Showing posts with label Crab cakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crab cakes. Show all posts

Planta (Toronto)


As an animal and food lover I feel torn: indulging in food seems to mean harming my other love. While I admire those who are vegetarian, it’s a dietary change that swings too far to the left for me. For now, my concession, to alleviate some guilt, is to go meat-less Monday to Thursdays, with some exceptions. Having done it for a few weeks now, it’s not difficult to accomplish. Especially since Toronto has been graced with several meatless restaurants over the last few years. 

Planta opened back in 2016, making news as it was started by Chef David Lee, who’s other restaurants Nota Bene and Carbon Bar (the later he has since split ties), don’t exactly scream vegetarian. It was one of the first of the first meatless restaurants that was trendy, with the higher price points to match. Their menu consists of sharable options, also main plates and salad bowls for those who want their own meal. Most dishes are very small, so for a table of two, you’ll want two mains plus a couple smaller dishes.


To get to the citrus soy used in the watermelon poke ($13.95), you really need to dig to the bottom; without the sauce the dish merely tastes like you’re having watermelon salad with avocado. Even with a bit of the soy it doesn’t seem poke-like - ours arrived missing the shredded nori, a pretty but stale rice paper chip substituted instead. Perhaps with crispy shredded nori, some seaweed salad, and sesame seeds the dish would be more reminiscent of poke. For now, it’s best described as a refreshing watermelon salad.


Having had coconut ceviche ($14.25) at a second location now, it seems strange that no one cuts it into cubes, which would be closer to how actual ceviche is made. Instead, the young coconut is served in slices making it difficult to combine with other ingredients. While I enjoyed the restrained acidity and dusting of corn nuts in the dish, there was way too much cucumber on top that it felt like I was eating a cucumber and coconut salad versus ceviche.


A must-order dish is Planta’s cauliflower tots ($10.50). They are fantastic crispy hot nuggets of cauliflower mixed with a truffle nut “parmesan” with a truffle almond cream on top. If you’re a fan of arancini, these are similar bite-sized tastes of creamy heaven.


The heart of palm used in the “crab” cakes ($20.50) gives the dish that flaky consistency you’d expect from crab cakes. Of course, they didn’t have the seafood essence of real crab, but still delicious with the light crispy panko crust and delicate texture. A lovely creamed lentil mixture sits at the bottom, infused with coconut milk for a hint of richness.


While the smoked tofu ricotta sounds interesting in the eggplant lasagna ($22.95), the smokiness throws the entire dish off. Moreover, it had a strong licorice flavour along with an earthy spice (perhaps cinnamon or cloves) that wasn’t called out on the menu. Having a distain for licorice, this is one dish I’ll pass on in the future.


The awful seasoning aside, the lasagna could have been good, the dish switching out noodles for thinly sliced eggplant and the tofu does mimic the ricotta texture with cashew crema added to smooth out the texture. I also enjoyed the tendrils of zucchini noodles, providing a refreshing crispy texture to the dish.

A healthy brunch calls for a healthy drink. Sadly, I think I went too far with the fields of green ($8.95) cold pressed juice. The menu notes it contains apple and lemon but the entire mixture really tasted like a salad in drink form – one that has tons of celery and could even pass as a Bloody Mary. Next time, I’ll stick with the suggested Planta punch instead.


With plant-based dishes as good as Planta, I could make do without meat. Alas, it’s impossible to eat at the restaurant for every meal; but at least it makes Monday to Thursday (and even an odd weekend) much tastier and saves an animal friend.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1221 Bay Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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:

Planta Toronto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Fring's Revisited (Toronto)


My last visit to Fring’s was shortly after it opened. After hearing all the hype about the restaurant, I had to experience it in person, secretly hoping to get a glimpse of Drake. Since that first weeknight visit was so busy and loud, I readied myself for a night of drinking and music. Strangely, this return Friday visit was much quieter: we were seated at the bar (surrounding areas had some empty tables) and there was no live performance. Alas, there was still no Drake.

The menu has completely changed and now offers more items. Arriving as crispy golden spheres, the crab cakes ($24) were delicious with plenty of lump crab meat and not much other filler. The sweet seafood was the dominant taste with an herby tomatillo verde and cooling sour cream for contrast. It’s a great starter to share or something to nibble on even if you're there just for drinks.  


In fact, they have a few good options for sharing. The beef short rib tacos ($16) also arrive four to an order and incorporate a fair amount of juicy tender beef held in a crispy wonton shell. Unlike other tacos that tend to be messy, Fring’s was easier to devour as it relied less on sauces for flavouring and more on ingredients like creamy avocado, spicy mango pineapple salsa, sour cream, and a slice of red chili.


While the actual grilled skirt steak ($28) was merely decent – unfortunately, the meat was overdone and the flavours somewhat covered by the chimichurri and thick slices of red pepper - the accompanying Parmesan polenta “croutons” were delectable like a traditional crispy polenta but much creamier and cheesier. 


We had added a side of quinoa crusted onion rings ($10), thinking they’d go great with the steak. At first glance, they looked good – plenty of crispy crust and not overly oily. Then when you bite in and are met with the mealy tasteless crust, the perception changes. When I slathered enough chilli mint yogurt chutney on the onion ring it was a bit better, too bad there was so little of the condiment. Note to self: quinoa and onion rings do not mix.


Thankfully, the tried and true roasted Brussels sprouts ($12) didn’t disappoint. There was enough bacon to make it sinful while still keeping the dish predominantly vegetables, the pearl onions providing a bit of sweetness, and to cut through the typical sweet maple glaze was a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme.


One dish that just wouldn’t arrive was the grilled octopus ($26). Unlike my previous dinner experience at Fring’s, our waitress kept an eye on the dish, coming by to provide us with updates. In the meantime, she provided complimentary truffle fries ($20) and another order of crab cakes (likely from hearing our moans of deliciousness) to keep us placated. Upon receiving the fries, I realized why a side of spuds would cost $20. In lieu of truffle oil, the chefs dust on real black truffles instead. Along with the Parmesan cheese, it makes for flavourful fries!


In the end, we decided to replace the octopus with fried chicken and waffles ($26); plate after plate kept whizzing by so they seemed popular and looked tasty. Although the chicken were pieces of boneless chicken breast, they were still tender; the batter spiced enough for taste, but could still handle the sweet and spicy maple syrup glaze.


The Hong Kong egg waffle was cold and soft, not terrible but definitely doesn’t do the accompaniment justice. Note to restaurants: if you’re going to use the bubble waffle, these need to be made-to-order as it really doesn’t lend itself to sitting around.

As a nice gesture, due to the long wait for the octopus, Fring’s also gave us the replacement chicken and waffles on a complimentary basis. Needless to say, we left terribly full (the walk back to a car a welcomed exercise to help start digest the mass of food), since the one octopus dish was replaced with three heavier items.

Compared to the first dinner, service has improved – staff were more attentive and there were no delays at clearing dirty dishes. Of course, due to waiting around for the octopus, dinner wasn’t a shorter affair (the meal still lasted three hours), but on a weekend I don’t mind hanging out over another drink … with or without Drake.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 445 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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:



Fring's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato