Friday, 14 February 2014

North 48 - modern diner, no hat required

North 48 Restaurant is the recently opened reinvention of The Black Hat Bistro. Tucked away at the corner of Langley and Broughton - just a block off Government - it's open six days a week for dinner and four days for lunches.

North 48 at Langley & Broughton

The space is still decorated in dark warm tones and the leather chairs and thick wooden tables have been joined by a few banquettes in the middle of the room that break up the space nicely. There's a well stocked bar at the back…

...complete with a wine preservation unit - allowing North 48 to offer several varieties of tasty vino by the glass.

While the Black Hat was a little more upscale on their menu offerings, North 48 spans a wider, more casual range…classics, with a twist. Think bangers and mash (chicken & foi gras sausage), meatloaf (with gruyere cheese, basil & apple) and pork ribs (smoked, served with mac & cheese).

We were dining here on a Sunday - when several "7" (7th day?) specials are available - including most appetizers for $7 and all 5oz. glasses of wine for $7. With the wide selection of wines, this is quite a deal for some of North 48's offerings. A great selection and a great deal? We were sold - and the wines went very nicely with the complementary little bags of house made truffled potato chips put on the tables.

After sipping and narrowing down the tasty sounding menu, our foursome settled on two appetizers (both from the $7 menu) and four mains.  Up first was the crispy fried pork and beet salad.

Crispy pork bites
Beet salad with grilled Oka cheese
Both appetizers were excellent. The crispy pork was essentially fried pork belly - a nice amount of crispness (without shredding your mouth) and salty-smoky taste (without being overly so)…and no bone to have to gnaw around. The beet salad was also great - refreshing with the sliced beets & peppery arugula, tangy with the pickled onions and a creamy-salty with the fried Oka cheese. A great combination.

And then the main courses hit the table - steak frites, chicken & waffles, enchiladas and bangers and mash.
Steak frites.
Chicken & waffles (corn, cheddar & gr. onion)

The steak was excellent - a nicely seasoned and seared strip loin, served perfectly at the requested medium. The fries were hot, crispy and served with mayo for dipping. The chicken and waffles was a fun dinner-take on the Southern breakfast staple. The moist chicken (two pieces!) had a nice, thin, crispy coating and the corn-cheddar-green onion waffles were a great savoury partner. And to add a teensy bit of zing, it was drizzled with chili maple syrup.

Sweet potato enchiladas
Bangers (chicken & foi gras) & mash (cauli, potato & cheese)

The enchiladas were also great - filled with roasted sweet potatoes, pickled red onions and oaxaca (the latter adding great tart & salty notes). They were served with a cute little pot of black bean mole stew. The grand-slam (four runs scored, not Denny's) was completed with the bangers and mash. The chicken and foi gras sausages were delicious and flavouful (and huge!). Served with a rich gravy and set atop a cauliflower, potato and cheese mash (this side was creamy & cheesy).

We did leave room for a little dessert sharing - a deconstructed lemon pie and a housemade version of a krispie kreme doughnut.

Deconstructed lemon meringue pie
Krispie kreme chocolate doughnut & PB ice cream

The pie was a different take on lemon meringue - with the fluffy, sweet, broiled meringue sitting adjacent the tart lemon curd base. It was good to alternate bites between the two. The kripie kreme donut (house-made, not imported from Uncle Sam) changes flavour daily - tonight's was a chocolate doughnut with peanut butter ice cream. The dessert was good for sharing as the doughnut was quite large and filling (and the ice cream wasn't too over-powering, just a nice subtle PB flavour).

We enjoyed the Black Hat when it was around, but will admit to not getting there as often as we should have. We REALLY enjoyed North 48 - mostly for the more relaxed menu. I'm not sure if it's larger or smaller than it's predecessor, but it feels wider - offering, it seems, something for everyone - vegetarian, big eater, adventurous gourmand, wine-lover, or Mr/Mrs meat & potatoes.

We'll file our black hat away and be coming back for more...

North 48 Restaurant
1005 Langley St (at Broughton)
Dinner - Tuesday-Sunday 5pm-10pm
Lunch - Tuesday-Friday 11:30-2pm

twitter: @North_48
Facebook: north FORTY-EIGHT

North 48 on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. This is my favourite place to eat in Victoria. Excellent review!