Food and Drink: The Samuel J. Moore

A few weeks ago J and I headed to The Samuel J. Moore to celebrate my birthday. Occupying the ground floor of The Great Hall, at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt, The Samuel J. Moore is named for the 19th century businessman who built it. The Samuel J. Moore was widely talked about before it opened, and for good reason. With ex Brockton General chef Alexandra Feswick running the kitchen, The Samuel J Moore was virtually guaranteed a menu of locally focused classic items, each with an inventive twist. The exterior is plain, with only the smallest sign. Inside is a different story. The tin ceilings, black and white floor, marble bar and classic bistro tables and chairs give the room a refined feeling. Black and white photos line the walls, paying homage to the building's past - or maybe as a way to help the neighbourhood's hipsters feel at home.

Once J and I settled in we were greeted by our attentive server and given a cocktail menu to peruse and a bowl of spiced popcorn to snack on. J opted for a glass of Tempranillo from the well rounded wine list, while I ordered the Templar Sour, a creative spin on a standard whiskey sour. The cocktail was smooth, topped with a frosty egg white foam, and striking just the right balance between sweet and sour thanks to the addition of sour cherries. 

We briefly browsed the snack menu, but decided to go straight to our mains. Thanks to countless reviews praising it, J ordered the sirloin and bone marrow burger on a brioche bun, topped with Stilton. After his first bite he exclaimed that the hype was well deserved. The meat was perfectly seasoned and moist, thanks to the addition of bone marrow. The burger was served with crispy rosemary and salt tossed fries, and fennel catsup, an interesting and flavourful take on standard ketchup.

I ordered the special of the night - black cod and clams with Chorizo. The fish was served in a velouté sauce, a classic French stock based sauce thickened with a white roux. Our server mentioned that the sauce was also flavoured with pureed celery root, a definite twist on a classic. The cod sat on top of grilled rapini seasoned with red pepper flakes, the bitter taste of the rapini providing a contrast to the richness of the sauce.

Since we had skipped appetizers J and I decided to share the corn grits. Served in a cast iron skillet, the grits were creamy and smooth and topped with perfectly melted cheese. Despite the simple ingredients the dish was anything but. It was so decadent that we couldn't finish it, and had to skip dessert. 

The Samuel J. Moore is serving lunch, dinner, late night snacks and brunch on the weekends, an ambitious schedule that sees the restaurant stay open for almost a full 24 hours of service everyday. Which means you have no reason to skip it. 

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