If humankind never learned to play with its food, it would never have learned to play with its ingredients, and the world would be one bereft bowl of gruel. Taste the fruits of culinary creativity with today's Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of gourmet fare and drinks at The Prune in Stratford, Ontario. The Prune is open seasonally for the warmer months through October 15.
With 30 years jump-starting palates, The Prune's chef Bryan Steele dishes up modern French cuisine from a blend of international and locally grown culinary sources. Diners start by mining an à la carte menu for precious appetizer deposits, such as terrine of smoked trout with celery root and apple salad ($22). An entree of Lake Huron whitefish meunière thoughtfully brings its own red carpet to escort a wily entourage of asparagus and cinnamon-cap mushrooms ($34) into hungry mouths. As the meal apexes, undress grilled Churchill Farm lamb leg from its cape of arugula, grilled-asparagus salad, and yogourt-mint vinaigrette ($40) before plowing spoons into palate-lulling coconut panna cotta with passion-fruit sorbet and mango-and-pineapple salad ($14).
Send fare swimming off with drink offerings, such as the Manhattan with house cherries ($12) or rare, by-the-glass local Niagara wines ($9.25+ for 6 oz.) paired by the eatery's inventive sommelier. Guests dine in three eclectically and elegantly decorated rooms within the raw-stone century building, crowned by a garden room and overlooking a gnome-free courtyard.
The Prune Restaurant
Chef Bryan Steele's dinner menu showcases a variety of contemporary French dishes carefully crafted with ingredients from local growers. During the restaurant's dining season, which takes place May through October, diners flock to The Prune Restaurant's scenic Garden Room to savour gourmet fare and views of the historic building's courtyard. Once diners have chosen their favoured menu items, the warm and professional staff lends informed advice to help them pair their dishes with wines from a sommelier-assembled list comprised of both local and international varietals. The Prune Restaurant also hosts a number of small group classes, where guests come to taste and learn about wines or join forces to create a multi-course meal after finally conquering the chef's complex scavenger hunt to find the ladle.