As an early Christmas present to each other, my husband and I decided to visit Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine in the heart of Port Dalhousie. **
Treadwell is well known across Niagara and most of southern Ontario if not further. Many people from the Greater Toronto Area flock to the restaurant every day of the week to enjoy the culinary creations of Chef Stephen Treadwell and the wine pairings of Sommelier son James; the pair own the restaurant.
What makes Treadwell truly unique is their commitment to sourcing local and fresh ingredients.
Treadwell partners with local farms to grow and raise a custom menu. Some of Treadwell’s trusted partners are Cumbrae Farms, Monteforte Dairy, Ontario Harvest, Upper Canada Cheese Company, and Whitty Farms (among others). I also hear that in the summer the restaurant’s herb garden is right out the front doors and it is not uncommon to see the kitchen back and forth for fresh herbs and garnish.
On James’ Wine List you will find the expected reds from Burgundy and other far-off places like New Zealand and Chile. But, most widespread on the menu are Niagara wines. Naturally, James has embraced one of the local luxuries of living in Niagara by showcasing some of our very own. Treadwell also carries many artisan and hard-to-find brews like Dave’s favourite – St-Ambroise – usually only found in Quebec.
The restaurant has a very relaxed and soothing atmosphere and is made up of the Snob winebar in the front and the dining room in the back. There is also a lounge with couches and chairs in the front where one might sit down and enjoy a drink if waiting for a table and not wanting to sit at the bar. The wooden beams, dimmed lights, silvery-blue walls and Christmas decor set the scene for what was a romantically delicious night.
We were warmly welcomed by James who started off our culinary adventure with a glass of unreleased 2007 Catharine Cuvee Carte Blanche from Henry of Pelham. It was quite a treat; delicious and the perfect pairing for our amuse bouche and starters. I am grateful to James for the sparkling itself and my new-found knowledge that sparkling is a great way to start a meal.
I found the Treadwell menu to be innovative and flavourful, which made choosing an appetizer, main and dessert challenging. I enjoyed the adventure of choosing and then eating combinations of flavours that I have not tasted before. I came to appreciate the creative and technical talent behind being able to put together a menu like this – compliments to the chef! And, to think that the Treadwell menu changes with the seasons is also exciting. Never a dull moment in that kitchen I am sure.
Here is what we ordered – I have also indicated what wine/spirits we enjoyed.
Salmon Seviche Tartar
Baco Noir Blueberry Balsamic with Poppyseed Bread
** Henry of Pelham (Niagara) – Cuvee Catharine Vintage 2007 Carte Blanche [Sparkling Wine]**
Housemade Potato Gnocchi with Winter Truffle, Cauliflower, Buttered Lobster Knuckles and Serrano Chili Oil
Turnip Soup with Smoked Whitefish and a Poached “Bertha’s Bounty” Free Range Egg
Compliments of the Chef
Seared East Coast Scallops with Mustard Lemon Vinaigrette, Green Apple and Red Cabbage Slaw
House Smoked Quebec Muskovy Duck Breast with Seared Fois Gras, Duck Fat Fried Cabbage, Potato Rosti, Sherry Vinegar Jus
Braised “Cumbrae Farms” Lamb Shank with Truffled Cauliflower Puree, Brussel Sprouts, Smoked Bacon, Truffle Jus
** Pearl Morissette (Niagara) – Cuvee Madeline 2010 Cabernet Franc **
** McAusland Brewing (Quebec) – St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout **
Bailey’s Creme Brulee with Candied Ginger Ice Cream
Pecan Butter Tart with Egg Nog Ice Cream
** Cappuccino **
During the meal we looked to James for wine pairings to suit our selections and I dare say that the Cab Franc he brought over for my smoked duck was superb. Not to worry if James isn’t around on the day you happen to head to Treadwell – there are always sommelier’s on hand to offer their expertise.
If you have not had the opportunity to experience Treadwell, I would suggest that you plan a trip. Enjoy a little nosh at the bar, catch up with a friend over some lunch or gaze deeply into a lovers’ eyes over dinner. Just be sure to invite me!
** Since writing this piece, Treadwell relocated to a new location in the heart of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake **