The Elk Roasted at the Courtyard Restaurant in Ottawa was a decent dish. The Elk was not to my taste but the accompaniments were very good.
I recently enjoyed a lovely appetizer of Scallops Grilled at the Courtyard a day or so earlier and was justly impressed with the quality of the cuisine, Accordingly, the fact that I didn’t really enjoy the dish you see pictured above reflected my own personal taste rather than any deficiency on the part of the chef charged with its preparation. I like some game, and dislike others, and it was merely unfortunate that my first experience with Elk didn’t agree with me.
Anyway, this dish could have been presented on a smaller, or more oval platter for a better visual impact but, other than that it was plated quite nicely. The Elk slices sat atop a Wheatberry Compote and were surrounded by roast Brussel Sprouts, Salt-Baked Onion, Roast Carrot, and a Parsnip Purée. There was a small spoonful of a Sour Cherry Sauce over the meat, and the whole was garnished with a raw carrot Ribbon.
Aside from the meat, the only part of the meal I didn’t care for was the roasted Brussel Sprouts. These were undercooked and consequently quite tough. That, in contrast to the flavor of the Elk, is a flaw that can be laid at the foot of the chef because these really were not properly prepared and almost unpleasant.
The Wheatberry Compote, as it was termed on the menu, provided the starch for the meal. It is not something I would rush to experience again, but it was clearly well-prepared and I liked the slightly nutty taste it provided.
Sadly, I retained no impression of the salted Onion component (perhaps because there wasn’t a great deal of it), but the roasted Carrot and the Parsnip Purée were terrific. The carrots were a mix of what I suppose one would call ‘heirloom’ varieties, and ranged in color from a pale yellow to an almost purple. They were beautifully roasted so that their natural sweetness was beautifully enhanced by just the right degree of caramelization.
It was the Parsnip Purée that stole the show for me and I am sorry that I really couldn’t say what was added to it other than salt, and possibly a little butter. There didn’t seem to be any spices added at all and the purée was able to stand on its own freshness alone. I have yet to produce better myself and, while the Elk Roasted at the Courtyard was disappointing in the main, this perfectly execute vegetable accompaniment actually made up for it.