I met a girlfriend at Donna Mac for brunch on a weekend and was impressed. I loved the ambiance – the big open space with lots of windows, an open view of the kitchen, and attentive, friendly staff. Every time the Hangover Cheese Toast was being made we drooled because it smelled so good!
We shared the Fried Cauliflower with Pimmento Cheese Sauce. Damn, this puppy was tasty! I would definitely order this again and recommend y’all try it. I don’t know that it’s very healthy though… Once you take a vegetable and deep fry it I think it loses it’s classification as a vegetable. I think the dish is listed on the bottom of the drink menu as a shareable appetizer (and it’s not on the website). So consider yourself warned – don’t miss that part of the menu, or you’ll be missing out on (at least one) good thing.
I had the Beans and Sausage with Mushroom Bread Pudding for $13 for breakfast. The sausage was like any pork-based sausage you’d get at the grocery store. I didn’t think it was anything special, but it was good. I quite liked the beans – not too soft, not too firm, and seasoned quite nicely. The mushroom bread pudding was delicious and not like anything I’ve ever had before. It doesn’t really look pretty, but I think they should serve this mushroom bread pudding with other dishes as well; it’s a winner for me!
My friend ordered the Eggs And ‘Nduja for $18. It looked delicious but the sausage was super salty. It was okay a little at a time, but she couldn’t finish all the sausage on account of the salt. She wanted to say something but in the end bit her tongue… She said the salad was nicely dressed.
I figured this would be my last meal of the day before supper, so a little dessert would be wonderful to round off the meal. I tried their bite-sized smores style dessert for, I think it was, $2. It was a nice little treat but I certainly didn’t love it. It was gluten free so they used toasted rice paper to hold the homemade marshmallow and chocolate together. Why does everything have to be free of something?!? Soon, there will be nothing left to love… Sorry – I digress… I wouldn’t order it again.
I wanted to return for dinner and had an opportunity just a few days later with an ex-corker from Edmonton, in town for meetings. We went for dinner around 6:30 on a weekday and it wasn’t busy at all. We each ordered a starter, although we really should have better discussed the principle of sharing. My friend ordered the Roasted Beets for $12… and what a plate of beets it was! Really, the portion should be halved along with the price. There’s no way even two people can eat that many beets as a side or an appetizer… Note to Donna Mac: lessen the portion and lessen the cost. Otherwise, the beets were good. Although the grapefruit, fromage blanc, stout beer malt and chervil make the dish sound fancy, it didn’t seem much different than what I can make at home.
I ordered the Smoked Tuna for $12. I’m not sure that I loved it. I know it was fine, having been smoked, but it had that ‘meat that’s been sitting out of the fridge too long smell’ that I don’t really like… It was nice – something light and fresh – but I probably wouldn’t order it again. The fermented persimmon and egg yolk added a nice splash of colour to the dish.
For dinner I ordered the Butternut Squash Ravioli with parmesan and grapefruit beurre blanc. I should create a new rule – since I don’t like grapefruit, don’t order anything with grapefruit in it. Grapefruit aside, the dish didn’t wow me and handmade pasta really should wow me. This is another dish I actually wouldn’t order again… perhaps I’m just a sage brown butter sauce kind of gal?
My friend ordered the Pork Belly with sake steamed clams, seaweed salad and fermented rice for $32. He said the dish was good, but he’s not really a foodie so that was the only really feedback I got…
Overall, Donna Mac is still on my list of places to try again because the fried cauliflower was awesome and there are so many more things on the menu that look good. That being said, I’ve been there twice and overall it hasn’t blown me away yet. Maybe I just have to try the right things? What do you recommend?