Gastown—(April 29, 2015) The acclaimed, award-winning, and previously controversial PiDGiN restaurant last month welcomed new Executive Chef Shin Suzuki into the fold. Last week, over a social dining and tasting experience, they showcased their freshly revamped and refined menu full of East meets West flavours.
The Toronto raised Suzuki brought his Parisian culinary training along with Sino-Japanese influences (gathered from his family background and refined while working in kitchens all over Asia) to craft a new but familiar array of dishes.
Pidgin offers a good mix of small plates and meaty entrées best enjoyed shared or family style in a sort of Asian fusion smörgåsbord. For starters, the spring salmon (with apple pistachio purée, ikura, and mustard tosazu) was dynamite. Its flavouring brought out and heightened all of the fish's natural tastes and then some.
The well-cooked bavette steak (with miso mustard and wakame bok choy compote) was absolutely delicious and filling. Another indulgent dish was the lamb belly (with ume-rosemary vinaigrette and marinated eggplant) served messy and dripping in fatty tenderness.
Suzuki has kept a handful of Pidgin's signature dishes (including the shishito peppers, fried chicken wings, and pork belly rice bowl) while refining and tweaking a few others. I recommend the smoked boulevardier, monkfish liver, and raw scallops. The smaller plates are as satisfyingly edible as they are well presented.
Finally, the table fawned over the duck (with spiced hazelnut, hibiscus glaze, and goat cheese) and its delectable marinate. It was a highlight among all the rich, substantial mains.
Student socialites Emma Choo and Nicole Wong pouring over Pidgin's drink menu packed with both unique creations and classic cocktails. I suggest ordering a negroni (or alternatively, one of their many Japanese sakes and whiskies).
Pidgin continues to innovate its global menu firmly placed at the intersection of the local dining scene. The eatery combines diverse culinary influences together splendidly in a casual meets fine dining experience now with Suzuki at the helm and behind the kitchen.
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