Showing posts with label caeser salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caeser salad. Show all posts

Cucina Di Paisano (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Since restaurants have been gradually opening for stage two and three in Toronto, I’ve gotten into conversations with friends and loved ones about why even dine in a restaurant, they all offer take out and some deliver. Isn’t it just convenient, not to mention safer, to just continue eating their food at home?

At first, I gave the easy answers: the food tastes so much better fresh (boy does it) and I’m already wracked with guilt about all the takeout containers I’ve used, anything to go back to less plastic waste (although, I know, even dining in means more waste lately from the one-use menus and the number of wipes discarded). But then I realized, it’s also about the connection you feel with the food.

It really came out when I settled in to try to write this post about my delivery experience with Cucina Di Paisano… yes, I can talk about the food and how it tastes, but other than that I felt very little connection to the restaurant itself. There were no past dining experiences I could re-collect and no feeling of nostalgia towards the dishes themselves.

So, to me, all I can describe is how their Caesar salad ($12 for large size) used way too much dressing, so much so that if I actually had romaine lettuce on hand I could have augment the salad by another 50% without skimping on flavour. And that despite the relatively higher price point for the salad, it was a bare bones interpretation of the dish: lettuce, sauce, a few croutons, and powdered parmesan instead of shavings.

On other dishes, they don’t skimp on the cheese, such as the garlic bread ($8), a hefty portion with six thick baguettes covered with ample amount of the dairy. Although, I would have traded some of the mozzarella for garlic as it just tasted like bread with butter and cheese.

While I didn’t taste their eggplant parmigano ($18), it’s another dish encapsulated with mozzarella and is made to feed two given you’re provided with so many pieces of eggplant, a side of penne big enough to feed a child, and an equal amount of vegetables. Paisano knew that cheese is the way to my husband’s heart (emotionally and literally) as he loved the dish.

Since the meal was being delivered, I moderated my expectations for the grilled salmon ($23) and knew it wouldn’t be a lovely pink doneness in the centre. Indeed, it was cooked through-and-through but still fairly moist, especially on the thinner end where there’s more fat in the meat. The simple lemon, basil, and olive oil was just enough to flavour the fish and compared to everything else the dish was a more manageable serving with crunchy vegetables (broccoli, peppers, and carrots) and the roasted potatoes that arrived overdone but nonetheless flavourful and creamy.

I guess it would be remiss of me not to mention that if you’re doing takeout, they have four great 2-for-1 options that are an economical choice. If it’s anything like their eggplant parmiagno, you may have enough food for a family of four. I wish I could do Cucina Di Paisano greater justice with this post, but try as I might, it’s difficult when there’s no connection to draw upon.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 865 York Mills Road
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Barberians Steakhouse (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 7 Elm Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

When a restaurant’s been in business for over 50 years, you know they’re doing something right. Started in 1959, Barberian’s is a steakhouse institution. Their dining room proudly displays Canadian history with a mixture of sculptures, paintings and artifacts; from  paintings by the Group of Seven, a copy of the Globe and Mail from 1867 and pre-Confederation currency from the Hudson’s Bay Company, there’s a lot to be seen if you’re a museum, art or history buff.  But, none of this matters to me, what draws me to Barberians is their meat – all 16 ounces of it to be exact.

Their menu is stocked with traditional classics - no there isn’t the wagyu beef you’ll find at Jacobs - just the timeless cuts of meats that were probably around 50 years ago. The lack of choice isn’t a concern for me, give me an aged black angus bone-in ribeye any day, it will always be my favourite.

First to arrive is a basket of hot garlic bread and pickled vegetables (a collection of carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, a cauliflower floret and a jalapeño for whoever is brave enough to try it). I’m glad they leave the dish of vegetables with you throughout the meal, they really helped to break through the heaviness of the steak when I just need a refreshing sharp crunch.

After seeing the table beside get their salads and the enormous portions, my husband and I split a Caesar ($10.25; half portion pictured below). Unlike Harbour 60, it’s not done table-side but encompasses all the elements of a good classic – thick super garlicky dressing, smothered with grated parmesan, cool fresh romaine leaves and crisp croutons. It did lack bacon bits, but I don’t mind this given I’ve never been a huge fan of bacon.

