Sherman's Food Adventures: The Red Accordion

The Red Accordion

Keeping up with all of the new restaurant openings can be very difficult, especially with some opening to little fanfare.  Add in the plethora of Asian restaurants that quietly open and close as well as changing names, this makes the exercise extra confusing.  Anyways, to get to the point, I had no clue that The Red Accordion had opened up shop since February in the old location of Forkhill Bistro (and before that, The Fat Badger and Le Gavroche).  If it weren't for the Burger Challenge, it would've taken me awhile to realize this and hence, Nancy and I wouldn't have been there for a meal (in addition to sampling the burger).

Prior to the burger, we had the "Play With Fire" Shishito Peppers with Spanish chorizo, onions, garlic, maldon salt and California olive oil.  Much like the Dorito's Roulette, I hit the jackpot with the first pepper as it was pretty hot, but at the same time, super flavourful and layered with flavours.  Loved the charring as there was an aromatic smokiness to go with the chorizo and activated onions and garlic.  Such a simple plate while at the same time addictive and great with a beverage.   Without any delay, we got right to the TRA Burger as we still had an appetite.  This consisted of Brandt Lake Waygu ground chuck, Mozza & jalapeño Havarti cheese, sun-dried tomato & roasted garlic aioli, arugula, crispy pancetta, beefsteak tomato, pickled red onion & home made bun and served with kennebec fries.  We added an egg for good measure and this burger required many napkins.  I found the burger patty to be very moist and meaty with lots of natural beef flavour.  There was an appealing combination of spice, aromatics and tang as well.  I did wish the bun would've been a bit softer since things slid out as a result.

Unlike the menu description, the featured Burrata was not accompanied by tomatoes.  Rather, we found a trio of foraged mushrooms within a smoked mushroom broth where the creamy burrata was sitting on top.  It was further amped by shaved black truffle and greens.  Served on the side was grilled toast baguette.  Normally, I much prefer some form of acidity with burrata, but this was still plenty tasty with lots of umami and aromatics.  The mushrooms were buttery and well-seasoned while the broth was quite mild.  I would've preferred a bit less broth as the whole dish became wet including the cheese.  Despite this, the dish was still quite delicious and the cheese went well with the crunchy charred bread.  Another daily feature was the Tempura Mexican Prawns which were absolutely humongous.   Coated with panko, it tasted like classic Chinese prawn toast.  In turn this went well with the sweet nuoc cham sauce underneath. Loved how the prawns were propped up with fried egg whites, which prevented them from getting soaked.

Other than the burger, our favourite dish of the meal was the Steamed Mussels and Fried Dough.  Featuring large honey mussels, they were cooked to perfection being plump and delicate.  They were naturally sweet and of course had the classic taste of the sea.  Sitting in an Asian-inspired broth consisting of lemongrass, ginger, tumeric, bok choy, shitake mushrooms, smoked paprika oil, tomato & coconut milk, it was super aromatic and plenty tasty for the fried bread to soak it all up.  About that fried bread, it was akin to bannock but with elements of Indian naan (pleasing elasticity and fluffiness).  It was excellent eaten on its own even without the broth.  Another on point dish was the Haida Gwai Humboldt Squid with lemon aioli, smoked salt and chimichurri.  Lightly coated, the squid was marginally crispy on the outside while plenty tender on the inside.  There was still a pleasing chewiness though.  The dish wasn't aggressively seasoned, but when all of the elements were combined, we found a bright creaminess that had some acidity.

From that, we ended off heavy with the Lobster "it's the claw" Gnocchi with lobster bisque, fennel, spicy rose, fresh herbs, potato gnocchi and claw meat.  This was super rich and it indeed tasted like a bisque with lobster essence, cream and booze.  I would say that for one person to finish this, it would be too heavy so it is best to be shared.  The gnocchi were relatively firm with a soft interior.  There was no shortage of lobster meat which was on point with a bounce and natural sweetness.  For dessert, we ended up trying the Chocolate Budino with dark chocolate, olive oil, maldon salt and orange essence pound cake.  The budino was super rich, yet not heavy at the same time.  Mildly sweet accented by the natural bitterness of the dark chocolate, the budino was complimented nicely by the semi-soft toasted slices of pound cake.  When we were done, Nancy and I exclaimed that The Red Accordion is a little gem that really needs more exposure.  Food is on point and the service is genuine. 

*The burger and one beverage were complimentary*

The Good:
- Menu is a bit all over the place, but somehow it works
- On point execution
- Genuinely nice people

The Bad:
- Some of the seating looks cool, but really isn't that comfortable
- Food is on the heavier side, so order accordingly

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