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A Five Guys Vow

lol, best post i've ever seen on chowhound. thanks

Oct 13, 2013
downtownfoodie in Chains

The 38 Essential Toronto Restaurants, October '13

A couple weren't on your list that I would miss if they disappeared:

Grand Electric

If I had to boot a couple to make room it would probably be Hopgoods, Tutti Matti and Porchetta. Nothing wrong with meals there but if they closed I wouldn't miss them.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon

we have a place a couple km's from Spirit Tree. as a non-cider fan, i was apprehensive at best, but the food was spot on. loved everything


had to bring this one back to the top to say how much i love just about everything from this place. great cocktails, great balance of heat/salt etc. price is great for what you get...can't say enough good things :)

Woods Restaurant - Can anyone comment?

I was there for dinner last week. I would agree with CNS that the menu is very pedestrian. It's like they looked at what was trendy and then went down the checklist to make sure they had a couple of regular staples to fill in the gaps. Regarding execution, everything was spot on except for a miscue with overcooked tuna (I like it very rare, but anyone would have called this overdone).

The venison carpaccio was huge and a highlight. The tuna tartare was too small but well put together. Perhaps a little heavy on the corn flavour which masked the tuna. The fish special (turbot) was incredible and the flatiron was spot on.

Overall it was a good meal, but definitely not adventurous. The room was very nicely done with the "wood" theme without being over the top.

I would have no trouble going back if someone suggested it, but there are so many interesting places opening up these days, I'm not in a rush to go again.

2013, First Quarter

dinner at Ursa last week. between the table we ordered just about everything on the menu and there was nothing that wasn't really really good and a couple of things (the piece of baaaa i have ever eaten, the mushroom to start). i was a little disappointed in the "raw bread" but that's only because i was starving and was hoping for something a little heartier to tide me over till the food started arriving. the use of such vibrant colours in their presentations was just a bonus

Dodgiest looking restaurant you've been to but turned out to be a winner (or least better than expected)

Ghandi Roti :)

Looking for private dining room (40-50) downtown

we just booked le select for my brother's rehearsal dinner. great menu options (plenty of good bistro fair to please the masses, which you would expect, but how many set menus give you the options of crispy pigs ears, bone marrow, or even escargot???)

the back room(s) can be booked separately, or opened up to form one large space, plus there is a back courtyard available as well

the wine list is obviously excellent, and their corkage is very reasonable if you want to bring your own

Sommelier Olympics fundraiser

Sounds like a pretty cool event with a chance to eat some good food at canoe for only $35. Have to imagine the wine will be pretty decent too, lol.

I heard there's a catered dinner for 10 by JP Chalet with gems like a 66 lafite and a 64 dom...but with a minimum bid of $7500 it might be a bit out of my budget, lol.

An Evening of Molecular Gastronomy - Anyone Going?

i noticed that too. since you know the organizer, any chance of a separate chow sign up that avoids the double exchange and the service charge? :)

JaBistro- wow

since we're not supposed to discuss in the "Best of 2013" thread, i figured i would post here instead.

clearly i didn't really enjoy my meal at JaBistro, and others seem to have had inconsistent experiences there.

i was surprised to see it pop up so often on the Best of thread. what are everybody's recent experiences there? did i (and a couple of others) just hit really off nights?

Has anyone used Fooddel? (New delivery service from St. Lawrence Market)

I saw a groupon for Fooddel offering $40 of SLM goods for $19. I guess it's basically like a Grocery Gateway for the market. Their website looks like there's a reasonable selection. $10 delivery charge not covered by the groupon.

Has anyone used them? Experiences?

JaBistro- wow

we went for dinner on thursday night after reading the good reviews on here. what a disappointment...

i had the spicy celery sake cocktail that tasted mostly of overly-sweet ginger without a hint of sake. not unpleasant, but i would have believed you if you told me it came of the virgin list. gf had the shiso smash with bourbon, that was also too sweet. we later followed these with a draft sapporo and a very small pour of a very forgettable albarinho

the pork belly "snack" was tasty, but not memorable. the accompanying shrimp toast was the best part of the dish.

there was nothing terribly wrong with most of the sashimi sampler that we had. most of the fish was respectably fresh, and the variety was refreshing for toronto. the geoduck and uni were of good quality and a nice change from the standard offering, but the cuts on the toro and mackerel were inconsistent, while the sea bream was completely butchered. it was literally a tangled mess that looked like someone had gone after a beautiful fish with a pair of dull children's scissors.

the last dish was the biggest disappointment. i love soft shell crab (even enough to order it out of season) but Ja's version was overly battered, excessively oily, and served with "chili". silly me for thinking chili would be some sort of chili sauce. silly server for not explaining that it was actually chili. the type with beans. it was actually a decent white chili, but not a good pairing with oil soaked fried crabs, and definitely unexpected.

the server also extolled the virtues of "fly fish eggs" at one point and couldn't answer questions about what was on the sashimi plate without going back to check twice.

in summary, it felt like an amateur effort at best. which would be fine if the price point was lower ($150 all in for 4 drinks and 3 small dishes).

i would not return

DId anyone watch The Layover Toronto?

it definitely felt like he was a little bored by the city.

Quinta - delicious Portugese, with a modern twist

i haven't been there so i can't comment on the food. that said, from the pics, the outside of the hen does look a bit on the charred side, but the inside still looks moist. i might be biased because i like my poultry skin with a little char, especially if there's some sugar in the sauce :)

Restaurants with reasonable wine mark-ups?

sounds completely plausible. IIRC, it was a restaurant owner who told me about it, so it might just be something he heard, or it might be that he wanted to keep his wine margins so that was his excuse??

Restaurants with reasonable wine mark-ups?

edited to make it clearer

Restaurants with reasonable wine mark-ups?

i do remember hearing that older restaurants that don't have the corkage license open themselves up to re-inspections to ensure that they meet all of the current codes if they apply for the corkage addition...even if they met the codes when they received their original license but the codes changed since. if this is true (can't say the source was 100% credible) then it would explain the reticence on the part of some restos to add the byob license

Shrimp Tempura with non Asian sides? Yes or No?

if anyone complains that you're not keeping with the asian theme, tell them tempura is actually Portuguese. the jesuit missionaries introduced it to japan back in the 1500's

Opus for solo dining

opus is fine for singles and i guaranty they would accommodate with btg pours

Good takeout near trinity bellwoods??

banh mi boys :D

What recipe is your Unicorn?

try roasting the carcasses (don't have to add a step, just throw it back in the oven for 20 mins after carving/cleaning the first time). you can also use a pressure cooker to cut the simmering time.

Nov 15, 2012
downtownfoodie in Home Cooking

Ursa Restaurant

agree the portions were not large. we weren't starving as i mentioned so it worked well for us, but i could see it being an issue if we went there hungry

Stupid question of the day - spicy dish "over reduced" WAY TOO SPICY

you can reduce salt in a dish by adding a sache of rice, or a couple of large chunks of potato with a bit of water, cooking for a bit, then removing the starch. i imagine that you could probably take a little heat out of a dish the same way

Nov 06, 2012
downtownfoodie in Home Cooking

Ursa Restaurant

we had a great meal at ursa a week ago. sat at the bar and shared the fried tofu, which was done with a much softer tofu than usual and coated in potato starch to really crisp up the outside. the elk tartare was great. little hokey with the bit about the added "antler fur" and how healthy it was, but it still tasted great.

we weren't starving so we shared a main. simple grilled beef with roasted brussel sprouts and a cauliflower and bone marrow sauce. amazing flavours, great presentation...very impressed

cocktails were also excellent

Colbourne Lane

i loved one of the beet dishes there :)

it was a beet balloon (puree poured into balloon and frozen with nitro before balloon was cut away) with a goat cheese powder, orange gelee and fresh thyme. novel presentation of absolutely classic flavours

Restaurant Chantecler - Parkdale

oh my...just got back from an amazing lettuce wrap dinner. we had two lettuce dinners and all the sides except the oysters (just didn't seem to fit with everything else) for four of us. all the braised meats were tender to perfection with a great balance from the pickled veg and sriracha etc. 2 drinks each (mix of great cocktails, wine and beer) and the bill came to just over $200 with tip included. tough to beat that. the place was a bit of food celebrity haunt tonight due to soupstock (chefs from charcut, parts and labour, stone road grill along with some other industry personnel)

Where to buy bitters downtown

similar great experience. couple of bitters (rhubarb, angostura and black walnut) and a couple of ice ball molds. shipping was about the same and arrived in a couple of days. thanks for the heads up

The Black Hoof: New Chef in a month!

bao bei was easily one of my "best value" meals in Canada in the last couple of years. everything was spot on with flavour balance, a great mix of textures, service was friendly, drinks were great, dishes were a combination of fun riffs on asian classics and inventive ways of presenting familiar ingredients. can't wait to see what that experience lends to the Hoof's particular offerings.

p.s. thank you Van CH's for putting me onto that one :)

anyone know where to buy Oyster serving plates in Toronto?

Checked out the usual suspects (Nikolai and Tap Phong) as well as asking several restaurants that serve Oysters...

Looking for the stainless steel trays that hold crushed ice, preferably with the central area for any toppings, but open to those without.