For my first visit I had to go with the house specialty… the rib steak (available in 16 or 24 oz portions). Opting for the smaller one ($49.75), it nevertheless was a hulking piece of beef. Barberians is known for their steak seasoning, a secret blend that has been used since its inception and can even be purchased to take home. I have no idea what’s in it, but it adds just enough flavour to the steak without becoming overly salty so that the natural meat juices still stood out. As with the typical rib eye, it was wonderfully tender from the marbling and cooked to the perfect medium rare doneness. In my opinion, it wasn’t as good as the one I’ve had at Harbour 60 but any difference is slight as both were a delight.

We were offered a choice of rice, baked potato or fries with the steak (note there’s a $7.75 supplement for mashed potatoes) so you could get away with ordering just a steak without paying extra for sides. Although the fries were good (I snuck some off the plate of a fellow diner), nothing goes better with steak than a loaded potato. The condiments arrive table side allowing patrons to customize as they please - I packed mine with sour cream, chives and feta cheese (an interesting option which adds a bit of briny richness to it).

Despite the fact that I had to give away a portion of my steak after starting to get meat sweats, I was actually craving something sweet to end the meal. So our table of four decided to share an order of hot apple beignets with vanilla ice cream ($10.25). As with all of Barberian’s portion sizes, the dessert was more than enough to satisfy all of us with the dish having two full sized beignets and two scoops of ice cream.  Inside each beignet was a large thick slice of apple, which reduced the batter ratio and helped to lighten the dessert. Covered with cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with finely chopped walnuts this is my type of dessert.

It’s a steakhouse where you can arrive clad in suit or sweat shirt and feel equally welcomed. During our Sunday visit, the place was packed but there was never a moment we felt unattended to. Although the steak at Barberian’s wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, there’s something about their atmosphere that is so enjoyable and embracing that it’s certainly the one I’ll return to. Here’s to hoping that it will continue to be around for many years to come. 

Overall mark - 8 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!

Rigoletto Bar & Grill (Tokyo)

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato (5th floor of the West Walk in Roppongi Hills)
Type of Meal: Lunch

Located on the in the Roppingi Hills complex, Rigoletto is one of the few restaurants with low prices; it’s also spacious and serves American favourites such as burgers, pizzas and pasta.

Despite its extensive menu and prix fixe lunch menu options, my husband and I stuck with the a la carte menu and each had a salad and 6 inch pizza (pizzas are also available in 10 inch sizes).

The mixed salad (¥400) I ordered was a simple spring mix with grape tomato, cucumber, sprouts and asparagus shavings. The vegetables were all tossed with a creamy miso dressing and topped with fried garlic chips. Although the ingredients were quite ordinary, the dressing and garlic chips added a nice Japanese twist to the salad which was quite enjoyable. 

Meanwhile, my husband’s Caesar salad (¥500) was pretty standard… I didn't bother to try it. 

Rigoletto’s menu contained an interesting sounding sour cream shrimp pizza (¥1,100). The crust was the blistered Neapolitan style, which is softer and doughier making it harder to hold slices of. With no tomato sauce but rather just the tangy sour cream it reminded me of eating naan bread with dip. Except in this case there was a liberal amount of shrimp, broccoli and capers on top. All in all, an interesting twist but wouldn’t be my go-to combination.  

The spicy diavola (¥1,100) contained various cured meats (spicy salami and prosciutto), button mushrooms and garlic chips. Once again I didn’t try it so unable to comment on its taste. But, my husband did like the spicy oil they brought for the pizza to add extra flavour.  

Overall, Rigoletto is in line with most chain restaurants you’d find in North America. It’s a cheerful environment as they shout as you enter and leave. Moreover, they have a huge open view kitchen – we sat at a booth right in front of the person shaping burger patties – so it’s entertaining. Like the North American chains it’s a good family restaurant with the louder environment, quick service and reasonable price points. If you do visit, I’d suggest trying their burgers as it seemed to be the more popular dish as we saw these flying out of the kitchen most often.

Overall mark - 7 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!