Wednesday, April 25, 2012
in restaurant, comfort food, southern, the main, casual, <$20
After a few mediocre outings, tonight we decided to go to one of our favourite places. We've been to chef Nick Hodge's Icehouse 3 times in its opening year of 2011, and wanted to make sure it still had the mojo that made us fall in love with it, one year later. This little "hole" does not take reservations, but we were lucky enough to find an empty spot. As a side note, our camera unfortunately crapped out on us tonight; therefore we apologize for the lack of images in the review.
tagged can't reserve
The interior of Icehouse is heavy on wood, which produces a cottage-like atmosphere. The place is tiny; consisting of a dozen or so tables (just about enough to seat 20 clients), an open concept kitchen-bar, and some extra seating against the far wall. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't warm enough to sit on the little patio outside, so the only available spot for us was at the elevated counter facing the wall, on a couple of stools. One cannot help but notice the presence of napkin dispensers on every table and hanging on the wall (more on this later).
tagged claustrophobia anyone?
“Comfort” simply describes the food at Icehouse. The menu is written in chalk on a black board above the bar and consists of southern/Texan regulars: fried chicken, popcorn shrimp, BBQ ribs, tacos and burritos. It is not short on choices, and you will want to order everything on it. Utensils are not provided and you can expect your meal to be a messy one (therefore the aforementioned napkin dispensers everywhere!), so it's not a time to be fussy about eating. Finally, what southern food joint is complete without hot sauce? Icehouse wins again here; a large tray sits at the bar full of various specialty sauces, hot enough to launch rockets. But if you're not ready for the big boy sauces, at least try their homemade “Tabasco” that comes in a small dropper.
Bourbon Hard Lemonade
This lemonade pitcher is a perfect drink for the summer (or any other time for that matter). Freshly squeezed lemonade spiked with half a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon. Even if you're not a fan of bourbon, we urge you to give it a shot, you won't regret it! One of us does not like bourbon, but has to have it every time we're at Icehouse.
Fried Shrimp Taco
Two soft tacos packed with chunks of fried shrimp, aioli and lots of lettuce. The menu mentioned salsa verde, which was not really noticed. The taco would have been a hit if it weren't for the excessive amount of lettuce and the taco shell that simply fell apart and was impossible to hold. The flavors, however, were just right.
I love everything about this burrito, the lobster, the corn, the beans… They're not skimpy on the lobster; you'll find big chunks of juicy lobster that marry nicely with the other ingredients held together with some sort of aioli. The chips add a great crunch to the burrito.
Grilled Steak Burrito
Forget any other steak burrito you've had, THIS is the one! We're not the authority on burritos, but we can easily say this is the best burrito we've had in town. The steak is grilled perfectly and the peppers and onions just complete the burrito. It's nothing fancy, but everything comes together perfectly. I could have this for lunch every day.
This is one of their specialties. A milk bread bun holds the crunchy battered oysters atop a mean slaw and a special sauce that I couldn't properly identify. The crunchy batter does not take away anything from the oysters; you'll definitely get that briny sea flavour out of them.
Sweet Potato “tater tots”
Well, they're tater tots, but made with sweet potatoes. Nothing special; kinda felt like the crust was a bit soggy, but some Mad Dog 357 sauce took my mind off that… maybe a bit too much as my mouth was really on fire!
tagged it'll burn twice!, not for the faint-hearted, too messy
The staff is welcoming and attentive. They'll converse with you and suggest what to order based on what you feel like eating. And even though the place is small and has to turn tables quickly, the staff does not push you out once you've finished your food.
tagged love the attention
Icehouse is one of our favourites. It was a hit last summer and we think it'll be another hit this summer as well. With the great food they serve, the hot sauces, the great vibe, and the edgy rock soundtrack, you'll want to go more than once. So if you missed it last summer, or if you haven't gone yet, what are you waiting for? It's a shame we don't have the pictures to back up our claims, so please accept our sincere apologies.
Price per person: $19