Showing posts with label brown butter gnocchi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brown butter gnocchi. Show all posts

CRU (Toronto)


LBS has switched out their three letters for three new ones … CRU. With the change, the menu’s morphed from similarly priced seafood options to a more standard format. No worries, their spacious banquette seating environment and large bar still remains.


CRU’s menu now straddles a variety of proteins and cultures. Items such as the burrata ($19) and brown butter gnocchi ($23) have an Italian influence, although updated with different spices. The burrata is covered with a date compote, honey, tangy za’atar seasoning, and tons of micro greens to give the creamy cheese a Middle Eastern flair. It’s rather refreshing, but better suited for summer months; I was craving something more comforting and sinful.


The brown butter gnocchi ($23) was more satisfying – well flavoured plump soft nuggets in a savoury brown butter sauce with earthy chestnuts, crunchy lightly pickled cauliflower, and briny capers thrown in. The gnocchi is a richer dish and works well for sharing.


Their starters are the more adventurous options. Thumbnail sized caviar doughnuts (complimentary order shown below; normal order is $16) takes a dense cake batter and glazes it with sweet crème fraiche. It’s kept savoury by decorating the pastry with radish, chives, and, of course, caviar. If you like sweet and salty combinations, this one will blow the typical bacon and maple glaze version out of the water.


I was actually fooled by the vegan ‘nduja (complimentary order shown below; normal order is $11) where the spicy salty spread did taste like the pork version – the only difference being it was much smoother. Topped on crispy grilled bread, slices of pickled fennel and dill were a good attempt to balance out the powerful spread. If the smokiness was toned down a bit, the ‘nduja may be even better.  


CRU’s mains were definitely what impressed our table with the aged duck breast ($29) being the favourite. The combination of gamey duck meat, thin sliver of fat, and well rendered crispy skin made for a tasty bite. As the juices and fat melded together on my taste buds, I instantly wanted another bite. Paired with soft confit squash and some pumpkin seed crumble, the dish definitely had a fall/winter flair.


Some people may find the Angus striploin ($33) a tad chewy but I enjoyed the well seared crust and deep beef flavours. Even the glazed celeriac, paired with the dish, was a treat. Usually the root vegetable is served in a puree form, its flavours diluted by cream, butter, or stock. Left whole, so that its natural tastes were prevalent, it made for an interesting side - imagine something that has the texture of turnip but the after taste of celery.


While we knew not to expect Chabrol caliber apple tart tatin ($10), the deconstructed version was a letdown. There was way too much cinnamon apple filling and the puff pastry is better described as thin crispy wafers than pastry. Good luck trying to spoon any of the compote or ice cream onto the thick spoon provided. The dessert was disappointing and messy.


Go for the millionaire’s tart ($12) instead. Indeed, it’s a rich dessert given it’s constructed with chocolate ganache, caramel, and hazelnut ice cream. But, the ganache is made with dark chocolate so the sugariness of the tart is restrained. It was lusciously flavourful and left my taste buds feeling like a million bucks.


In general, CRU’s dishes are packed with flavours. Each element on the plate holds its own and together packs a powerful punch. It’s certainly a change from the safe fare at LBS. CRU food is here to make a statement.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 100 Yonge Street

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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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CLOSED: Table 21 Kitchen & Wine Bar (Toronto)

When I first entered Table 21 a feeling of déjà vu settled over me. The restaurant was certainly new, I’ve never dined there before, but the dining room looked so familiar. Thankfully, almost all my meals are well documented on Gastro World, so upon looking up the west end Toronto restaurants, I realize Table 21 replaced Stratosphere Gastrolounge, and with it the menu has gone from upscale pub fare to stick-to-your-ribs Italian.

With heavier mains, my husband and I both decided to stick with salads to start. The caprese ($12) was simple but used fresh ingredients: the beef steak tomato was juicy and ripe, the mozzarella cheese fresh so it had a nice soft chewiness, and there was just enough pesto to add interest to the salad. While the Caesar ($10) had a light coating of dressing, don’t let the lack of cream sauce fool you; the salad was still flavourful with a particularly strong parmesan kick (albeit lighter on the garlic so wasn’t overpowering).


In the mood for a meatless dinner, the asparagus risotto ($18) was a good choice. The rice’s consistency was spot on – incorporating enough broth so it was creamy and not a thick paste, but not oversaturated as to become a stew – and there were sufficient asparagus pieces mixed throughout for crunch. More shaved parmesan would make the dish even better, especially since it was under seasoned (luckily, there was salt at the table so the dish was easily improved).

Table 21 Toronto asparagus risotto

While the brown butter gnocchi ($18) smelt heavenly, the actual pasta was too mushy. To be fair, the firmness of gnocchi is a debatable preference: some like it doughy and soft (how it’s prepared at Table 21) while others, like me, prefer the dough to have a bit of elasticity, and when there are crispy edges, even better. The brown butter sage sauce was delicious, adding a light sweetness to the gnocchi and paired well with the roasted cremini mushrooms.

Table 21 brown butter gnocchi

The beef short rib ($29) is a popular choice; we weren’t the only table ordering it. I can see why, the dish is fantastic. The towering bone-in rib doesn’t require a knife having been slow-braised and has a tangy kick from being smothered in a whiskey infused barbeque sauce. On the side, sweet roasted heirloom carrots and rosemary smashed potatoes that have lovely crispy edges, which adds a bit of crunch against the otherwise tender plate.

Table 21 Etobicoke Toronto beef short ribs

Since my in-laws have just moved to Etobicoke, a whole new slew of neighbourhood restaurants have opened up to the palette. Table 21 is a lovely start: the restaurant’s food is refined but comforting and the laid-back atmosphere a welcoming environment. And next time I entered, there won’t be that sense of déjà vu.  

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2956 Bloor 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:



Table 21 Kitchen & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato