FLAME + SMITH IS NOW SERVING LUNCH
Updated: Dec 15, 2018
We just got word that Flame + Smith has started serving lunch.
We have previously been to Flame + Smith for dinner and was completely blown away by the amazing food and service. So once we heard they were bringing lunch to the table, we were on it right away.
As someone from this area, and someone formally from the food industry, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of clout that they have. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, the location of the restaurant is in Prince Edward County, a notoriously seasonal community that often becomes slow and quiet, especially during the winter months. Secondly, they started serving lunch on December 12, approximately 2 weeks before Christmas, which is a busy time for shoppers, but not so much for restaurant goers. We spoke with Chef/Owner Hidde Zomer, and he explained to us why he decided to kick-off the new lunch service during a typically slow season. He said, quite frankly, “We wanted to do it because we should.” He went on to explain that there are people who live in PEC and the surrounding areas full time. This is their home and they still need to a place to come and eat as they should. This also gives Flame + Smith a chance to introduce themselves to the community more so than they would have during peak season, when restaurateurs in the area don’t often get to meet as many guests as they would like due to the much higher volume of guests per day.
We also spoke with Sarah Soetens, Owner/Bad Ass mom who, with passion in her eyes and baby on her hip, went on to tell us how much of the process in witch Flame + Smith came to be was very organic. We talked a lot about the menu and how many of the dishes come from the same one animal brought into the kitchen. “We are very proud of the product. When we cook, we make use of the whole animal,” to which I said “I love the nose to tail idea,” to which Chef Hidde responded with confidence, “It’s not about a trend, it’s standard practice that we know. We respect that animal and eating it is a privilege. Not one part on the animal is better than the other. It all should be used.“
When asked about the wood fire cooking technique which Flame + Smith is best known for, Chef Hidde went on to say “ We don't use fire because it’s a cool trend. We use it because it changes the way dishes taste." So let us put this in perspective to you readers. What Flame + Smith decided to do was to make their process very difficult compared to other standard kitchens, just to enhance the taste. They use wood as a fuel which burns at different rates depending on the type of wood used. Everything is sensory, meaning no thermostats or nobs. You need to understand how much skill and talent that takes in a commercial kitchen setting. You need to produce food that is just as perfect without the standard tools, but in the same timely manner with great consistency while working with a fuel that is, well, less than consistent.
To create an exciting lunch experience, we asked Chef Hidde to bring out a few dishes of his choosing. We've highlighted them all throughout this post.
During our visit, we also had the pleasure meeting, Evan, our server, who had the patience of a Saint while waiting for us to find a replacement to our lost debit cards (just our luck, that's a whole other story in itself). He was charming and funny and very knowledgeable about the food and drink served at Flame + Smith. While waiting for our food, we opted to go with a glass of Parsons’s Brewing Co.’s “Sunkissed” grape ale, which is their well-known and very unique wine and beer hybrid. It should be noted that Flame + Smith are the exclusive to the wine/beer combo on tap (yup, you read that right).
[ Side note: If you are looking to impress a beer nerd in your family this holiday, get them a bottle of the Sunkissed from Parsons. You will change lives! ]
From there, our meal began with the Burgundy Escargot, done very traditionally with garlic and butter along with house made bread for dipping.
Then came the Salad. Heritage greens with hemp hearts, dried cranberries, goat cheese and Parmesan croutons, finished with a simple and deliciously light vinaigrette. I know what you are thinking, meh, right? Wrong! The greens were garden fresh, the hemp hearts gave it texture and a nutty note. Croutons had indeed seen some parm action and the salt was well balanced with the seasoning of the one of the best dressings I have had the pleasure of having. Combine all of that with the sweet dried cranberries and you have pure bliss in the form of a salad. Over all this salad would please any veggie prince/princess or carnivore out there.
Next up was the fried Calamari, served with a squid ink aioli. I am going to let you all in on a deep secret. I dread when people order this stuff for a shared app. It tends to not have the freshest scent and the texture is usually similar to dead fried elastic bands. This time I was very impressed because if anything was going to be done right, it was going to be done by Flame + Smith. The process I was told by Evan our server, was simple. The squid was marinaded in butter milk. Why is that important? Well butter milk is acidic. The acid breaks down the often difficult protein, making it tender in theory. Well, let me tell you, it was freaking melt in your mouth calamari! Combined with the process of not over frying the morsels in a perfect salt and pepper dredge. It is no longer theory, but fact! The sauce was the perfect pairing for the calamari and 100x better than the ill-matched sauces that are typically served with calamari in restaurants.
The final dish we had was The Cubano Sandwich. At this point I was finding myself questioning how I got so lucky to eat here. You know the saying, " you can't put lipstick on a pig,"? Well yes, yes you can. This pig had a full face of Sephora makeup on. The traditional pork and ham sandwich, which originated from Cuba, also includes cheese, mustard and pickle, which had been elevated with technique and elegance from the Flame + Smith kitchen. The bread, the pork, the ham and chicharrons had all been made in house with the love and care we knew so well by now. Goosebumps people... I had freaking goosebumps.
No mas por favor! Nope, there was mas (more). Smashed fried potatoes on the side of the Cubano, in fact. Who cares, just spuds right? They are just a side, how good can they be? Well, have you ever have the best fries in the world? Have you ever had the best mashed potatoes in the world? Well picture both of those things happening AT THE SAME FREAKING TIME! Like come on! They were little fried sexy pillows of deliciousness that have forever ruined me because I will compare all things fried to this potato dish from now on.
To sum up our experience, we had no preconceived notions about what was about to go down at this lunch. Just because you have an excellent dinner experience, it does not always mean the lunch service will also be just as good. We are happy to say that this is not the case at Flame + Smith. They continue to push themselves for the better. They do not care about the clout or the hype. They do it for the challenge and self respect that they not only have for themselves, but for area as a whole. There are only a handful of places in the area that embody what the area is and represents. That is pride, community and passion. I going to say something that I've said since the first time we dined at Flame+Smith. 2019 is going to be a big year for them and I would not be surprised if we see them in the top 10 of Air Canada: Canada's Best New Restaurants list. We will be keeping an eye on their journey and look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Visit Flame + Smith's website for menu and more details.