Contributor Chris Occhiuzzi visits 3 Guys And Stove in Huntsville, and admits that one visit to this top Muskoka restaurant simply isn’t enough…
Visiting iconic restaurants in any place in the world can be an anxious experience. On one hand, there is the excitement of going to a fabulous restaurant; on the other, you really hope the meal holds up to the reputation.
When that establishment is in your hometown of Huntsville Ontario, you’re out for a dinner date / review meal with your wife, and you’ve never had a bad experience at this restaurant… well, let’s just say you really, really don’t want this to be the first time.
Putting on my best unbiased opinion hat, my wife Kandis and I head over to 3 Guys And A Stove, affectionately known simply as ‘3 Guys’ to those in the know. Located on Highway 60, this casual fine dining Muskoka restaurant is a favourite spot for locals, cottagers, and visitors to the area – especially those who are heading to or coming back from Algonquin Park.
No matter how many times I’ve walked through the doors at 3 Guys, it never ceases to amaze me how welcoming the team are. From owner Chef Jeff Suddaby to the hosts, servers, and even the gifted culinary experts creating magic in the open concept kitchen, their guests’ patronage is always appreciated.
3 Guys And Stove… Great Food and Top-notch Service
To the left of the doorway, wonderful aromas are emanating from the kitchen; to the right, the host is waiting. We are greeted by big smiles and a hearty, “Hi guys! Welcome back to 3 Guys!” The acknowledgement of being a repeat guest always gives me a warm feeling and immediately puts a smile on our faces.
We’re seated in an intimate booth and Kandis mentions how much she loves that 3 Guys is playing Motown music at the perfect volume – loud enough to set the mood for a date, but soft enough to hear each other speaking.
Ordering a bottle of Sartori’s Pinot Grigio, we start taking in the atmosphere and décor more than we ever had before. It’s perfectly Muskoka – dark tones and light meshing together in harmony – the lighting is soft, and a happy vibe is flowing.
The walls are adorned with beautiful photography of food, people, and places. Fittingly, many of the photos were created by Shutterbug Gallery owner Kelly Holinshead – herself something of an icon of Huntsville and Muskoka. A fun part of your visit is to glance through the many framed and displayed menus which have been signed by celebrities from all walks of life – film, tv, and more.
3 Guys And A Stove is a Foodie’s Taste-tour
Going on the advice of our amazing server Brent McVittie and the offerings of Chef Jeff, we’ve decided to try all new dishes this evening. While normally we really enjoy the house made pasta and Walkerton sausage, as well as the blackened stuffed shrimp, we’re on a taste-tour this evening.
Being as we always order different items so we can try and share with each other, this is going to be fun.
“You’re going to love all the dishes, I promise,” says Brent, who has prior knowledge of our foodie nature.
He wasn’t lying. Our appetizers consist of a flavourful herbed chicken flatbread; calamari with tandoori coating and soya roasted sesame seed sauce; blackened bacon wrapped scallops with a brilliant horseradish chipotle, plus cassava bolitas (made with yuca) with aged cheddar and chipotle aioli.
All are amazing, but my wife and I both agree that our favourite appetizer is the sweet potato, apple, and cashew croquettes with coconut banana curry. An exceptional mix of sweet and savoury, each bite is pure heaven.
“The croquettes are making my taste buds dance,” says Kandis. And she hit the nail on the head with that comment: every dish at 3 Guys an exercise in flavours for your taste, smell and visual senses.
With our appetite whetted and on to our second glass of wine, a tasty arugula, mixed greens and fresh sprouts salad with honey poppy-seed dressing is served. I adore arugula, so this is a dish I would order again and again. The dressing is sweet but not too sweet and the greens are lightly coated.
“This is how a salad should be done,” I remark to Kandis, who whole-heartedly agrees.
An Amazing Experience… and a Wonderful Send Off
The main events are even more delectable than their precursors. We try the melt-in-your-mouth braised short ribs; Mediterranean rice with shrimp; cornbread crusted Georgian whitefish, and Moroccan Meatballs.
While we agree all are wonderful and should be tried by anyone who visits 3 Guys And A Stove, Kandis’ favourite is the white fish because it’s fresh, lightly crusted, and features subtle flavours.
I love lamb – specifically Ontario lamb – and well-done cous-cous, so the Moroccan Meatballs are probably my new favourite dish at 3 Guys. A perfect bite featuring half your fork with meatball and the other half with cous-cous will have your taste buds thanking you. A must-try for all lamb lovers.
With the mains done and our wine finished, Brent suggests a nice espresso and it’s exactly what we needed. I get a second espresso to go with dessert. We’re trying a sampler featuring fresh strawberries and yogurt, baked nut tart with smoked almond ice cream and Muskoka maple syrup, and a chocolate ganache tart.
This one was a tie between the baked nut tart and chocolate ganache tart – they are both unbelievable. Next time I visit 3 Guys, I’ll take the ganache tart because I’m a chocolate fanatic. But then I’ll insist whomever I’m with orders the baked nut tart so I can have some too.
When we’re all done and ready to go, Brent says, “It was great seeing you guys again! Thank you for visiting us!”
It was a wonderful send off to cap off an amazing experience at one of the best restaurants in Muskoka.
Contributor Occhiuzzi is a staff writer at Dockside Publishing and founder of Muskoka Unlimited.