Oh, boy...I almost hate to even write about this experience. I have never had such high hopes for a restaurant and been disappointed so badly. With so much positive buzz about the place, either I am that kid who proclaims that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, or I was just there on a really, REALLY bad night.
The Refinery supports sustainable farming and they change their menu from week to week in order to make use of the freshest ingredients available. Okay...I'm in! The menu for the week was short, but looked interesting. After the fact, I feel that the dishes we tried were (for the most part) overly "cheffy" (contrived), lacking culinary cohesion and not very nicely plated.
We were greeted by the co-owner and wife of the chef, very warmly I might add. Service was fine in this cozy dining spot...no complaints there. The wine list is not extensive, but I found a nice Chardonnay blend, and UD couldn't find much fault with his Lagunitas IPA beer other than the fact that it could've been a bit colder.
UD waxes optimistic:
I was excited by the sight of Vintage Pate Sampler with cornichons, grainy mustard, and warm bread on the menu. I have never met a pate I didn't adore...until today. A trio of pate slices were presented to us (pretty poorly, I have to say), all of which were reminiscent of chopped cold cuts pressed together in a terrine. I didn't taste liver in a single one...not even the slab that was supposed to contain foie gras. The dish was served with three small, wan slices of French bread which were neither particularly good nor particularly warm and not plentiful enough to serve as carriers for all of the pate (not that it mattered in the long run...as it turned out, we didn't want to eat all of the pate). When we asked for more bread, we were told that we would be charged $1 extra. Okay. Does this look appetizing? I didn't think so. :/
Next came the Poutine. I will admit to not having a lot of familiarity with poutine, but I was eager to try it. It was described as Yukon Gold Fries, Pulled Pork, Chicken Gravy, and Ricotta. I'll start out by saying that the Yukon Gold fries were out of this world...hot, crispy, golden brown on the outside and creamy on the inside. It's too bad they had to be laden with blobs of ricotta and gravy that tasted like it came straight out of the Heinz can. I will say that the pulled pork (what little of it there was) was tasty.