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New Dim Sum at Yonge & St. Clair?

Super, thanks LexiFirefly and JonasBrand!

Jan 11, 2014
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Less of this in 2014 thread

+1 on the time limit, but I'd include any 2 hour time limit. We eat on the fast side of average, so whether a dinner for 4 or 6 (my usual groups) takes more than 2 hours is up to the restaurant, not me. Took me 2 years to get to nota bene, which we all loved, because I kept not making a reservation once the host repeated that policy.

+1 octopus

+ 1 pork belly or any other pork cut where you're meant to be eating huge amounts of fat

I'd add losing "charred" and "burnt" - charring or burning protein creats carcinogens, which might be ok once in a while if it tasted good, but I don't think charred or burnt food tastes good either - that part tends to overpower the rest, and I hate the texture/mouthfeel of char

Jan 11, 2014
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

New Dim Sum at Yonge & St. Clair?

Thanks everyone for the reviews ... I'm nearby and looking and forward to going, but wanted to make sure they don't serve shark fin soup (I avoid places that do). If anyone knows I'd love to hear, thanks!

Jan 11, 2014
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Review of new Toca at the Ritz Carlton menu - pretty bad

Unfortunately ended up sampling the new menu at Toca last night.

Ritz, change the menu on your website! We checked before we arrived because we knew they were relaunching and wanted the old menu. That said, we were open and interested in the new menu as we like small plates.

Food

Dips (4 options: Dips: smoked eggplant, salmon rillettes, duck pate and hummus):
Bread - ok. Doesn’t come with butter or olive oil – dips are pushed at you immediately. Eggplant dip – ok. Like eggplant dip you can buy in the fresh section of your supermarket, with more oil on it and pine nuts. Greasy. No smoked taste.
Duck pate – not really a pate - chunks of duck in lots of oil. Seasoning ok, but greasy.

Small plates (bulk of menu):
Potato tizi – waitress made a big fuss about these. Chunks of potato with tomato relish, braised veal and aioli. Flavorless.
Fondue – terrible. Consistency of whole milk, grainy, no clear cheese flavor. Reminiscent of water with a packet of Kraft Dinner white cheddar sauce mix added. Inexplicably, as it makes for a pretty bad pairing with the “fondue”, came with super greasy vegetable tempura.
Beef tartar – excellent. Along with the Brussels sprouts, the only thing any of us would eat again.
Lamb burger – grey, steamed looking lump of meat, on a crushed flabby bun, with a small amount of caramelized onions. Needed some flavor - anything - salsa, feta, chutney, ketchup, grilled bun or burger, mint, harissa. Oddly served in a bowl, which made eating difficult.
Cheese croquettes – tasty and greasy, but am not at the Ritz to eat food typically produced at Chili's. Also oversold.
Crispy vermicelli with lobster - lobster was nicely cooked. nothing crisy about the vermicelli, which were in a pool of lobstery oil with some diced red peppers. Noodles oily and short on flavor.
Wild mushrooms with poached egg - exactly what it sounds like, and something you could make at home in 5 minutes. Like everything else, floating in a bath of oil. Needs to be served with bread.

Other options not ordered: ontario mozzarella, niagara ham, arugula salad with tuna, probably a few things I'm forgetting.

Mains (maybe 6-7 options):
3 of us ordered the specials. Would have been 4 but one asked for a plain salad because the food wasn’t worth eating (we ordered after the small plates), and wanted something healthy after all the grease. Note to management – when everyone avoid your mains, you need to revise your menu.

On a list of maybe 7 mains, 3 were rib eyes – beef, pork and bison. We were all hoping for a leaner cut somewhere.

Bison rib eye – neither person liked the “chimichurri” sauce and both tried to scrape it off (both normally like it). One described it as like ground up salad. One bison so salty as to be inedible. Couldn’t get a waiter to notice us, so by the time we sent it back, we were close to the end of the course so that person just skipped the main (management - probably worth noticing that 50% of the table didn’t eat a main). Waitress eventually noticed we had been abandoned, offered free dessert. At that point we were annoyed and didn’t want to eat any more of the food, so declined.

Chicken piri-piri. White meat really overcooked– had that ¼ inch of hard outside you have to really overcook to get. Covered in char which might suit some but just looked & tasted burnt to me.

Both specials came with same excellent Brussels sprouts, though they should have different sides as a little boring for the entire table to have one side.

Other
Throughout all courses, dishes where either really under or over salted.

Plating: triumph of form over function. Waiters struggling to keep some items on flat cutting board style items - cutlery and food kept falling onto the table. Odd choices like lamb burger in bowl. No serving utensils brought unless we asked for them. Table often overflowing, which might be fixed by better spacing or could be fixed with different plating. Dips had cute faux tin can lids.

Service:
Waitress really nice for most of evening. Abandoned midway when a larger table (of perhaps 7 people to our 4) showed up, which was unfortunate as the main course potentially could have been rescued.

