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Toronto restaurant recommendation - Page 51

post #751 of 966
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRINI View Post


Apparently it's because they can't verify the source and treatment of the horses.

There was all kind of hoopla about this last week in the Toronto Star so places have backed off on serving it.
post #752 of 966
The owner for La Paletta also went on CBC to defend it and then retracted it from his menu so there was also that.

I don't quite care about it to be honest but the fact that some of the drugs are carcinogenic worries me. Hell, I eat veal anyway.

Friday lunch was work lunch at Greak Cooks on Eight at The Bay. Still renovating so it sucks. Friday night I did some sashimi (yes! chutoro!) downtown and then headed over to The Shore Club to clean up on the night. It's at Wellington and Simcoe. This would be a nice place for the winter - very dark looking restaurant and bar. I had some fish tartare and Lagavulins for $117 + tip. However, other than 1/6 of the restaurant being occupied, the place was empty. It's clearly looking to be a watering hole for downtown a la Ki, Bymark, South on Temperance, Reds, O&B etc. Mains were average ~$30 and some skanky waitresses.
post #753 of 966
Thread Starter 
Ate at Lai Wah Heen...

Really not bad. I think it is scandalously priced for being in such a tacky, outdated hotel with that tragic 80s masking as "art deco" decor in the dining room but there were some great flavors. Unfortunately, it's difficult to eat a lot of it elegantly. For me the star of the show was the final noodle dish... for me that was heavenly.

I had the expensive dimsum... dont remember what it's called but it was like $60/pp
post #754 of 966
I'm not sure I would go to a Chinese place for its ambience. The Crown franchise is just as gaudy with its faux french and over use of gold.

Thursday was spent at Wvrst. I walked in and flagged a "runner" to explain the whole concept to me so I wouldn't be confused. Basically you order your food and beer and then you take a number sign and sit at one of the many long communal benches and the food will come. Further rounds felt more like Europe because you had to get it from the bar and pay each time although Canadians are far too nice and actually queue at the bar. We skipped all the ales since it's summer but there are a few European ones on tap, none I haven't seen at Beer Bistro or Bier Market. This place attracts two types of people. Two-somes who come in for a quick pint and leave or crowds of six or more who stay longer so no need for reservations.

As for the food, both of us picked the kangaroo sausage. It tasted a little "gamey" but wasn't really that exotic. We also shared an order of duck fat fries. We couldn't really tell what the difference was between duck fat and regular without a blind taste test but I thought the duck fat fries were a little sweeter. The dips we tried (chipotle and rosemary mayo) were disappointing. There was also a curry wvrst that might be worth a shot next time, however the menu suggests a less exotic type of sausage with it. With the beer, I think the whole meal came to around $50 or so.

Washroom only has one urinal (for a beer hall!) and it's pretty dark in there. Waitresses definitely picked for the eye candy.

Shoved off to the Adelaide Street Pub and switched to vodka. Nice to see a kitchen in Toronto that's actually smaller than mine.

Texted Goodnight Bar and found the entrance although I had to interrupt a photo shoot in the alleyway. You don't rap on the graffiti marked up door - there's actually civilized door bell outside. But the bartenders suck. I asked for a simple vodka martini with a twist and the martini was shaken James Bond style. The twist involved emptying three buckets full of kitchen utensils until she could find something to peel a strip of lemon for me. And to boot, conversations with the bartender ranked between monosyllabic and strained. It's cash only for $100 or less but with the average cocktail being $15, a couple of rounds will put you into the credit territory. The bar was empty at 8:30 when we showed up and filled in around 10:30. It looks nice but the execution is poor.
post #755 of 966
In other news, Lai Toh Heen is closing on September 18.

Mostly coasting on unexciting business lunches...turf lounge (scallop risotto), biff's (tuna nicoise), I think I have Canoe up for next Friday but that's about it.
post #756 of 966
Lunch was spent at Elle M'a Dit with a work mate. She had the smoked trout salad and I had the duck confit tarte flambee. It came out like a really thin crust pizza and we ended up sharing the salad and flambee. Portions are reasonable - closer to what is expected at Europe. Very light meal but we didn't try any of the heavier stuff. I think next time I'd try either the steak & frites or sea bass with ratatouille. The place was relatively dead - maybe the rain scared everyone off. For dessert we split a chocolate terrine. Much too sweet - maybe should have gone for the mousse. Couple glasses of pinot grigio (from Alsace no less), spanish coffee and a brandy for digestif made it something like $90 + tip.

Somehow in between lunch and dinner (pre-dinner?), I also fit in a few old fashioneds at the Garbardine. The construction in front of this place is killing the business I reckon.

Dinner was spent at the Black Hoof around 7pm. No wait, but the only space was at the bar. My cousin had a friendly chat with the bartender throughout most of the night so she was happy. He also continuously tried to clean up our little space. Drinks were manhattan, cocktails and whiskies. $106 in total. The duck liver parfait was pretty nice but I think there was too much of it. Even with a side of bread, we couldn't eat all of it. The bone marrow was okay - my cousin loved it - I was a little indifferent. The seared foie gras/bread pudding combo made it more like a dessert than an entree; highlight of the night. They make pretty strong Manhattans - I didn't try the aged one that Jen Agger experiments with. With the stoves going on, the place gets pretty hot in the summer - pretty much no A/C and the queues are not as bad as when it first opened but you're hard pressed to find a seat anywhere after 7:30pm.

Nightcap was at Barchef. Tried their old fashioned - a little too much bitters but maybe I wasn't in a position to judge given I had been drinking all day. The rest of the drinks were picked by my cousin who would drink one, not like it, and give it to me to drink so I ended up with tonnes basil, lavendar fragant drinks. If Ardbeg was like having a camp fire in your mouth, these drinks were like having a flower in your mouth.
post #757 of 966
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post

I'm not sure I would go to a Chinese place for its ambience. The Crown franchise is just as gaudy with its faux french and over use of gold.

Thursday was spent at Wvrst. I walked in and flagged a "runner" to explain the whole concept to me so I wouldn't be confused. Basically you order your food and beer and then you take a number sign and sit at one of the many long communal benches and the food will come. Further rounds felt more like Europe because you had to get it from the bar and pay each time although Canadians are far too nice and actually queue at the bar. We skipped all the ales since it's summer but there are a few European ones on tap, none I haven't seen at Beer Bistro or Bier Market. This place attracts two types of people. Two-somes who come in for a quick pint and leave or crowds of six or more who stay longer so no need for reservations.

As for the food, both of us picked the kangaroo sausage. It tasted a little "gamey" but wasn't really that exotic. We also shared an order of duck fat fries. We couldn't really tell what the difference was between duck fat and regular without a blind taste test but I thought the duck fat fries were a little sweeter. The dips we tried (chipotle and rosemary mayo) were disappointing. There was also a curry wvrst that might be worth a shot next time, however the menu suggests a less exotic type of sausage with it. With the beer, I think the whole meal came to around $50 or so.

Washroom only has one urinal (for a beer hall!) and it's pretty dark in there. Waitresses definitely picked for the eye candy.

How true is this -- a couple of weeks ago I was in the US and some lady came up and asked me if the line we were in was for people who already had their name in for a table. I laughed and said, "I don't know -- we're Canadian: if we see a line we get in it" ... tongue.gif

I'd like to try Wvrst because I am a dedicated carnivore -- sounds like it it best to go with "the boys" rather than with the wife.
post #758 of 966
Speaking of carnivores, apparently the night I went to the The Black Hoof was the first night Grant van Gameren had left the Hoof. Just read it in the Globe today he has parted ways and moved on starting Wednesday night. That might explain the schizophrenic decisions made with the Hoof Cafe, now cocktail bar, space. I think Pizzeria Libertto will have to update one of their cured meat offerings to say something other than Grant's.

Friday lunch was spent at Bannock. This place looks like your typical squeeky clean O&B space except I kept thinking it was copying a Pret or Eat in London. I had the smoked salmon/egg salad croissant with a bottle of Canadian sparkling - work mate had the same and it came to $20. It apparently just opened this week so the manager is quite keen on clearing your table and keeping you happy...for now. Can't say I could taste the salmon at all and the egg salad was a bit too liquefied to stay in a sandwich, but seeing as it's across the street from where I work I may trespass once more.

Had drinks at the Turf Lounge bar after work - it was raining and I stupidly went outside. I ask for a Laphroaig and the bartender or server is looking in the gin & vodka section of the bar. Then apparently I emptied out the Laphroaig they had, and finally a Scottish chap comes up to tell me he can offer Lagavulin at the same price; well at least someone knows something about alcohol.

Out of the city for a little bit this week, but I am in town for two weeks so I hope to hit a few more places.
post #759 of 966
Friday - did Yuzu for lunch, was going to go to Ossington to be honest but oh well. Service was extremely slow between 12:30 and 1:30. Seems like we went at the worse time possible. Food did come out pretty quickly if you could get the order in. Sashimi for 2. Tried to get some toro other than o toro but they ran out.

Saturday - brunch at La Societe with my cousin. She had the beef short rib hash and I had the quiche du jour (some kind of lobster). We split a french onion soup, couple of mimosas, a spanish coffee and a chocolate mousse in a cup. $120 something plus tip. The place was dead considering the film festival was in town and Yorkville was packed downstairs so I had no idea where everyone went at 12:30pm. The brunch entree sizes are smaller, not quite European but definitely not as big as lunch. The mousse was huge and we could barely finish it. The spanish coffee was off menu and came with some heavy duty in house whipped cream that my cousin devoured. It was empty so service was okay. Because of the open door to the patio we kept having to swat away some flying insect or another when sitting inside.

Monday - Estiatorio Volos for a business lunch. I had the exohico which was basically lamb, greens in phyllo pastry with (feta?) cheese and a side of arugula. It's pretty messy to eat with a fork and knife. The lamb was a bit tough. I read in a review they also recommended the Morrocan grilled octopus which I didn't try. Some of the people got a chocolate mousse (also in a cup!) which I skipped for obvious reasons. Split a bottle of wine, ouzo, campari (for me), and a spanish coffee, regular coffees, etc. for digestif ended up being $330 + tip. The place is renovated but the layout is almost exactly the same as Mediterra. Lot of wooden notes to it. They have a long list of Greek wines which I was told not to ignore but I did and went French instead. Service was okay. We had 7 people and basically drink and dessert orders always skipped 1 or 2 people and not always the same people at the table.
post #760 of 966
re: Capalansky's comment from a while back. I went there on a Thurs for their Rueben sandwich and it was great (panini toasted bread, swiss, saurkraut, thousand island dressing, and the meat). about $11-12.
post #761 of 966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post

re: Capalansky's comment from a while back. I went there on a Thurs for their Rueben sandwich and it was great (panini toasted bread, swiss, saurkraut, thousand island dressing, and the meat). about $11-12.

I keep reading that Caplansky's is so wildly inconsistent that it's more often times bad. I've never been but I wanted to bring my father who is a fan of deli meat but of course I don't want to go when it turns out they did a bad batch that day.

Wednesday night I had dinner at Gabardine again. Mac & Cheese, plus some kind of berry jelly or pudding or something for dinner. Couple of old fashioneds plus my friend had her Americano. $64 tip included.

Thursday was uneventful - turned down a dinner midtown to do happy hour downtown. Ran into a bunch of yanks at a bar who kept trying to convince the bartender to pour vodka straight to the top of an old fashioned. They gave a 5% tip because she rationed them.

Friday I had a business lunch at South of Temperance. Never ever get trapped near the sides of the restaurant especially in the back near the fireplace where the wasps congregate. A pint or two helps keep the buzzing off your mind. I had some weird shrimps with shell on, couscous and asparagus mix. Can't say it was very remarkable. Shrimps were a bit hard to cut with a regular knife. Oh well, free lunch for me.

Night time I had to entertain someone for dinner who works with me down south but is from New York so I chose Splendido. We show up ridiculously early for dinner at 6 and took the seasonal 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings that just came out last week apparently. The wine pairings are all from a winery in Beamsville. The Riesling and Pinot Gris wines are much too sweet in my opinion. Except for the scallop and the squab, everything on the menu that you have a picture of is turned a little upside down in its presentation; in a good creative way. And there were at least three amuse bouche that they give for "free". The last entree, which was squab and a bunch of other meats is very heavy in spite of the smaller portions. And the dessert comes with a Bourbon Sour preceded by a caramel something amuse bouche spooned out of a jar. Between the sweet caramel and the bourbon I really lost my taste for the dessert. Otherwise, everything was great. She commented about the service. $436 including tip and two apertifs. Shoved off to a cocktail bar in Little Italy that night.

South of Temperance is definitely not as busy as last year. I think the earls chain on York is stealing all of their customers and the eye candy. I was actually there last week for drinks till 1:00 or something at the bar on a weekday (think it was Wednesday) night and the bar was packed. If you smoke and leave a box of cigarettes out, you can make quite a bit of money selling cigarettes to intoxicated financial area blokes. And the most interesting thing were bartenders who disappear on you, change into street clothes and then start joining tables full of attractive women.
post #762 of 966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatlese View Post


Goldin's really is good, isn't it? I no longer live in Toronto but in the year prior to moving use to order whole brisket pieces (deckles) directly from Alex Goldin to have at home. And this coming from someone who lived within walking distance of Caplansky's.

Yes!! I bought a 4lb piece of Goldin's smoked meat (available at the Free Times Cafe now at 320 College) for dinner last night because I didn't feel like cooking Friday night dinner and it was amazing. Comes in a vacuum sealed pack, steam it, slice and serve with rye, pickles... MMMMM! It's beautifully smoked and is Montreal-style spicy. More smoke and bite than Caplansky (that I find sweeter) and of course miles ahead of other bland corned beef or pastrami that other delis serve. For a true MTL smoked meat, this is a winner. I can honestly say that it was better than the last couple of sandwiches I had a Schwartz's. Highly recommended (just prepare it at home, don't order a sandwich there; though their coleslaw and latkes are very good).
post #763 of 966
Prior Monday, did a bouillabase fish soup at Rodney's along with grilled calamari and tuna tartare. Didn't like the ginger tuna tartare and the calamari was underwhelming but the corn salad underneath it was great. Fish soup was cool too. $128 including a few martinis.

Prior Tuesday, ate at Obika before flying out. Buffalo mozarella tasting with olives. My work mate adores olives so I had to choose that for her. Did the mozarella wrapped in proscuitto, smoked salmon and something else sampler - wasn't too impressed with the wraps although just the cheese was nice. I wanted to go for the cannoli but it's not on the menu anymore so we ended up with espresso and some kind of dessert wine from Italy. $103 altogether.

Thursday lunch, ate at George. Tried the water buffalo as a third and BC prawns as the first. Wasn't sold on the buffalo, prawns were nice. My work mate had the Thai chicken first and gave me part of her halibut third which was pretty good. Four course takes 90 minutes. Two courses took us 75 minutes, so I'm not sure how they fit in the other two courses. Certainly people who dine there had no intention making it back for a 2pm meeting. $122+tip including a couple of glasses of wine. Service was great, although there was a big delay between ordering and getting the first dish out.

Friday dinner, charcuterie plate at Biff's. Not very impressive although one of the cooking staff does come out to introduce everything. I felt stuffed, however, after eating it with wine and cocktails. We had something else to go with it - forget what it was now. Came out to something like $140 + tip.

Watched a show on Saturday and wandered to Baldwin village too early because it wasn't 5pm and half the restaurants were closed so I had to settle for Bocca. I reckon the only reason this place exists is for the patio - otherwise everything sucked. Not sure I'd go back there again. Had grilled calamari there which came grilled, lukewarm and on very moist almost distengrating pieces of bread slathered in some sweet tomato sauce. Service was also extra slow. $61 + tip.

Rest of the time just camping out at various club restaurants due to work, but I have another week in town so I can try some new things provided this cold doesn't kill me.
post #764 of 966
2 year anniversary with the GF in two weeks. Both Toronto natives but we don't eat out a ton. Might someone recommend a few places for me to check out? price range: around $300 total. I like all sorts of food though don't eat pork for ethical reasons, she's a touch more picky than I and usually sticks to chicken. We've recently been to scaramouche, soto soto, and buca, and enjoyed them all.
cheers,
chris
post #765 of 966
Yorkville area - Opus, Bistro 990, Sassafraz, Spuntini.
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