Just the other day a message flew across my computer screen asking if I’d like to meet for dinner at a new steakhouse in Milton, Ontario. The invite was from a friend of the restaurant’s owner/chef and an acquaintance of mine on Twitter. He was in search of an unbiased opinion of both the food and wine at the recently opened restaurant to which I happily accepted the invitation.
Milton is a rapidly growing community located just northwest of Oakville at the base of the picturesque Niagara Escarpment. With the exception of the buildings that typically line the edges of the 401 along this stretch of highway, one could easily pass by the town and never realized that 85 000 people live just beyond the spans of mature trees.
The Marquee Steakhouse and Piano Lounge is a new and welcome addition to the list of local dining destinations in Milton. I called up the address on Google Maps for a quick visual reference of the area only to find an out of date picture of a shabby looking Chinese food establishment which apparently called this location home only a few months ago. But as I made the turn into the parking lot of the small strip-plaza, the clutter and uncouth facade of the once otherwise tactless Asian takeout joint had reassuringly vanished, replaced by an iron-fenced patio, bistro tables, and variety of well cared for planter boxes. If first impressions truly do leave a lasting memory, the obvious sense of passion and refined taste that now occupies 500 Steeles Ave. was a welcome sight.
After a few quick introductions at the bar and a glass of iced tea, we sat down to a perfectly chilled flute of Presecco and appetizers in the form of Brie & Walnut Wellington followed by Spicy Crab Fritters – both exceptionally good. Owner/Chef Serdjo Lakich, a graduate of the George Brown Culinary Institute, is the driving force behind this establishment while his lovely wife Diana (who also coordinates the catering side of the business) gracefully circulates through the tables stopping briefly to chat.
Entrée choices explore a wide range of dishes including a selection of steak, pasta, and fish options. My choice this evening was the 6oz Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Crispy Shallots, Port Reduction, and Mashed Potato accompanied by sides of Sautéed Mushrooms and Grilled Shrimp with Lemon & Herb Butter. I am extremely fussy in terms of taste and presentation, so when I say that I can find no fault with the food at Marquee, it simply reiterates the degree of care that goes into the selection of ingredients, preparation, and presentation of each dish. It was a delicious feast of the senses in every respect.
If I must express only one concern (and Chef Serdjo and I discussed this issue in detail after hours), it is with the selection of wine labels available at the Marquee Steakhouse. Respecting the fact that they have just opened their doors, I suggest with a degree of understanding that many top steakhouses in the city also boast a collection of high-end labels to pair with their menus. My background arguably dictates a somewhat biased opinion on the subject, but with the standard of quality as high as the Marquee offers, many patrons will soon expect the wine selection and service to reflect that same degree of perfection. The current wine list is certainly adequate, but what I gather from my dining experience and discussion with the staff is that adequacy is not a viable option at this fine establishment. Another consideration is to pursue an extension on the liquor license and offer a corkage service so that patrons might bring along a special bottle of their own. Serving temperature is also a critical element and therefore, I’d really like to see a climate controlled wine storage unit of some description to house a selection of better labels and licensee products.
I highly recommend that you make the short trek to the Marquee Steakhouse and Piano Lounge for a culinary extravaganza of flavour. Call ahead to make a reservation, and while you have them on the phone, be sure to ask about the featured musician that week.
Reservations are available at (289) 878-5717
Website at www.marqueesteakhouse.com
Cost of dinner per person: $35-45 + applicable taxes, gratuity and alcohol
Tags: restaurant review