She recommended 6-8 small plates, plus dips, plus mains. This is way too much food: if we had eaten the small plates, we wouldn’t have needed mains. Pushed the eggplant dip, potato tizi (sp?) and chicken, none of which were worth ordering. The comment, “I hope you all enjoyed your food” was met with silence from our table, which might have been worth following up on.

Lots of manager types around in a semi-full room, but no one stopped by to ask how our food was (potentially the meal could have been rescued earlier). One manager type actually turned his back and walked away as one member of our party was in the middle of a conversation with him.

Timing was not great. Sometimes we’d have one small plate, then 7.

Overall
None of us liked it or would recommend it to anyone. Really surprised the “nice” restaurant at the Ritz is serving glorified bar food. Needs some healthy options and to cut the fat by at least half, but even then wouldn't go back. I'm sure because it's the Ritz they'll get it together eventually, but I would wait until then.

Oct 26, 2012
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO mung bean noodles, ideally in midtown

Thanks Kagemusha!

Mar 11, 2012
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO mung bean noodles, ideally in midtown

Hi Wano! Thanks very much for the reply. Is there a particular grocery store in Chinatown you'd suggest? (I'm a little new here and the couple I've called don't have them).

Mar 10, 2012
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO mung bean noodles, ideally in midtown

Hi all - apologies, I feel silly writing this as these should be easy to find, but I've searched on the boards here, and the places I've called don't seem to stock them.

I'm looking for mung bean noodles (the thin ones roughly the size of angel hair pasta). As close to Yonge & St. Clair would be great.

Thanks all!

Mar 10, 2012
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

Not too late at all! I am wrapping up my shopping tomorrow, and will definitely try both of those. Thanks very much for the suggestions! On the powders front, would you suggest any of those in particular (or for a particular use)? Thanks again!

Dec 22, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

That's great, thank you - and anything I don't have to go to a store for is a big bonus, especially this time of year!

Dec 20, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

thanks! this is all new to me. I really appreciate the suggestions. these sotore look like fun to visit as well! Maybe I should be asking what people's favorite canadian ingredients are? wildfoods has a number of things I haven't tried before (cattail hearts?)

Dec 19, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

Thank you! I've never heard of birch syrup (or Culinarium; I just moved to Toronto - that sounds like fun).

I find dried mushrooms usually pretty gritty and wind up soaking them quite a bit to remove the grit/sand (I seem to find it more irritating than most, probably because I have sensitive teeth). Do you all do anything to keep from grinding the grit if you're self grinding mushrooms?

Dec 19, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

I was waiting for that! :)

She unfortunately wouldn't get enough use out of it to make it worthwhile - she keeps her "kitchen gadgets" to a minimum ....

Dec 19, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

Thanks! It's funny - I was just having a conversation with my mom yesterday about how so many recipes now require a coffee grinder that you can use on other items (we needed ground hazelnuts for some christmas cookies)! Neither of us has one yet, unfortunately, but thank you for the suggestion - maybe I'll try that as a backup if I can find a friend with one!

Dec 19, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

where to buy porcini powder, flavor pearls and need other unique ingredient suggestions

Hi all!

I just found out my brother got my mom the same xmas gift as I did, so I would really appreciate some help with last minute shopping. I'd like to get her some hard-to-find ingredients (a really good idea for last minute shopping, no?).

Two on my list are porcini powder and flavor pearls (I know the latter aren't great, but we'll have fun with them anyhow). I would love any advice on where to buy these in Toronto (ideally close to Yonge & Bloor or York Mills & Yonge), or on any other fun unique ingredients that would make a good gift.

thanks very much for any help!

Dec 19, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ONE restaurant in Hazelton hotel any good?

I'm clearly in the minority! I like One. We live about 100 yards away and go there often for brunch and dinner. I definitely agree it's an expense account kind of place.

The food is hit and miss, and does tend towards the oily, but the stuff that's good is quite good. The butter braised lobster spoons are great. My husband likes the burger a lot. Fish specials at dinner have been great. The steaks are hit and miss. The fries are greasy and limp.

The wine list is great - they've got a great selection of lesser known wines, and the ones we pick because they're new to us have been excellent.

The service is also hit or miss - there's an evil woman who mans the outdoor seating early on Sundays for brunch I wish they'd replace (we just go elsewhere when we see her). You will at some point wait 45 minutes for bread, water, the cheque, etc, and will end up flagging down any random person to get what you're looking for. Our last meal there both the ketchup and bread arrived after we had finished (as in plates cleared) brunch.

The drinks are also not very strong (I'm a small woman and can have 5 with no problem), but they're not as expensive as you'd think given the location/style.

I'm realizing it's totally unclear from this review why I like it (and objectively we probably shouldn't, but we do). The servers are generally nice, we really like the patio, we like the atmosphere inside and we like a lot of the food. Apologies for this not being the most helpful review :)

Nov 02, 2011
yale1999 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)