Typically you would think that an accountant would know better than to open a restaurant. But when an accountant grows up in a home with parents who are very accomplished chefs, it sort of becomes a foregone conclusion that they will all end up in the kitchen of the family restaurant.
That is sort of what happened with Monica, the chef behind Argo At Night, the Thursday and Friday evening opening of what most people know as the Argo Cafe.
Chef Monica, an accountant by day, looks at what is available and then creates a daily menu based on the supplies her parents hand over to her Thursday and Friday afternoons. Most evenings there are inspired and unique specials.
This evening there was sirloin steak and lobster, pork tenderloin with bacon wrapped scallops, Louisiana seafood pasta and more (I know you can see the picture of the menu).
When you walk in the door of the Argo café, you will feel like you are walking into a 1940s era diner. Booths with tables covered in arborite and seats with vinyl fabric on them all harken back to the golden age of diners.
This place looks like the set of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and I kept expecting to see Guy Fieri pop up in the kitchen. While Guy Fieri didn’t show up to do his clown act in the kitchen, John Catucci of You Gotta Eat Here has visited the Argo Cafe.
Tonight I started with a couple duck spring rolls. Each of the small spring rolls had a serious amount of duck inside it!
Very crispy and tasty and not greasy whatsoever. The duck tasted so good I didn’t even bother dipping them in the included apricot sauce that came with the rolls.
Next was a small cup of fish chowder that was included with my main course. Not outstanding, but good. One thing I really liked about it was that it was not overly thickened.
For my main course I chose the sirloin steak and lobster. The steak was served with a peppercorn sauce and had a generous portion of frites, a couple pieces of broccoli and carrots. Yep, steak and lobster for $19.95!
The steak was very flavourful and didn’t need a even shake of salt. Tender meat with a nice seared crust. I like my steak cooked on the rare side of medium rare and this one was cooked just a shade past medium rare. It was still a beautiful and very flavourful little steak which I enjoyed immensely.
The small lobster was very falvourful. It had a strong flavour of lobster that pleased my taste buds and didn’t need to be dunked in the standard side of butter.
The frites were also a hit. They are cut in house with a mandolin and then double fried making for wonderful thin fries with a nice crisp mouth feel.
Knowing that I had to do so for my readers, I sampled two of their desserts. The first was a Nanaimo Bar. Good stuff.
Then the wonder-dessert – a creme caramel with a lovely and delicate caramelized sugar syrup poured over top. The perfect dessert to follow a steak and lobster dinner.
I am really surprised that the Argo At Night is not packed for every dinner service. It really reminds me of other hipster havens like the Red Wagon Cafe on East Hastings and once the hipsters discover this place, you can forget about getting a table.
For now, the regulars are able to walk in and be greeted by name and made to feel very welcome. The Argo Cafe is a little gem serving up very creative and thoughtful dishes.
Highly recommended and I will definitely return!
The Argo Cafe is located in a very non-descript building at 1836 Ontario Street, just across from the Olympic Village.