently topped with a small handful of fresh greens.

Shrimp Bruschetta pops with the eponymous pink crustaceans, counterbalanced by coins of spicy sausage. Sweet corn and sunny tomatoes complete this creation, though a few more slices of bread would be welcome.

Shortrib Sliders, though the buns are a bit lost in the mix, present unctuously juicy nests of shredded beef atop a mild fennel slaw. A quick dab of mayo caresses both meat and veg.

Mushroom Risotto shines. Nutty rice that plays with abundant mushrooms falls perfectly within the "Goldilocks Zone" - neither too dry nor too creamy. Zig-zags of balsamic drizzle impart hits of zip and zing that accentuate, rather than overpower, their fungous companions.

Voluptuous Beef Shortrib is tender and marbled in all the right places. A jumble of carrots and brussels sprouts harkens to Sunday dinners of yore. Potato-leek mash is pan-fried to give addition texture and depth of flavour, the latter of which starts with buttery notes of potato and finishes with subtle whispers of leek.

Cornmeal Berry Cake is neither too porous nor too dense. A squiggle of coulis and a puff of whipped cream encourage alternating hits of berry and dairy. Though cornmeal, in the wrong hands, can easily be robbed of moisture, this cake is gorgeously moist.

Jasper Ave and 124 St may have the highest rate of good restaurants per block, but at this rate, 76 Ave will be a serious contender for the crown. This Ave will be the Goldilocks Zone of dining - neither too many nor too few - and it's just right.

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