Happy Father’s Day to all you Papas out there! Dad, here are some things I was grateful for during my childhood that you probably don’t know. Thanks for:
1) Putting my little feet between your knees and tying up my rollerblades SO tight that my skinny, unstable ankles never stood a chance of wobbling.
2) Always saying that whatever I cooked/baked was extraordinarily delicious, even if it sometimes tasted like stewed sweaty socks.
3) Allowing me to express myself by painting the bathroom “Mango Yellow” and “Grapefruit Pink.” I know how unlikely it is you would have chosen the same colours, and how hard you are now working to return that bathroom to its former glory.
While it’s great to say thanks with words, it’s even better to say thanks with steak, so last night I took my Dad to CHOP Steakhouse & Bar at the Sandman Signature. My Dad likes a good cut of beef, and CHOP – aging them a minimum of 28 days – take theirs seriously.
Steakhouses can be a little formulaic, but if done right their fares can be some of the greatest comfort foods. I didn’t expect CHOP to reinvent the wheel, I just hoped it would be well-oiled. And for the most part, it was.
CHOP is sleek, with clean lines and endless shades of black and brown – what I call ‘bachelor pad chic.’ We had a nice corner booth that allowed a peeping-tom view of the rest of the room. Our server, Bryant, was on his game.
We ordered the Lobster, Scallop, and Gorgonzola Dip ($12), the Wedge Salad ($5.75), the 6oz Filet Mignon ($29), the Braised Boneless Beef Ribs ($25), and the Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake ($8).
The dip came quickly, and was just what I’d hoped it would be. Rich and creamy with plenty of seafood and cheese, this is the kind of baked dip from my childhood (à la the ladies of Best of Bridge) that most certainly qualifies as comforting.
The wedge salad arrived next, composed of a thick slice of iceberg lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot, cucumber, and dressing on the side. It was retro, but it wasn’t reinvented. I wished we’d gone with the Caesar.
Then to our entrees. Though I’d have been happy enough with my ribs served on the bone, the meat itself was everything I love about a good braise; tender, flavourful, saucy, and falling apart at my fork. The sour cream wasabi mashed potatoes were killer. Wasabi instead of horseradish? I guess some wheel re-invention is possible after all!
My Dad’s filet mignon was nicely seared with a pure beef flavour, and came with a fully-loaded baked potato. The 6oz was a more than adequate size, especially considering everything else we had.
For dessert, we went with Bryant’s suggestion of the Fallen Soufflé Cake. Though it could have easily fed 3 people, my Dad and I polished it off. He is, after all, the parent responsible for my infamous sweet tooth. It was dense and rich – like a smooth brownie – with a layer of sweetened mascarpone and chocolate on top. Between this, the dip, the beef, and the glasses of Hob Nob Pinot Noir and Castillo de Monseran Grenache we drank, I’ve never been so happy to have just an elevator ride between my belly and my bed. The wines, by the way, were good. The Grenache paired nicely with the meat, and the cherry in the Pinot tasted great with dessert. Our bill came to $130.18 before tip.
CHOP is a place for the classics. Stick with their refined, traditional steakhouse fare enlivened with a few twists. And if you like chocolate, consider the fallen soufflé cake to be your Everest. Just remember to hire a sherpa to carry your bags, and perhaps you, back up to your room.
To my father, thanks for all you are and all you do. I love you!