By MAGGIE M, Editor, http://thewedge.LIVE
My experience at Bistro 54, Perth, occurred before opening hours; so, my camera, lights and questions did not interfere with the smooth machine that is Bistro 54. The top cog is Chef Dave Andoff. (He does not refer to himself as ‘Chef’; but, a Chef he is.)
At midday, the kitchen begins to buzz with preparations for dinner. Pasta is made from fresh ingredients on the lower level; meats and fish are cleaned, prepared. Desserts begin to take shape. There is no moment to stop as guests are expected in a few hours. Every dish is readied from fresh ingredients, hours beforehand.
My meal was also in preparation. A glass of Frescati Superiore, a crisp white Italian wine, a delicious blend from several varieties including Malfasia originated from Lazio, was selected to accompany the dishes on their way. I highly recommend this selection.
I drilled Andoff with questions through the kitchen window, a theatre of sorts. Then, my meal arrived. Instantly, I was lost to the pleasures of the palate. I do not remember such diverse and rich flavors in a plate of pasta.
I was served radiatore-shaped pasta tossed in fresh arugula, lemon, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and a traditional linguine pomodoro, both topped with heaps of freshly-grated parmesan reggiano, all infused with fragrant olive oil. My taste buds danced on consuming the radiatore dish; in fact, I am salivating as I write (a Pavlovian response).
I was impressed by the detail in food preparation especially the carpaccio. Andoff took care to wear gloves while tenderizing chicken breasts, covered to avoid splatter. Safety and cleanliness was evidently so quotidien, it was unconscious. I also noted the care Andoff applied to milk-fed veal loin, trimming the smallest pieces of fat.
It is regretful that customers who won’t experience Chef Andoff, as he is too busy cooking for up to 34 at once with two sous-chefs and other hands-on-deck. The man can join you on almost any topic with original thought. Car repair, accounting, Italy, politics, tree nuts, film editing–nothing is off the table. His mind is like the L.A. exchange, going in all directions.
Andoff also exhibits dry, very dry, wit. “You know about the ten feet? You always know when Torontonians are here. They walk ten feet into the restaurant and say, “We’re from Toronto!” This earned him many guffaws from this writer.
The wedge.LIVE recommends Bistro 54. 5 STARS
Price category for two : $75-100 (without wine)
BISTRO 54, 54 Foster Street, Perth, Ontario 613.267.5454 Website: http://Bistro54.ca