Where to begin? Perhaps a brief and humble apology for my lack of posts as of late. The unfortunate truth is that the average person seemingly can’t survive on gourmet grub alone. He must also stay in and eat weird, boring stuff life steamed veggies and chicken breasts. I have been filled with ennui no doubt, but I have finally gotten out of the house and into the rain. Before long, I found myself at a home away from home. I was nestled into the corner at Mattson To Go.
If you haven’t heard of it Mattson & Co on Locke, you need to jump back a few blog posts and read up. I wrote about their stunning brunch a while back and I just relished the thought of a ‘to-go’ version of that same restaurant. I was not disappointed. This restaurant is a unique type of restaurant. I don’t believe we’ve really got anything of the sort in the Hamilton area. If we do, it’s certainly not this mind-blowing calibre. Here’s the scoop: this place cranks out flavourful, well thought out dishes throughout the day and serves a variety of dishes hot, fresh, and ready to go with what promises to be an ever-changing menu. Basically if you don’t want to wait for delicious food, you no longer have to.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what this restaurant is going to evolve into. They are a hybrid of a coffee shop, buffet, a take out place, and a high-end restaurant that seems to only have the good qualities of each. Add in the intoxicating smells and the cosy atmosphere and you’ve definitely got something special. I can only imagine where they can take this idea.
As for the food, I was extraordinarily pleased with the selection. I almost couldn’t decide between dishes because they all looked and smelled mouth-wateringly divine. When we first got to the counter around 11:30, they were still bringing dishes out of the kitchen and setting up for lunch. We got to sample a few things like the lime cauliflower soup and tomato & roasted red pepper soup as well as the chicken crostini. I was almost completely sold on the chicken crostini until they said they had short ribs coming out. The ribs were still in the oven and approaching 6 hours of cook-time. As soon as I heard that, I was set.
My girlfriend ordered the crispy pork belly because it looked absolutely stunning on the roasting pan and she just couldn’t resist. She went with a side of creamy scalloped potatoes and an orange pecan salad with a flavorful citrus-y dressing. The scalloped potatoes were something else. Unbelievably creamy and well-seasoned and perfectly tender. The pork belly was absolutely spot-on; bursting with rich flavour and so many incredible textures with each bite. It’s hard to come by a perfectly done crispy pork belly but these guys nailed the dish. Safe to say the plate was cleared in less than 5 minutes.
Once the short ribs were done, they brought my order out to the table. As soon as I opened the box, a rich and robust aroma seemed to fill the room. The short ribs were stunning; massive short ribs coated in a marvellous dark demi-glace with mushrooms and red wine and placed lovingly beside an order of creamy curried veggies. I could not wait to dig in. The ribs were so tender that i just had to press on them with a plastic fork to completely shred the meat and pull it right off the bone. The flavor of the ribs was staggering. The kind of food experience that makes you want to close your eyes and hold on to that moment just a little bit longer. A myriad of complex flavors spread across my palate as I worked my way through the short ribs. Unreal stuff. These short ribs were immense and satisfying. The curried vegetables that accompanied the ribs consisted of roasted vegetables simmered in a well-balanced curried cream sauce and were nearly equal in flavour to the ribs. Both dishes were rich and flavourful, perfectly executed, and it was nearly unbelievable that these came from a buffet-style hot tray.
I don’t think I’ve been this taken back by a restaurant in some time. Not only the food but the incredible service and warm, friendly staff, as well as the atmosphere, the idea, and the experience were outstanding. The last time I was this blown away was likely the first time I went to Mattson & Co, so it’s certainly fitting that this experience would mimic the first. I’ve always been excited when a great new spot opens in my neighbourhood and this place is no different. Mattson To Go is going to be a game changer.
Check it out!
Mattson To Go
154 James St S