Showing posts with label The Shore Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Shore Club. Show all posts

The Shore Club Revisited (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 155 Wellington Street West
Type of Meal: Dinner

Having recently returned to the Shore Club (read about Winterlicious experience here), one thing is for sure - their impeccable service has not changed. Once again our waiter, John, was extremely friendly, service was always attentive and our courses served in unison. They have done away with the black vs. white napkins, but this is likely due to switching to a lint free supplier. In terms of their environment and attention to customers there are no complaints here. 

During this visit I ordered off their regular menu and decided to go with the fish options given the restaurant is named the Shore Club. Alas, they may not be adequately named as my husband's meat-based dishes were definitely the better choice of the evening.

To start, I had the fish tartare trio ($19), which from left to right consisted of tuna, sea bass and salmon. The tuna was my favourite given it had the most taste from being marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil with chopped green onions mixed throughout. The salmon, combined with mayonnaise and dill, provided traditional flavours and was decent but did require some added salt table side.

My husband and I both agreed that the sea bass needed improvement – being such a neutral fish it had the opportunity to take on great flavours! Yet the chef did nothing so that it was essentially chopped up pieces of tasteless fish. It would have been nice to build on the fish's profile with citrus, chili and/or fresh fruit to give it a ceviche feel (a nice contrast to the other two offerings). The highlight of the Shore Club's fish tartare was the abundance of crostini provided; an adequate a number of pieces accompanied the dish so there was plenty of bread for the fish in the order.

In contrast, my husband's steak tartare ($18) was one of the better versions I've had in Toronto. Traditionally made with pickles, horseradish and onions it was well flavoured and a great consistency. Made with a good cut of tenderloin the tartare became soft and creamy, but the horseradish and maybe mustard mix throughout really deepen the taste nicely to complement the beef. As a warning, this is a fairly heavy dish so consider sharing it.  Combined with a salad it could have been a meal in itself! 

Continuing with the fish theme, my main was the stuffed rainbow trout ($31). I was flabbergasted with the portion of fish received; seriously, it was an entire deboned fish. If only it was cooked less it would have been better as I found the fish was starting to become dry. Additionally, it needed more stuffing as I really couldn't taste much of the dungeness crab or shrimp within the fish. Perhaps, the Shore Club should consider adding vegetables into the stuffing to provide moisture when cooking the fish as well as some contrasting textures and flavors. All in all, I enjoyed the deboned fillet and piping hot temperature the fish arrived in, just the doneness and flavours need to be tweaked.

My husband kept it simple and went with the bone-in rib steak ($42). I have to admit it's hard to go wrong with meat with plenty of fat marbleization and a bone to add flavor. My suggestion, if you go to the restaurant, is to stick with meat as they seem to prepare it better. Unlike our previous visit, the steak was cooked evenly so whatever problems the cooking surface was experiencing before seems to have been fixed. The meat could've been cut thicker, but it’s a personal preference (I'd rather have a thicker than wider steak) and could have been a better quality as we did find there was a fair amount of it that was simply too grizzly and hard to cut into.

Sorry but forgot to snap pictures of the sides. As a table we ordered green beans ($10), the steakhouse fries ($8), scalloped potatoes ($10) and mashed potatoes ($9) to share. You can refer to my previous post for thoughts on the green beans and fries. Of the other potato dishes the mashed definitely had the better flavour profile and was fluffy and well salted. The scalloped potatoes showed promise, they were cooked to a nice consistency, but was bland as it seemed the cream sauce didn't have much salt in it at all.

It's fairly surprising that the Shore Club seems to do better with Winterlicious. For the amount paid for the meal, I was disappointed with the offering as many dishes simply lacked much flavor or interest. Admittedly, the portion sizes are much bigger, but I would much rather have a smaller but better tasting dish.

Sadly, my opinion of the restaurant actually decreased since coming back for the regular menu (awarded a 7 for Winterlicious but only a 6 for this visit). Thankfully, the attentive and friendly service was still alive and that is something (along with portion sizes) that the Shore Club will always have going for it.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - 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!

The Shore Club (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 155 Wellington Street West
Type of Meal: Dinner

The Shore Club, situated beside the Ritz Carlton, is surprisingly spacious.  The enormous restaurant is split into smaller areas using wooden walls adorned with artwork and backlit decorations, which makes each section cozy despite its size.  

As we settled into the plush velvet booths, the hostess whisked away the white napkin in front of me and handed me a black one instead.  It's only later my friends and I start noticing some have white napkins while others have black... what is causing this?  Not being able to decipher a pattern we finally ask our waiter.  It's simple, it depends on your clothing - people wearing dark clothes are given the black napkin - so that any lint that may be left on your clothing will not be noticeable.  Genius!  And it's this attention to detail that sets the Shore Club's service above the many other restaurants across Toronto.

The service that night was exemplary.  Despite being a table of nine, five staff members served each course to ensure we could all start eating at the same time.  Moreover, I cannot remember once in the night when my wine or water glass was ever empty.  After the disappointing service at my last two meals, refer to Lucien and Urraca Resto Lounge blogs, it was refreshing to go to a place that does it right!  We were even served warm, freshly baked bread for free (once again refer to Lucien).

I chose the arugula, pear and brie salad to start.  The poached pear was beautifully presented and was a great texture (not too soft) and flavour (not too sweet).  It would have been nice if the pear was warmed up to compliment the cold brie and arugula.  But, overall was a good salad and tossed in the perfect amount of dressing. 

My first bite into the New York striploin presented mixed emotions; I was happy with all the flavours of the grainy mustard rub and wonderful steak jus, but disappointed that my steak was overdone.  After giving away slices to my husband and continuing to eat, I realized that the remaining two thirds of the steak were cooked well.  After trying some of my husband's halibut, which I thought was nicely cooked albeit a tad under seasoned, he commented on how his fish was also overcooked on one side only.  So, it appears, the Shore Club may have some issues with its cooking surface or warming areas that is causing one side to cook faster than the other. 

Nonetheless, the meal was good.  The beluga lentils at the bottom of the halibut were great and soaked up the romesco sauce.  You can imagine them to taste like a cheesy barley risotto, except a bit firmer.  The sides that accompany our mains were served table style so we were able to mix and share: 
  • The green beans were great - thin and crispy;
  • The steamed broccoli is exactly as it sounds, a bit bland and boring; and
  • The steak house fries were disappointing and tasted like the frozen McCain variety.
To complete the meal, we pretty much all had the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. I loved it! The warm toffee cake itself was surprisingly light and not too dense. I enjoyed that the caramel sauce was poured around the cake so that it didn't become too sweet.  As always, nothing goes better with a warm dessert as some rich, cold vanilla ice cream.

After this visit, I went back to the restaurant for their normal menu, visit my more recent post for my thoughts on this visit.

Is Winterlicious worth it?

As a special feature to the Winterlicious blogs, I will attempt to calculate the savings being offered (based on my meal selection).   

Winterlicious - $45

Regular menu - $68 - salad* ($10), striploin steak ($40), side of green beans ($8) and toffee pudding* ($10) 

Savings - $23 or 34%

* The salad and toffee pudding aren't on their regular menu; prices based on similar dish

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

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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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