Showing posts with label French fries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French fries. Show all posts

Toronto Beach Club (Toronto)

Thank you to Jjjiffy for this image

In high school, when I used to frequent Ashridge’s Bay, no one arrived dressed-to-impress to walk along the boardwalk. That’s all seemed to have changed now that Toronto Beach Club has opened. Walk past the bouncer and you’re transported into a well-healed tropical paradise; where the volleyball courts disappear behind foliage and it seems normal, even essential, to pop some bubbly on the beach.

You can’t go wrong with one of their hot mezze that comes with a grilled pita to start. The bread arrives hot and fresh, puffed to perfection so that it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, dusted with spices. They accompany the smoked eggplant ($16), a decent portion of warm soft legume that would have been amazing if the walnut and olive relish weren’t so sour that even the pomegranate molasses’ sweetness couldn’t balance it out. Maybe it’s me, but I prefer my eggplant savoury.

Their jamon iberico ($36) was sliced into respectable sized slices, the prized pig’s cured slightly sweet essence bursting on the tongue. Not quite a melt-in-your-mouth as what you’ll find in Spain, these were nonetheless tasty and worth a nibble if you appreciate a good charcuterie.

Of the three starters the sea bream crudo ($21) was my favourite. Thick meaty slices of white fish topped with citrus caviar (segments of finger lime) and chili sitting in what looks like a fiery olive oil but is rather delicate. The crudo was perfectly seasoned and wonderfully tasty, a lovely summery dish to enjoy while sitting outdoors.

Toronto Beach Club’s lamb chops ($45 for the half order shown) were cooked perfectly. So, it’s such a shame that they were too salty and requires some tableside knife skills. The seasoning needs to be toned down as the outer chops made me reach for water and since the marinated yogurt was also salted, together they were way too much. It’d be nice if the kitchen also considers the table size when finishing the dish: our four chops were only cut in half for a 3-top, which means you need to portion them yourself when they arrive. It likely helps the meat retain its heat and juices better, but it’s also a bit difficult to cut through the chops on a big platter with all the yoghurt and garnishes. The age-old joke of “how many people does it take to…?”, let me just say it is not one.

Thank you to Parv for this picture

Where they really excelled was the grilled seafood. Their fileted black sea bass ($36) had such a lovely, charbroiled exterior and was still delicately done inside. While it comes with a choice of sauce (we chose the harissa butter), it’s fantastic by itself.

Sides need to be ordered separately and are more than sufficient to share amongst three. The French fries ($12) are a safe choice – nice and crisp, dusted with oregano and salt and comes with truffle aioli for dipping. Yet, what really caught our attention was the grilled broccolini ($19): cooked until crisp and covered with pecorino-ramano, pangrattato, and calabrain chili creating such a lovely almost creamy sauce with a hit of heat to end. Do get yourself some greens.

Just make sure to save room for dessert as their baklava ($12-$15) is a must. I love that it wasn’t soaked in syrup, rather the perfect amount to add sweetness but still leave the puff pastry crispy and not oily feeling. The two pieces are sandwiched between a frozen cream layer. If this isn’t the ultimate ice cream sandwich, I don’t know what is. The strawberry crostata ($12-$15) paired nicely with it – the pastry a cross between a shortbread and cake and topped with ample sweet strawberries and a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We all agreed that dinner at Toronto Beach Club is probably the most ideal time to visit. The temperature is not overly warm and it’s such a lovely experience to transition from evening into night. There was even a live Spanish band performing during our Wednesday visit, the women’s lovely vocals the perfect addition to the meal.

Thank you to Parv for this image

While the after-meal service can get a little backed up, the entertainment and atmosphere kept us happy while we waited for the verbal dessert menu to be presented. Wait aside, even with the pandemic you won’t feel rushed at the restaurant, the two-and-a-half hour seating times is sufficiently long enough to leisurely enjoy the meal. I certainly won’t be visiting Greece or the equator anytime soon. Until then, Toronto Beach Club will give me the tropical fix I need to transport myself out of Toronto. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1681 Lake Shore Boulevard East


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!


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Prime on Avenue (Toronto)


Kosher steakhouses are rare in Toronto. So, when the legendary Barberian opened Prime of Avenue, a Cor certified kosher eatery, along the suburb stretch of uptown Toronto, it’s large gleaming black sign and swanky interior certainly caught my attention. Just be mindful of their operating hours: in keeping with Shabbat customs, Prime is closed on Friday and Saturday, days that are generally busy days for other restaurants.

