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By Roberta Avery - back to list
The term "family run restaurant" is usually associated with good home-style cooking not with food so exquisitely prepared that it could grace the tables of the rich and famous. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when family run Catch 22 Fresh Market Grill on Highway 26 on the east side of Collingwood serves up very fine cuisine.
My friend Julie was visiting from Hamilton and wanting to make our girls' weekend special I suggested that we splurge on a night out at Catch 22. I had heard some pretty good reports, but mainly from people raving about the great fish and chips so I was surprised to see the menu is very extensive with lots of choice of pasta, steak, chicken as well as fish and seafood.
The first hint that something extraordinary was on offer came when our friendly server suggested an appetizer special of smoked salmon served with shaved white chocolate over baby spring greens tossed in an orange dressing and garnished with cranberries for $12.
The dish was beautifully presented with the smoked salmon forming three roses in the middle of the bed of spring greens, it looked like a work of art. It was perfectly flavoured, the chocolate surprisingly taking the edge off the fishy taste of the salmon and the orange dressing and cranberries adding a welcome citrus tang.
Bringing such unusual ingredients together while perfectly balancing the flavours takes exceptional skill and I was anxious to meet the chef who had pulled off this feat.
I didn't have to wait long.
Chef and co owner Rob Bickmore likes to step out into the dining room to mingle with the guests.
Bickmore a graduate of George Brown College's culinary management program apprenticed in the former Constellation Hotel in Toronto which, at the time, was the largest convention centre in Canada. Here he learned to cook food in large quantities, so he finds the 130-seat dining room and the 80-seat patio at Catch 22 a breeze and an opportunity to showcase the extraordinary culinary skills he later honed at fine dining restaurants in Toronto.
True to the family tradition of Catch 22, his 13-year-old son Zach helps out in the kitchen at weekends.
In a restaurant named Catch 22, Julie wanted to order a fish entrée so settled on the house special of cashew encrusted Chilean sea bass served with curried coconut and mango chutney and friend spinach. I was tempted by the Medallions of Beef Tenderloin glazed with blue cheese and topped with a roasted portobello mushroom. We were both thrilled with our meals. The top quality beef was perfectly cooked and very tender and was complemented by a cabernet sauvignon infused demi-glaze. Julie's sea bass was crusty on the outside and moist and tender on the inside and the curry chutney added a tangy but sweet flavour. The grilled vegetables were crisp and fresh and each meal came with a rice pilaf and scalloped potatoes. I chose the small portion of beef for $24 but the portion was ample and excellent value. The sea bass at $35 was a little pricey, but Julie's verdict – worth every penny.
Co-owner Cori Hegmans also a George Brown graduate and a former owner of two banquet halls and a catering company in Barrie oversees the friendly efficient service, while her mom Peggy Campbell acts as hostess, while Hegman's daughter Cassidy 12 is a bus girl.
The family connection doesn't finish there, Cori's husband Jeff is a building contractor who remodeled the building turning one end into an attractive comfortable dining room with high backed comfy booths around the sides and the other end of the building into a cozy pub. True to the fish theme there's a full-sized fishpond full of Koi and goldfish is in the lobby.
We soon discovered that the family tradition continues with Cori's daughter Alyse, 14, who is responsible for "plating" the fabulous selection of desserts cooked up every day by Bickmore. Alyse does a lot more than just placing the desserts on a plate. Adding a selection of berries, whipped cream, chocolate shavings and raspberry coulis she turns every delectable dessert into a work of art.
I ordered the sorbet selection mango, lemon, raspberry for $6. They were all made in house from fresh fruit and were perfectly tart and sweet at the same time. Julie tried the chocolate banana bread pudding served steaming hot with Jack Daniels butter sauce.
Catch 22 has an extensive and descriptive wine list including four types of white wine by the glass ranging from a Soave Pasqua from Italy for $5.50 to an Ontario Reisling for $7.50. There are six types of red wine by the glass ranging from a Merlot Pasqua from Italy for $5.50 to a Beaujolias from France for $9.25
Catch 22 is open seven days a week for lunch and offers fish and chips for $10 and a seafood crepe for $15 and an interesting sounding salmon club sandwich for $12. Dinner for two including appetizer, main course, dessert, a glass of wine each and tip and tax runs around $130.
Catch 22 is open seven days a week 12 noon to 10 weekdays, later on weekends.For more information please call 1-705-446-9922 or click on www.catch22grill.com
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