Dining delight by Lynn Ogryzlo
One word is all that’s needed to describe the new AG restaurant in the Sterling Inn & Spa. It has the definite feel of a luxury hotel with the comfort of a quaint inn.
The Sterling Inn & Spa sits just behind Victoria Street, the stretch from Clifton Hill to Ferry St. It’s in an old building which has been renovated and it boasts its original incarnation as a dairy with the newly renovated giant three-storey milk bottle that now serves as the inn’s reception area.
Once inside, you already know you’re somewhere different. Cool colours, soothing music and an atmosphere that seems to sweep your troubles away.
Niagara-trained Chef Cory Linkson served a sensational dinner which exceeded anything we could have been prepared for. We were a group of 10 writers and company and we were the guests of the inn. It was the chef’s opportunity to show off and he most certainly rose to the occasion. Here is a mouth-watering peek of the evening’s offerings.
Seared sea scallop on a bed of couscous and cured salmon salad, topped off with Pelee Island caviar (hey, this is local caviar!) and lemon thyme beurre blanc. Bottles of Peninsula Ridge Voigne and a Coyotes Run Red Paw (Pinot Noir) were shared — perfect!
The next course was a sharing course. That is, my husband started with a beetroot cured salmon graviax and it looked lovely with its edges stained darker red by the beets. It was accompanied by a mustard tartare, salade nicoise and boiled quail eggs while I had the duck confit and Comfort Cream risotto with sweet potato and chanterelle fricassee. Halfway through the dishes, we traded so we all had a chance to taste each dish.
It was a great way to try Linkson’s cuisine, which was superb. Clean flavours, elegant textures, nothing cloying or heavy, just elegance that teased the palate and was light on the stomach. The most exciting course was the truffled Jerusalem artichoke veloute with fire roasted peppers and hot smoked trout. We each had our own bowl, which I swear some of the guests licked clean. It was so savoury and graceful, poised and cultured in every mouthful.
While the soup was served, bottles of Mike Weir Pinot Gris, Tawse Echo and Stoney Ridge Charlotte’s Chardonnay were poured in our ever growing collection of beautiful wine glasses. The wine list at AG is an astonishing collection of Niagara’s best and we sampled plenty of them.
After the soup came the main entr?e, another sharing course. This time my husband and I cut our dinners in half. It wasn’t an ideal method to getting half but it was a start. I was served the Arctic char with potato horseradish crust with buttered spaghetti squash and cauliflower veloute and topped with deep fried leeks. Jon had the toasted almond and brie crusted beef tenderloin with wilted lemon garlic greens, herbed rosti and foie gras red currant jus. Wow!