To kick off October, I went for dinner at Three Boars Eatery to catch up with my old classmate Tina. She had recently seen my posts and wanted to eat somewhere new. Seeing that we both haven’t tried the hyped tapas place near our dear old university, Tina chose this as the place to eat.
I’ve walked past the restaurant a few times on my way to Whyte Avenue and in all honesty, would overlook the small buildng if it weren’t for their almost always packed patio. That chilly day though, their patio was barren and even a person with experience of the university’s surrounding areas (i.e. Tina), can bypass the place a couple of times while simultaneously look for parking.
Inside, the restaurant is even smaller than I imagined! The downstairs had room for a cramped seating of 6 – 8 people, a small bar, and a cute chalkboard display. A wood paneled interior gave a nice cozy atmosphere and the smell of butter from the kitchen made my stomach growl. I arrived a bit earlier than Tina and was quickly greeted by our waiter. Upstairs was the dining area which between the two levels, the staff there must get quite the workout.
I was led upstairs to my reserved table and thank God that I called in advance. I could see why reservations were recommended, seating at 5, 7, and 9pm. The upstairs dining area could fit around 24 – 28 people and even then you were quite close to your fellow eaters. Tina arrived shortly and we started to look at the menu. Designed to be shared, the dishes were small and our server recommended 4 to 5 plates to start.
Our first plate was the “Devils on Horseback”, cheese stuffed dates wrapped in smoked bacon. The dish tasted well balanced, between the sweet date and creamy cheese with the salty, crispy bacon. I enjoyed this a lot and thought they were very unique flavors. It was one of the more popular dishes and nearly every table had an order of this as the night went on.
Next came our rabbit food dish, carrots – both roasted and served raw with roasted beets, almond emulsion, and crispy chevre (goat cheese). I really liked the roasted carrots and the crispy goat cheese balls but I thought the dressing on the salad was a bit odd. Very different taste but I found it missing something. This was my least favorite dish out of all.
New Hampshire scallops, with celeriac puree, baby beets, roasted tomatoes, pickled Beech mushrooms, and Hijiki seaweed served on Togarashi puffed quinoa quickly followed. The description was so complex that I really paid attention to this dish. The scallops were nicely seared and the vegetables were a great addition. I really appreciated the earthy mushrooms! I was a little confused by the quinoa. I can honestly say I don’t eat a lot of quinoa but I thought it seemed undercooked. At one point, I thought they were little popcorn bits! I could barely taste the Togarashi, a Japanese spice mixture you can normally find in ramen houses, but perhaps the Asian influence was meant to be subtle. Overall, I liked the dish and this one was Tina’s favorite.
Our last tapas was the chanterelle and barley stuffed quail with bacon braised cabbage, beer mustard beurre blanc and lovage. This was my favorite dish, by far, and the quail was very moist. Stuffing it with chanterelle mushrooms and barley was absolutely genius and made the dish very filling. At one point, I overheard the table next to us ask the server, “Is that the quail? Can we get the quail too?” Trust me, it’s worth it.
For dessert, there was only one option: the carrot cake with molasses and sour cream icing and peach jelly. The cake was very dense, although moist. For a dessert, I thought it was very light in flavor and not too sweet. The peach jelly was an interesting addition, reminding me of the the jellies you would find in a Taiwanese bubble tea drink. It was a pleasant way to end the meal.
With frequent menu changes, I have no doubt I will be back soon to try more items. I’m a little on the fence as to whether I like it or love it. With such rave reviews, I expected bolder flavors. Joe was very disappointed that I went without him, so I think this review will need a part 2. The service was excellent and our glasses of water were never empty. Make sure you book in advance!