Agricola Street Brasserie
This was attempt #2 on getting a reservation for Agricola Street Brasserie, aptly named for the street on which it resides. Not only that, but the restaurant is named after the pen-name of John Young, who wrote letters to newspapers from 1818-1822 calling for agricultural self-reliance in Nova Scotia. His pen-name was “Agricola” which is Latin for “farmer”, and Agricola Street was named after him in 1874. Pretty cool, huh?
The interior of the restaurant surpassed my expectations. It was warm and cozy, both rustic and classy, with prompt and adept service. I was surprised to hear 90’s alternative rock playing, like Weezer and Radiohead. It was not blaringly loud and obnoxious, but pleasantly charming and atmospheric. If you walk to the back of the restaurant, you’ll see the open kitchen, complete with busy cooks and the stern-faced expediter.
I asked our server what my non-alcoholic options were, and she suggested that the bartender could just whip up a clever cocktail if I wanted. I appreciated that. After doing a 30 day alcohol-free tribulation, I have discovered that non-drinkers are second class citizens! You get pop or water, basically. So it was nice to have the bartender make something special for me – even if it was a jazzed up Shirley Temple (with a slice of pear, no less!)
I was also very impressed that oysters were $2 – a great price! Only Black Points were available, but these were shucked most expertly and they slid effortlessly in my mouth. I usually just dress my oysters with a touch of lemon, but I decided to try the champagne mignonette and it was incredible. The lemon was wrapped in cheesecloth to prevent lemon seeds from descending into the delicate oysters. How clever!
Our meals were also excellent. My Dad said the Arctic Char was one of the best meals he’s had in a while, even though I think he’s been spoiled lately with excellent selections from Cafe Chianti and McKelvies.
I had the scallops, which were served on a celeriac puree. To the side was a hefty serving of kale with generous chunks of bacon. There was also a little plop of finely cut kimchi. I’m not enough of a gourmand to know if the kimchi complimented the other, less bold, flavours of the dish, but for what it’s worth it was delicious. I love kimchi!
Our server told us that we may want to order a side-dish if we wanted to round out our meals. I took this as meaning that the meals are skimpy, and that sides must be ordered if you intend to fill up. I also took this as an up-sell. We ordered one side to share – the cauliflower, which was cooked with curry, potato, and chickpeas. One side was definitely enough for two of us, and our main courses weren’t as skimpy as I had imagined. So yeah, it was a bit of an up-sell. But we both really enjoyed the additional cauliflower dish, so no regrets!
I’m not a big dessert eater, but it was nice to have a little $4 option – truffles and macarons (2 of each). It was the perfect little bite to end this engaging and flavourful meal.
We left Agricola Street Brasserie reluctantly, because it is the kind of place where you just want to sit and be happy. We were both very impressed with the food, service and atmosphere. My Dad even remarked that it may become a family go-to – which means a lot coming from a guy who is still lamenting the loss of Jane’s on the Common. We’ll have to return soon, and bring Mother next time!