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recs near Sheraton

I gave Forte exactly one chance. The food is pricey and it arrived cold. In this case, I sent it back and got a new version...tepid and odd-tasting. Every time I pass by it, I ask myself, "Is that place still in business?" I guess they have a good location.

Meanwhile, I'd add a thumbs-up for Vertical. The team there cares and, for the most part, executes.

(I think it's odd that there's no thread on what a rip-off Forte is and how good Vertical can be. And no, I don't work for Vertical or have friends there. I just like to eat.)

Nov 12, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca opening soon?

I've been going since they soft-opened. While there have been a few misses (some items arrive lukewarm and I'm neurotic about having items that are meant to be served hot served hot), they score pretty high for me.

They obviously care about the quality of what they send out. Most recently, I had a panini for lunch--a simple thing--but everything, from the bread to the filling to the greens on the plate--was overwhelmingly fresh. Sorry, I know that's not very specific, but every bite had me thinking, "Wow, that's really tasty! Wow, that's really fresh!"

Not trying to damn with faint praise at all, but it's sad that so few places get that freshness is one component of the formula for success.

Oh, and in response to foodgeek82's remark, I've noticed it's getting busier and busier since I started going. Good on 'em, I say.

Nov 12, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ZIN - Really THAT bad?!

Is Zin really that bad? In a word, Yes.

Tried the lunch menu last Saturday. Had the weirdest spring rolls ever--no flavour whatsoever,

I kept looking at them and they kept sending out visual signals that they should taste like something (anything--like spring rolls would have been fine). Ditto with the accompanying plum sauce.

Then I had sweet and sour soup (meh) and kung po chicken (chicken was undercooked so I spooned the sauce onto my noodles, ate the noodles, paid my bill and went off in search of somewhere else to eat).

What really spoiled the meal, though, was that every single water glass I encountered hadn't been washed properly. The one that was part of my setting had a lipstick stain on it. Grabbed one from the nearest table--it was spotty. Asked my waiter for a clean glass, and it wasn't until after I drank out of it that I noticed a lipstick imprint on that one too. The pigment had been dissolved, but the wax was still on it. As my dad would say, Blech.

Nov 12, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Caplanskys on College St - impressions?

I've eaten Zane's food twice.

The first time, at the Monarch, I got a lukewarm knish. I have this quirk about hot food being served hot. If the knish was supposed to be served cold (I'm not an expert on Jewish food), I guess that would have been fine. But tepid food makes me cranky, so fail on the first attempt.

I went to the new digs to check out the chopped liver. It probably isn't fair to compare Zane's to Barney's on Queen West many moons ago, but, man, I wish someone could replicate that.

For these reasons and the others mentioned, I'm not in a hurry to go back to Calansky's. I wish the dude well, but he's not doing it for me.

Oct 08, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Freshii

I was glued to my computer yesterday and thought, What the hey, Freshii can't hurt me. How wrong I was.

The person who took my order seemed pretty on top of things. But the person delivering my burrito called me to ask me if i knew where he was. "Around a lot of nightclubs?" he asked. Sure, I guess; that could describe anywhere downtown.

When my order finally got here, it was cold and it didn't taste very good. In fact, it tasted off, but I can't quite figure out what it was that made it taste so strange. Add that to the fact that Freshii forgot the water that I ordered, and I'm ready to say, "Next time I'm stuck here, I order from Quiznos."

And, FTR, that's what I did today. It was really okay--quite edible--and they remembered my water and the delivery showed up much quicker than I expected. In a pinch, I'll absolutely order from them again. Freshii? Sorry, you blew it.

Oct 08, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca opening soon?

I've had two lunches there since they soft-opened. Both were excellent.

The first consisted of an heirloom tomato salad followed by a veal-based pasta The second was breaded zucchini flowers followed by a pasta made with duck eggs and a duck-meat-based ragu.

Have found Brassaii a bit inconsistent and (sorry) written it off; haven't been to Jacobs' b/c I generally eat out at lunch. That said, Buca has definitely convinced me to go back for more. Friendly, warm, attentive service certainly helps.

So far, so good, dudes. Keep it up! There are few Chow-worthy places to eat in this 'hood, and I'd like to see you succeed, if only for my own selfish reasons.

Oct 08, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for new French restaurant in Toronto.

What about Tati on Harbord?

I had a decent meal there about a year and half ago. Soup and steak as an entree. Can't remember the particulars, but do remember leaving and thinking, "That was pretty good."

Sep 21, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Espresso in the city...

I had a siphon coffee at Sam's today. Whoa. S-m-o-o-t-h--not a hint of acidity nor bitterness--at the same time delightfully complex in flavour. Truly an exceptional brew. Can't comment on the espresso as this was my first time there, but will certainly try it on subsequent visits. Mr. James knows his stuff.

Not to mention he poached my fave baristo from Dark Horse on Spadina. If you're hankering for a latte, go to Sam's and ask Thomas to make one for you. Maybe they're long-time buds, or maybe Sam is just plain smart; I have no idea. Either way, we're lucky to have two genius coffee-makers in one place, even if it's a little off the beaten track.

Aser, I checked Wikipedia to see what you meant by Otaku-esque, and I guess whatever, okay, to each his own. Personally, I care about people who make good food or drink. If Mr. James is obsessed about good coffee, so be it. Life's too short for bad coffee.

Sep 21, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Terroni- disappointing experience

Don't bother, Pincus, unless you like raw pie crust.

I'd have a lot more respect for their no substitutions/no extra cheese/no cheese with seafood rules if they were based on something more than food portioning/food cost analyses.

If you're going to pretend your rules are based on some romantic notion of southern boot authenticity, at least have the decency to pretend enough to cook your food before sending it out of the kitchen.

Aug 28, 2009
suzeo in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

A Plea to Chefs: What's With the Consistently Cold Food?

Local foodie fed up with with cold dishes served at "hot" restaurants.

I eat out every day, and I'm exhausted by so-called better restaurants that continue to deliver dishes that are supposed to be served hot served tepid. I know Toronto's a cold city, but this is just silly.

It occurs to me that I should probably just start cooking for myself. Up until now, I thought it was too much trouble (time=money), but very few places seem to be able to get it right, so I might as well save myself some $$$.

i don't understand why so many chefs insist on sending out lukewarm food. I know I'm fussy and a bit weird, but I tip well and, believe it or not, recommend places to pals. Don't you have a fixed overhead? Wouldn't it help to have a regular customer who helped out a bit with the rent?

If not and you don't want me there, c'est la vie. But I heard there's a recession on, and I would think champions, not complainers, would help just now.

May 28, 2009
suzeo in General Topics