Showing posts with label Latin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latin. Show all posts

Marked (Toronto)


The temperature is rising in Toronto’s entertainment district as Marked enters with a South American menu focused on dishes created on the grill, essentially a host of barbeque and rotisserie style dishes.

There’s a spark of creativity with the corn ribs ($17) where Marked quarters corn cobs allowing the diner to hold a rib of corn and eat the kernels off like a bone. Thinking about it more, I guess it’s how you would normally a cob, in this case cut smaller so it becomes more manageable bites. Dusted with a chipotle lime salt, make sure you slather some of the whipped queso fresco on top, it gives it a lovely cheesy buttery taste.

Another dish that reminds me of ribs is the dates ($14), which are stuffed with pickled pepper and Manchego cheese, wrapped with smoked bacon, and then grilled. The bacon crisps around the edges and after biting through the smoky meat you’re greeted with a soft date that’s all at once sweet, salty, savoury, and spicy. It’s almost like popping a burnt end in your mouth.

The spicy tuna ceviche ($21) is made with big chunks of fish tossed with a spicy soy marinade, cubes of avocado, and refreshing julienned cucumber and radish. Given it’s a little salty, it is best eaten over the tapioca seaweed crackers, an interesting airy crispy chip that’s like a rice cracker but lighter.

We’re told what makes the guasacaca ($12) a Venezuelan avocado dip that’s different from guacamole is the use of vinegar rather than lime. The difference in taste is rather minor, perhaps a little less citrusy. Nonetheless, the guasacaca is just as creamy and goes nicely with the crispy tortillas. If anything, the extra tortillas are perfect for scooping up the leftover ceviche as there aren’t enough tapioca crackers for all the fish.

While it looks plain, the shrimp a la parilla ($29) has a spicy kick held in the huancaina, a Peruvian spicy cheese sauce, sitting on the bottom. The marinated shrimp is quickly grilled so that it remains plump and juicy, going nicely with the grilled pineapple separating each crustacean.  

The shrimp pairs well with the Brazilian coconut rice ($14), especially if you spoon some of the huancaina onto it for an extra pop of flavour. It’s a more al dente rice that’s studded with goji berries then topped with crispy coconut shavings and chives. I can also see this combining nicely with a grilled meat dish where the juices can permeate into the grains.

I’m generally cautious with ordering roasted Brussels sprouts ($14) as many turn out overcooked and saturated in sauce. Marked leaves half of the sprout unroasted with only the bottom thoroughly caramelized so there’s a nice balance to the vegetable. Topped with sofrito, thick coconut milk and garlic aioli, the recipe is a welcomed change from the bacon and balsamic vinegar combo.

Of all the dishes, the most normal is the fried chicken ($24), the main difference being served with a biquinho sauce (it’s like a less vinegary Buffalo sauce) along with a buttermilk ranch. This is the go-to dish for children or picky eaters who may want to stay away from “exotic” flavours, it’s like an elevated chicken finger that’s juicy and light.

Fairly full, we still ordered the Latin mess ($16) to end. It’s a great dessert for sharing and since it is made up of a lot of coconut whipped cream, it’s not overly heavy. Within the “mess” is coconut namelaka, sponge cake, passionfruit curd, and thin almond brittle pieces, everything surrounding a scoop of passionfruit sorbet. The couple of spoons was just what I needed to satisfy the sweet tooth.

On weekends, Marked offers a bottomless brunch with unlimited food items from a special menu ($100 a person) with the option to add unlimited Prosecco for an additional $20. It’s a promise of two hours of excess where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. Of everything we tried at dinner, only the dates make an appearance on the brunch menu. Perhaps this is my cue to return and delve a little deeper into all the other dishes Marked offers.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 132 John 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:



Baro (Toronto)


Blink and you’ll momentarily think you’ve been transported back to Valdez – a similar long dining room and open concept kitchen along one wall certainly caused a sense of déjà vu for me. Of course, there’s been upgrades: the gorgeous wooden arch at the entrance and the emerald banquette seating a comfortable improvement from the stools used in the former restaurant.

The menu continues to offer Latin American dishes with a twist. The Nikkei ceviche ($26) is an ideal alternative if you’re not a fan of cilantro as nori slivers are used in lieu of the herb. Cilantro is one ingredient you won’t get away from at Baro – luckily, I love its use.

Delicate cubes of Hamachi are seasoned with a tart ponzu and lime mixture with crispy radish slices for interest. Most surprisingly are the tofu cubes and edamame pods mixed with the fish, ingredients not generally found in ceviche but works. In signature Steve Gonzelez fashion, the accompanying chips were made with a delicious root vegetable (in this case lotus root), its saltiness great for scooping up the citrusy concoction or munching on its own.


While the empanadas ($7) actually arrive in a paper bag (a cute presentation that also helps soak up excess oil), you have to see these three bite snacks in their full glory. They’re some of the best empanadas I’ve eaten, the corn meal crust slightly sweet and oh so crispy. Meanwhile, the beef, potato, and peas filling is saucy, but thick enough so the crust doesn’t get soggy. On the side, a spicy aji sauce accompanies for dipping, but I rather enjoy them au natural.


The chicken wings ($12) were slow to arrive, but worth the wait… especially when they’re blistering hot. Each fair-sized wing’s coating is incredibly crispy and tossed in a thick smoky guava barbeque sauce. A must-try for wing lovers.


A great add-on to a salad is the matambre ($15), a 6 oz. piece of flank steak, which can turn the leafy greens into a complete meal. A roughly chopped chimichurri tops the beef, adding a refreshing element to the steak.


If the OG duck chaufa ($35) reminds you of bibimbap, you’re not the only person. Served in a hot stone bowl, sticky rice is mixed with duck confit and Chef Gonzalez’s sweet and beany Papi kung fu 
sauce... it’s bibimbap gone wild. With a smorgasbord of ingredients including edamame, egg, tobiko and bird’s eye chili, there’s plenty of crunch and flavour. Make sure you share the dish amongst at least three people – it’s a rich affair.


For a more balanced meal, the roasted cod ($32) is a great choice. The fish is simply seasoned and cooked to perfection; much of the flavours comes from the spring succotash and light creamy sauce. Then you bite into one of the sizeable octopus croquettes ­- think of them as seafood paella arinicini - oh what a wonderful crunchy and buttery finish.


In my haste to dig into the churros ($7), I forgot to take a picture but they certainly hit the spot – hot sticks of freshly fried dough dusted with enough cinnamon sugar. You could dip to your heart’s content in all the molten dulce de leche, which was salted and perfect for keeping the dessert from getting too sweet.

Baro is a lively atmosphere and I could listen to our waitress describe the dishes all night – imagine Sofía Vergara (Gloria on Modern Family) explaining in passionate detail all the ingredients that make up a dish.

All the herbs and spices is what makes Baro’s food so great! They’re intense and full of flavours: the ceviche has a tartness that commands attention and the chicken wings tossed in a rich sauce that could go toe-to-toe with a Mexican mole. Seductive flavours that make you want to eat up ever last bit of each dish, a Latin love affair with food. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 485 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:


Baro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato