When people rave about a dish, often they comment about taste. There was a perfect pitch with regard to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness or umami – or a combination of those. Texture, it seems, is less talked about – unless it’s of the creamy, comforting sort that takes one back to childhood and the happiness that comes from bowlfuls of mac-and-cheese or slices of chocolate cake with inch-thick icing.
Yet, before took a single bite of the house-smoked salmon at Canoe, my brain registered texture when I stared at the elegant composition set before me. Generous slices of house-cured salmon sat atop crispy potato cakes – fritter-like delights made all the more crispy having been rolled in a tangle of shallots before being fried. Tucked between the beautifully pink fish and that bumpy bed of potatoes was a swathe of creamy goat cheese. Uniting it all was light, airy creme fraiche, briny capers and herbaceous dill stirred in just so, and a splash of green-tinged basil-infused olive oil.
It’s a superlative dish for its color and interplay of flavors, but every bite offers a combination of textures that surprise the senses: The crunchy potato pancakes, the velvety goat cheese, the tender salmon, the liquid-y crème fraiche and olive oil. When I gave complements to the kitchen on a fine appetizer, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out it is one of Canoe’s signature dishes. From now on, I’m starting every meal at Canoe with an order of salmon.
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