Canyon Creek's Chef Table (Toronto)

Foodies know that being invited to sit at the Chef’s table is a treat - getting to speak to the Chef and being fed an exclusive menu are just a couple of the perks of this honour. To my surprise, Canyon Creek, a casual upscale dining chain from the same corporation that operates Reds, also has this special table… just become a member of the “Canyon Club” to get the invites (refer to the end of the post for details).

Each menu differs and consists of dishes generally reserved as secret menu items, created for Winterlicious/Summerlicious, or completely new concoctions featured at the event.  Just expect a multi-course meal (in this case six dishes) complete with global wine pairings curated by Constellation Brands for only $50! I have signed up for the club in hopes of being invited back to enjoy another dinner with my friends.

To begin, a selection of charcuterie nibbles with a lightly oaked Ravenswood Chardonnay. There was a variety of cheeses: a creamy Ontario brie, a harder crumbly zamorano and a lovely wood fired smoked cheese, each adding different dimensions to the wine. The thinly shaved meats (jamón & chorizo Ibérico and bresaola) were salty and delicious, especially the jamón ibérico that had such a rich sweet smoky essence blending into the thin layer of fat. Chef Dorian King was smart to keep the olives (cerignola and arbequinas) milder as to not over power the charcuterie. 

I’d happily order the jicama shrimp tacos again (Canyon Creek please offer it regularly, a special summer menu perhaps)? What a bright dish! The crunchy jicama shell (a root vegetable having the light sweetness of apples but the texture of potatoes) topped with smooth avocado, pickled onions, and a barely cooked through shrimp with a ceviche quality. The tacos certainly has some heat from jalapeno and the sriracha crema, but the grapefruit segment helped calm everything.

The Alberta bison carpaccio was rather delicate, serving the lean cut of meat raw was an ideal choice. Despite looking so small, the dollops of Kolzig’s triple crunch mustard and fried capers were packed with flavours to incorporate into the neutral carpaccio. The dish was the secret menu item for December and January – Chef King gave me the scoop that in March it will be a s’mores brownie with chocolate ganache, torched marshmallows, peacan crumble and whisky cherries.

Winter seems to be the season for beets: Canyon Creek using colourful ones in the base of the salad with whimsical candy cane slivers on top. At first I couldn’t see how the “goat cheese” description worked into the dish, until Chef King explained that the ingredient was made into a creamy coulis sitting on the bottom of the dish – how inventive.

Yet, I could hear the sigh of satisfaction when the steak was presented … sure it’s served with the tried and true mashed potatoes and crispy asparagus spears, but why mess with such a good combination? Although the steak appeared very rare, it was wonderful – flowing with juices and incorporating the succulence one expects from filet mignon.

The meaty portabella cap on the side was topped with ample amounts of sweet buttery lobster to add a touch of decadence.  A rendition of this dish with a 7 oz. sirloin, in replacement of the filet mignon ($31.65), is available at their Sherway Garden location if you’d like to try it for yourself.

Given I’ve started dabbling into matching wine with food, it was a treat to understand the thought process Mike German, representative from Constellation Brands, goes through when deciding what to pair with dishes. For example, with the leaner bison choosing a Vintage Ink Merlot Cabernet as to not overpower the meat, opting for the Inniskillin Pinot Noir (rather than a typical white wine) with the beet salad as the fat of the goat cheese can still hold up against the red, or serving Ruffino Prosecco to end because who doesn’t like some sparkly to finish?

After draining the last of the wine and feeling sufficiently stuffed and happy, we ended off with a jar of the potted blueberry cheesecake. The cream cheese was thoroughly whipped with sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla to make it much lighter, giving it a custard-like consistency. I rather liked the honey graham cracker crumbs, even though it took some work to get to the bottom.

Chef King loves participating in the Chef Table events, he notes they present “the opportunity to provide our guests with a unique experience at an incredible value. We put extra care and detail into the planning and execution of these events and usually add more ‘touches’ than what would normally be ‘executable’ on an everyday basis.” Certainly, I was impressed with the presentation that evening.

Being a curious person about the preparation and ingredient combinations, having the Chef walking around and answering queries was a treat. Chef King agrees, “It’s a pleasure meeting our guests and conversing with them about food and life. I usually find that people are very open to hearing about the ingredients, preparation and origins of the dishes, which I love to share and most Chefs love to talk about.”

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 156 Front Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -

Gastro World's Grading System
  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Canyon Creek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato