I work in Vinings only five minutes from the restaurant, Canoe. I have been to Canoe for dinner before with my wife Katherine, and we really enjoyed it. In fact it is hands down Katherine’s favorite dinner spot; she just wishes it wasn’t on the opposite side of town of where we live. Recently I realized that they serve a reasonably priced lunch menu. Sure you can get the $28 Ribeye, but I like to keep lunch in the $8-$15 range and Canoe has several different options in that area from soups and salads, to sandwiches, and most of their entrees. One thing I love about Canoe is their locally grown and seasonal menu. It seems for the most part they serve locally and sustainably grown produce and meats, with the notable exception of their Colorado Lamb. So far I’ve had three items from their lunch and all of them to go. I find that sometimes when doing take out from a upscale restaurant the food is still exceptional, but other times the food doesn’t hold the flavors on your way back to work so you can eat it in your cubicle. Below are my reviews of the three items that I’ve had.
Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich w/ Avocado, Swiss Cheese and Oven Dried Tomatoes
This was the first lunch item I ordered from Canoe, and so far it has been the best. I love the sandwich’s simplicity. It’s just a well prepared, well cooked piece of chicken topped with sliced avocado, Swiss cheese, and oven dried tomatoes between two slices of ciabatta bread. When you have fresh ingredients like these you want to let them speak for themselves, and this sandwich allows for all of the beautiful flavors to standout. The sandwich is $11, and I know that may be double the cost of Wendy’s or Chick-fil-a, but when it comes to fresh local food, this is actually a fairly inexpensive sandwich. One of my co-workers also had the sandwich and said,
“It is the best chicken sandwich I have ever had.”
Chimichurri Chicken Tacos w/ Peruvian White Bean Salad and Avocado Salsa
The Chicken Tacos were delicious, providing exemplary flavor with juicy chicken. I enjoyed everything about the meal as far as flavors go, but there was just one problem with it, everything was cold. Again, I do take out for lunch from this restaurant, so there was probably 10 minutes between the cooks boxing my meal and me biting into the chicken tacos and white bean salad. A lot can happen in those 10 minutes with a hot meal in a cardboard box. For one it starts to become cold, another is that because of the heat from the food, it will begin to produce condensation which makes the food very soggy and not good eats. If I were having lunch at Canoe, I would definitely order this meal. I believe that my experience would be completely different had it NOT been “to go”. However, that’s how I ordered it, and I should still be able to receive quality food from a “to go” box, but I truly think this one was more my fault for not thinking about my circumstances before ordering.
Roasted Colorado Lamb Sandwich with Green Apple and Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
This is the last “to go” dish I will be reviewing from Canoe. I knew before I even started off with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich that the quality of a “to go” dish would not come close to equaling the quality Canoe produces with their normal lunch and dinner entrees. This was another example. Before I left the restaurant the bartender opened the take-out box for me to make sure I had received what I ordered. The meat looked delicious, warm pink centers of sliced lamb on beautiful ciabatta bread. When I arrived at my desk, no more than 5 minutes from the restaurant, the meat had turned a pale brown and the bottom slice of bread had turned to mush. I was not happy, but I knew it wasn’t their fault. It was my fault for again ordering the wrong meal for a “to go” order. To their credit the meat was tasty, even though it was over-done by that point, it maintained it’s flavor a credit to both the meat, the chef who cooked it, and the apple-mustard sauce that it was topped with. The sauce was a good pairing for the sandwich, and helped save an otherwise lackluster lunch.
This was the last take-out order that I will place with Canoe. From now on I will be eating AT the restaurant. Regardless of what the food tastes like, when it comes to “to go,” my office desk can’t replace the wonderful view looking out over the Chattahoochee as you eat with friends or by yourself on the deck at Canoe.