At BizEnergy, we’re pretty focused on helping restaurants save energy—which means we don’t spend a lot of time actually talking about food. Yeah, it’s a little backwards. But there are lots of websites out there about food—and not so many about managing the energy-intensive side of all that deliciousness.

Even we have to eat, though, so when we decided to write a profile of Cowbell, one of Toronto’s greenest restaurants, it seemed only logical that we actually have a meal there. (And yes, the restaurant is named after the now-iconic Saturday Night Live sketch with Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell.)

Now, full disclosure—we’re not restaurant reviewers. None of us here eat (or cook) for a living. But we do like to eat, and we do appreciate good ingredients, and, of course, we’re completely turned on by the idea of sustainability and environmental accountability. So Cowbell, with its green restaurant certification from LEAF and devotion to locally sourced, organic, nose-to-tail cuisine, was already up there in our mental estimation, even before the food got to us. Truth be told, we were willing to forgive a little blandness, a little boring simplicity, even a little dirt in the carrots,  in the name of environmentally friendly dining.

But, oh, the food at Cowbell didn’t need any charitable accommodations from us. No, sirree.

Nominally a French-style bistro, Cowbell serves simply prepared food, yes—venison chops, whey-fed pork, and Muscovy duck breast, with seasonal sides like kale, mushrooms and onions, for example—but that devotion to local suppliers means delectable freshness and exquisite flavours that absolutely outshine dishes we’ve had in other places made with conventional ingredients.

Fortunately, there are no (or very, very few) conventional ingredients at Cowbell, with produce and meat sourced from a small list of local farmers. Not only that, but the meat is butchered, smoked and cured in the basement, the bread is baked in their kitchen, and even the butter is churned in-house.

Based on our dinner there, we can certainly recommend the deer chops and the whey-fed pork—but you may not get those if you go there. Part of the fun of running a restaurant with seasonal ingredients is that the menu necessarily changes based on what’s available and what’s particularly good at any given time of year. (If they chose to make the pillowy, boozy rhum baba, served with pears and ginger sorbet, a permanent fixture, though, there would be rejoicing in the streets. Seriously.)

If you want to check out Cowbell, they’re at 1564 Queen Street West in Toronto. Give ‘em a call for reservations at 416-849-1095.

Image credit: Cowbell