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Thursday April 24, 2014
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continued

Bona Sera's poutine special also played with Canada's signature junk food, but this time in a way that made sense. Sturdy potato gnocchi replaced the fries, and a duck confit reduction the brown gravy, with shreds of ricotta salata standing in for the cheese curds. A sprinkling of duck cracklings garnished the bowl. Considering the ingredients, I found the dish surprisingly light on flavor, but everyone else at the table enjoyed it.

Other specials that evening also found willing partners. My dad slurped up a bowl of capellini and meatballs as if he hadn't eaten that day, and a plate of "surfy turfy"--sliced, beautifully grilled medium-rare flank steak mated with three jumbo sea scallops on a bed of greens and roasted potatoes--comforted my mother. These simple dishes highlighted the chefs' use of high-quality ingredients and the great care they take in preparing them. Unfortunately, the specials we chose another evening--potentially more nuanced or demanding--pleased no one. Truffled ricotta and beet lasagna arrived overly saturated by a sea of acidic tomato sauce and texture-less gluten-free macaroni and cheese proved completely devoid of salt and flavor.

Desserts tend toward homey sweets--a "Lil' Netty" oatmeal sandwich cookie, large triangular flattened brownies more cookie than cake, warm apple bread pudding pleasantly drowning in melting whipped cream, and salted caramel gelato--which you should never leave without finishing.

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