Last night, my family and I had a great dining experience at a small restaurant in Nelson, BC, called Kas.
A small, cozy establishment, chef/owner Gordon Kleef, lets you know from the get go that this will be a unique dining experience. After being seated, Chef Gordon personally comes to your table and tells you that there is no menu. The meal he will prepare for you will be completely free-form and based on whatever is fresh on hand from that day. In our case, he mentioned he had rabbit, duck, lamb, and a few other things. He asks if there are any food allergies or foods you absolutely won't eat, and once he has that information, he retreats back into his kitchen and begins creating a one of a kind meal. Three courses, he says, and it's $30 per person.
It began with appies. The first plate brought out was a selection of different tomatoes grown in chef's neighbour's garden. They were sliced and topped with fresh onion slices, drizzled in a lovely olive oil and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper. For someone like me, who hates tomatoes, this wasn't something I was overly excited about, but I tried it - and liked it. Even my brother, who also hates tomatoes, liked it. Things were off to a good start. Fresh sourdough bread arrived, and there was a white balsalmic vinegar and olive oil combination for us to dip the bread into. The next arrival was very interesting: a grilled romaine caesar salad. The head of romaine was cut in half, grilled for a few moments, then smothered in a creamy dressing and sprinkled with cappicollo. I know what you're thinking: grilled lettuce? Very different, but very good, honestly. Next came two more appies: roasted garlic with chili jelly, baked brie, and croustadas. Chef also brought out a stew made with beef, pork, bacon, and mushrooms, served over rice. I think this was the weakest dish as it lacked depth of flavour and was on the bland side.
Then the fun really started. A huge platter of organic veggies came out: roasted potatoes, carrots, swiss chard, grilled zucchini, green and yellow beans, grilled then shredded turnip, and red cabbage with a bit of a vinaigrette.
The main course followed shortly afterwards: leg of lamb, roasted rabbit, duck confit with hoisin sauce, freshly caught lake trout stuffed with oysters and served in a lemon caper buerre blanc. My dad, who won't eat fish, got a supreme of chicken breast roasted with brie and smothered in a grape and grappa sauce. It wasn't his cup of tea, but it was definitely interesting.
Dessert was a trio of goodies: white chocolate cheesecake, toffee ganache torte, and a chocolate brownie cake.
Over all, this was a fantastic feast. I don't like lamb, and that was my least favourite thing on this menu. The trout was outstanding, as was the duck, and I also don't typically like duck. The food was prepared to perfection and the selection was amazing. The desserts were awesome, but too tiny! Since everything is served on large plates or platters, you serve yourself and pass everything around. I think we needed a larger serving of dessert because we essentially got one bite each of everything on the dessert plate.
But, for $30 a person, the value was excellent. We all went away full and satisfied and making plans to go back again soon.
Chef Gordon also prepared the food for the Nelson Rod & Gun Club annual game dinner this past spring (which you can read about here) and I was not impressed with the food there. But, in his own kitchen and obviously in his element there, he proved himself to be superb.
Kas is located at 602 Front Street in Nelson, BC. Reservations recommended (also call ahead to see what is on the menu for that evening): 250-505-5502 or 1-866-592-2233. Be prepared to be there for a while. We were there over two and a half hours, but they have excellent wine to drink while you wait for your food!