Their page of appetizers enticed; indeed, diners can easily mix-and-match these smaller plates to make a full meal. The pulled brisket tacos ($26) are ideal if you’re in the mood for beef but in smaller portions. Two flour shells were stuffed with chunks of flavourful and tender brisket, pico de gallo, guacamole and pickled onions. Pieces of smoked potato chips, placed on a top, were an excellent addition enhancing the otherwise soft savoury tacos with some crunch.


Although the eggplant ($20) sounded like a lighter dish, the roasted eggplant was roasted with so much oil that it became so crispy you’d swear it’s deep fried. Regardless, if you don’t mind the oiliness, the starter has fantastic flavours: the creamy eggplant layered with nutty tahini, crunchy pine nuts, and sweet pomegranate. These were all roasted together so the tahini was warm and the flavours melted into the eggplant.


With such a strong start to the meal, the execution of our main, a cote de boeuf ($85), was a letdown. At first glance, the huge 22oz bone-in rib steak looked impressive, with beautiful sear marks and a nicely caramelized surface. It was also a wise decision to share the main, as the actual bone was not overly thick so we were left with a substantial portion of beef. However, upon cutting through the “medium rare” steak, it’d be better classified as a poorly done blue. While the outer ring was seared and cooked through, the centre was very rare, to the point that it was difficult to cut through and I could smell and taste the rareness. Note to Prime: the metallic taste of half-cooked beef is awful and the slightly off smell is even worse.


Rarely do I return dishes to the kitchen, but in this instance it was inedible. Steak is only good when it’s prepared correctly, so I politely asked for it to be re-fired. In about 10 minutes it was returned and nicely re-plated. At that point, it was an actual medium rare steak. Sadly, even with it cooked correctly, it wasn’t great. The steak was barely seasoned and lacked flavour. Perhaps it’s because Prime provides sauce on the side and I should have told them I wouldn’t actually be using any of it. My personal preference is to keep it simple with a nice piece of meat – salt and pepper is all you need to avoid covering up the meat’s natural flavours. It was especially disappointing since Barberian is known for their great rub. Surely, this can be shared with Prime?   

Moreover, the 28 days aged Black Angus tasted pretty young - if that's the proper way to describe aged meats – and didn’t have that depth of flavour you’d expect from the cut. While it was still good, it was nowhere close to the Barberian fame; if I closed my eyes, I’d swear I’d be eating at the Keg.

Steaks do arrive with a small portion of bone marrow, which also needed more seasoning but was thankfully cooked through. It went nicely smeared on a piece of toasted baguette that comes with their complimentary bread and pickle starter, such a staple at traditional steakhouses. In an effort to reduce food waste, Prime should consider decreasing the portion size of the platter and simply ask diners if they’d like a re-fill if it’s been picked clean.


The sides ($10 each) were good, especially the onion rings, which were nice and chunky with a lovely crispy coating. The sautéed green beans, spinach, and swiss chard with scallions puree was a great combination and cooked nicely so the vegetables retained their freshness. Our table had mixed thoughts on the French fries. Generally, they’d be better if the potatoes were cut thinner and then double fried (as they weren’t overly crispy and tasted almost baked).


While Prime on Avenue doesn't tout itself as a steakhouse, its connection to Barberian can’t stop me from judging it as one. It makes the average cote de boeuf seem worse, which is such a shame as everything else was actually very tasty. Nonetheless, the restaurant is a welcomed addition to Avenue and I’ll likely return to try their burger, salmon, or perhaps a collection of appetizers. But, the steak, no thanks.  

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1960 Avenue Road

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:



Love Chix @ Assembly Chef's Hall (Toronto)


Dining with a group with very different tastes? Assembly Chef's Hall combines a number of Toronto's restaurants into one area… sort of like Harrod’s food hall or Eataly. Laid out as two seating areas with the restaurants in the centre, make sure to specify the zone you’re sitting in when meeting friends, otherwise finding each other may be difficult. The dining rooms offer comfortable leather chairs and sturdy wooden tables; it feels like you’re eating in a restaurant, you’ll just need to get your own food. Each room also has a bar, where drinks are also grab and go.


In terms of eateries, The Good Son’s freshly made pizza was popular during a weeknight visit. The mini Kao San Road and Los Colibris stalls also peaked my interest, but I decided to go with something I haven’t had before. That’s when Love Chix’s colourful sign and fried food aroma lured me over. Indeed, it may have also been due to a monstrous fried chicken sandwich sitting at the pass. It looked so good that I had to get my hands on some fried chicken.


The three-piece ($14) with a side of French fries ($3) arrived freshly made with thick house-made ketchup.  I loved the sauce on the chicken, the hot and sweet sauce melted into the juicy chicken meat. Be forewarned, the pieces are small (the three-piece consisted of two drum sticks and a boneless wing); if you’re even remotely hungry, go with the five-piece. While the fries were good at first, after 5-minutes they got stale fast. It made me have eater's regret for not ordering the fried Brussel sprouts.


My friends opted for Resto Boemo instead. The rich truffle gnocchi ($18), which was a hefty portion, was too soft for my taste. If the pasta isn't your thing, their burger with truffle Parmesan fries smelled heavenly.


Overall, Assembly Chef’s Hall is a great concept, but a few improvements would make it even better.
  • Sadly, many restaurants still used disposable containers. With a shared space like a food hall, I would have thought they’d invest in communal plates and cutlery – if Eaton Centre can do it, surely it is possible at Assembly! Mother Nature will thank us later.
  • There’s no way of indicating a table is occupied, which means unless it’s the winter and you have coats, someone needs to stay behind to claim the space. Since looking around and waiting for your food to be prepared takes time, it generally means a full half hour passes before everyone is back at the table. A simple vacant/occupied sign at the table, like Marche, would help.
  • Lastly, for an eatery connected to Google, I would have thought it’d be more technologically advanced. It was a bit annoying you pay at each station (including separately at the bar). They have launched an app, but judging by the reviews, it hasn’t been helping with the ordering and payment process. Tweeks are required.
It is nice that you’re able to stay for as long as you please; while there are staff who clear the table, no one bothers you to leave. Hearing it gets very busy during lunch, it wasn’t too packed in the evening (easiest for tables of four or less). Although on my next visit, I’m aiming to go back for Tachi, the stand-up omakase sushi bar from Chef Jackie Lin. For that, you don’t even need a table.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Richmond 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:

Love Chix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bar Reyna (Toronto)

With all the accolades Bar Isabel and Bar Raval have racked up, don't be mistaken, Bar Reyna is not part of the fold. While the prior restaurants are known for their excellent sharing plates, I’d consider Bar Reyna edible at best.

The mini empanadas ($6) should really just be called puff pastry triangles … the chorizo filling described on the menu was non-existent. Similarly, the sea bass ceviche ($15) lacked fish but incorporated so much sweet potato. Its most prominent flavour was citrus - somehow it drown out the red onion, mint, and jalapeno – with a hits you at the back of your throat level of acidity. 


On weekdays from 4-7pm they offer a selection of drinks and small plates for $7. The white wine, a decent sized glass of Thalia Sauvignon Blanc, is a steal. The food, on the other hand … well you get what you pay for.

The spinach and feta borek, the Turkish version of spanakopita, is really the famous Greek pastry without any garlic or herbs - basically the ingredients that make it delicious. Like the empanadas, the zucchini fritters simply tasted like crispy dough, it seriously needed more squash.


Of the specials, their French fries were the best, but much too thin if you’re not actually pairing it with steak. On the bright side, the one dish of fries seemed to last a lifetime and the yoghurt dip was quite tasty.


To be fair, not all the food was bad. The chicken shawarma ($30) incorporated large chunks of juicy chicken breast and tons of fixings (bird's eye chili, various pickles, crispy onions, cherry tomato salsa, and a lackluster tahini). The grilled soft doughy house made flatbreads were nice but we definitely needed more than three – why they’re served as an odd number is strange; after all, most tables consist of two or four people, so the three wraps is difficult to split.


The most surprising dish was the persimmon Greek salad ($10). I’m normally impressed with salad, but it was such a great idea to grill the sweet fruit and serve it warm with radicchio and kale. The poppy seed dressing was well balanced and the light feta as creamy as goat’s cheese.



Maybe I’m being too hard on Bar Reyna. For its swanky Cumberland address, the restaurant’s prices are affordable and you’re not scared to place another order. Too bad their food just isn’t that good. Oh well, maybe the few more you order is just another $7 glass of wine.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 158 Cumberland 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:


Bar Reyna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato