There was a time way back in High School and University where Milestones would be on our regular rotation of eating destinations. Hey, all of favourites were there: Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Thai Drummettes, Portobello Mushroom Chicken and Prime Rib. However, as time passed, these favourites became monotonous and we just stopped going. Hey, for some restaurants, keeping everything mostly the same works, but for a "more upscale" chain restaurant, Milestones did not keep up with the times. So when I recently got an email to try out their new culinary direction led by chef Jason Rosso, I was more than happy to attend.
Along with other bloggers, Viv and I were treated to a 6-course tasting menu highlighting some of the new dishes offered at Milestone's. In addition, we were served wine pairings for each course from Constellation Brands. We started with the Crispy Quinoa Shrimp with chimichurri aioli and vegetable slaw. This was an interesting use of raw quinoa as a breading which afforded a significant crunch. However, it was pretty dense, hence it overshadowed the shrimp. Inside, the sweet shrimp exhibited a cold-water snap. The smooth aioli was mild where it did not overwhelm. Although crunchy and vibrant, I found the slaw to be lacking in punch where it could've used more acidity. This was served with a See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Gris which was floral and light. Next, we were presented with Panko Blue Crab Cakes with fennel & arugula salad and chiptole aioli. These little fried nuggets were super crunchy on the outside. The breading was a touch overbearing in relation to the delicate crab meat. I would've liked to see something lighter. With bits of chili flakes and yellow pepper mixed in, there was no absence of flavour and spice. Moreover, the spicy chipotle aioli added another layer of heat with a slight tinge of curry. A glass of Kim Crawford Chardonnay 2012 which was fruity and a nice compliment to the crab.
To go with our glass of Nk'Mip Riesling (which was dry with a bite), we were served a Spicy Thai Basil Stirfry featuring rice noodles, shrimp, chicken and coconut milk. Sadly, this was not very good. We found the noodles to be far too soft, wet and broken. Furthermore, there was a lack of flavour despite the small hint of spice and aromatics of the coconut milk. However, with a squeeze of the accompanying limes, it perked the dish up a bit. As for the proteins, the chicken was sufficiently moist for white meat while the shrimp had a meaty snap. Plated beautifully, the Grilled Japanese Tuna Tataki was really good. It had been marinated for 24 hours with rice wine, fish sauce and soy. Hence, the tuna itself was tasty on its own with a balance of flavours including the aromatic essence of sesame oil. Furthermore, it was prepared properly with a light char on the outside while being rare and buttery on the inside. Adding the missing element of sweetness was the accompanying Mandarin orange dressing. Completing the dish was an asparagus and fennel slaw which added brightness and a crunch to the plate. Since tuna can be quite meaty, it was appropriate that the wine pairing was the Mark West Pinot Noir that exhibited peppery notes.
Onto my favourite offering of the night, we had the Surf and Turf consisting of a grilled flat iron steak topped with a lobster fricassee, tempura onion ring and a side of lobster mash potatoes. The thin steak was nicely prepared where it was tender and required very little effort to eat. The creamy lobster fricassee added richness and a delicate sweetness to the dish. As for the mash, it was buttery and smooth with chunks of sweet lobster strewn throughout. The wine pairing for this dish was a glass of Dreaming Tree Crush which was fruity with a bite. Lastly, we finished off the meal with an Avocado and Lime Tart bourbon candied pecan and organic blueberry chutney and a brown sugar Chantilly. The tart itself had a nice refreshing lime hit which was not sweet at all. However, when combined with the sweet pecans, the flavours became more balanced. Although not without flaws, the tasting menu illustrated a different side of Milestones that has been a long time coming. The meal left me wondering what else is in store for the future. Since we were given gift cards at the end, I guess another visit is imminent.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*