Sherman's Food Adventures: Dachi

Dachi

At times, I meet with other foodie friends for some serious eating at various restaurants in town.  They are not invited events nor do we get anything special out of it.  It is just basically a few friends heading out for dinner and enjoying both the food and company.  Sure, some of us take pictures for IG and/or blogging purposes, but that almost seems secondary.  Hey, I'm not opposed to invited events, but in reality, this is as enjoyable as it gets when it comes to eating out.  It is especially great when I get to hang out with the likes of David, Maggi, Areta, Kristina and Hanson (too bad Diana had to miss this one) at the newly opened Dachi in the old location of Campagnolo Roma.

Channeling out our inner-Mijune, we decided to sample the whole menu starting with the 3-Year Aged Cheddar & Buttermilk Biscuits with mutsu apple butter.  If we looked at this dish without the apple butter, these were really good cheddar biscuits regardless.  There was a firm crusty exterior that gave way to a soft sharp cheesy and fluffy interior.  I'm not sure that the apple butter itself added too much to the biscuit other than moisture and aromatics (not sweet enough to be noticed).  Now that was pleasant enough, but an actual butter would've been more rich and impactful.  Next, the Burrata with toasted seeds, radicchio and ajou pear was another pleasant starter featuring fresh and creamy cheese.  The intense nuttiness from the sunflower butter was the real star of the plate though.  I felt the crunchy and tangy radicchio was a good counter-balance to the sweetness of the pear.

One of my favourites was the Yarrow Meadows Duck Confit Croquettes with smoked raisin puree and pickled celery.  Consisting of shredded tender duck meat with little to no filler, the croquettes were meaty and rich.  On the outside, the thin coating was uniformly crunchy with little grease.  Tangy and sweet with a touch of smoke, the raisin puree paired beautifully with the robust duck meat.  Add in the crunch from the spicy and tangy celery, there was a wealth of impactful flavours.  As much as the Mushroom & Toasted Seed Perogies were appealing to look at, I felt they were just okay.   The dumpling skin was chewy and medium-thick with a good elasticity.  Mushroom filling was subtle but still appealing especially with the nuttiness from the seeds.  This was served atop a creamy celeriac puree and topped with a grilled king oyster mushroom.

Another table favourite was the Vancouver Island Manila Clams with crispy pork belly, roasted onion broth and egg milk.  Loved the plating with the broth prominently at the forefront with the clams and bread off to the side.   The star was definitely the earthy and sweet broth that was a bit like Pho.  Deeply flavoured garlickiness and purposefully salty.  Loved the side of bread as it helped soak up all of the tasty broth.  Next, we had the Ricotta Gnudi with kombu braised leek puree, toasted buckwheat and sweet onion.  Visually, this was appealing with beautifully seared gnudi and some green to add some colour.  I found the gnudi a bit dense and doughy but they were flavoured well.  The creamy puree had plenty of umaminess with the brightness of the leek.  To provide a textural contrast, the toasted buckwheat was crunchy and light.

From there, we went to something more substantial in the Country Fried Steelhead Trout with salted beets and horseradish gribiche.  Although the batter was not crispy in the least (in fact a bit soggy), the fish itself was moist and rare.  The meat was tender and properly seasoned.  Creamy, chunky, tart and full of onion essence, the gribiche was only a touch sharp from the horseradish.  This was an impactful compliment to the fish that wasn't just a plain tartare sauce.  As much as the tender and earthy beets were nice, we didn't think it went with this dish.  Although the Roasted Winter Squash Stew contained no meat, I actually enjoyed it very much.  This was robust and comforting sporting tender squash that was still firm and starchy.  The natural sugars were activated while complimented by the creamy and nutty cashew butter (and ricotta) that was also surprisingly spicy and vinegary.

Maybe because I love meat, the next 2 dishes were right up my alley beginning with the Braised Pork Cheeks that were fork tender and meaty.  They were full-bodied with natural pork flavour while exhibiting penetrated seasoning from the braise.  It was accompanied by sunchoke, creamy parsnip puree, roasted hazelnut and oloroso sherry.  Considering the root vegetables in the dish, there was plenty of earthiness to go around.  Loved really soft sunchokes.  Our last savoury item was the 24-hour Roasted Beef Chuck Flat with heirloom carrot, red miso and Swiss chard.  Each piece of beef was tender and meaty while fully seasoned.  The miso was earthy and full of fermented notes.  Sweet roasted carrots were impactful as a side providing a textural crunch as well.

Onto the desserts, I tried the Poached Granny Smith Apple with cider sabayon, spiced cake and ginger marscapone first.  The cake itself was spicy with hits of nutmeg while fluffy and purposefully sweet.  It was topped with a generous amount of creamy and airy sabayon.  There was plenty of zip and sharpness from the cider and ginger to lighten the dessert.  Of course the apples on the side were sweet pops of goodness.  The other dessert consisted of 69% Cocoa Chocolate Ganache with meringue, hazelnut streusel and pear vanilla puree.  This looked pretty sweet but it was mild with an appealing bitterness.  The ganache was rich and thick while the meringue was creamy and caramelized.  With a crunch, the nutty streusel added the needed textural contrast.  So as you can see from the pictures, Dachi was the perfect spot for us since they menu focuses on share plates.  We felt the food was pretty solid and service to match.

The Good:
- Solid food
- Attentive service
- Okay pricing

The Bad:
- Overuse of purees
- Desserts were good, but savoury dishes were better

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