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

Azarias (Toronto)


If you’re trying to satisfy a picky eater or a crowd with varying tastes, Azarias is a good choice for an Etobicoke restaurant. Although the establishment sounds Greek (on account of being named after the owner), their menu has a diverse array of dishes to choose from. Most are shared plates, but if you’re over the trend, you can easily pick and choose salads and larger plates to create a traditional meal as well.

Stumped on what to order? Azarias provides a top ten list to guide you through the process. The first half of this post will focus on these popular dishes.

Topping the list is the spicy shrimp tacos ($15), a let-down unless you enjoy overly battered seafood that hasn’t been drained properly. The only saving grace was the shrimp’s large size, lending itself to stay plump and juicy. But then it’s laden with oil and a “spicy” sauce that’s surely just Frank’s Red Hot out of the bottle. Plain cabbage with a bit of corn lines the bottom of the flour tortilla, hardly the salsa fresca you’d expect as described on the menu.


Go with the #2 option instead: Montreal smoked meat sliders ($10). Overlooking the dense bun, the thickly sliced meat was tender incorporating enough fat for taste without getting heavy. Served warm, you get a bit of spice with each bite and despite being full flavoured, the smoked meat wasn’t too salty and went well with the mustard. Paired with a juicy pickle wedge, it’s a dish that could make a Jewish deli proud.


When Brussels sprouts ($9) are done right, they are so good. Azarias’ version is fine but runs into the pitfall of relying too heavily on other ingredients – in their case, sun dried tomatoes and bacon. Since both are such strong flavours, the actual sprouts get drowned out. If I want bacon, I’d order bacon. For a vegetable, I want Brussels sprouts!


Their Kung Pao chicken ($14) was a popular dish that many tables order. The sauce has a wonderful spicy kick, a sweet chili Thai enhanced with garlic sauce, so it’s a shame that the miniscule chicken pieces were so overly battered. Personally, I’d prefer the chicken to be simply tossed in flour (rather than a full-on batter) and cut into larger pieces so that you can actually taste the meat. The jalapenos, on the other hand, were a nice touch.


Surprisingly, their short ribs ($18) were only #7 on the top 10 list. It was certainly one of the better dishes I tried that evening and deserves a top three ranking. The large bone-in rib is braised until tender and glazed in a wonderful reduced beef jus. With the roasted carrots, this could easily be a main dish for those who don’t feel like sharing.


Bacon seared jumbo scallops ($15) was the last top 10 dish we tried. With a lovely caramelized crust and their large size, the scallops remained tender and meaty. Instead of being wrapped in bacon, it was nice that the meat was on the bottom so you can break chunks off with the scallop or have it as a crispy meaty chip to end.


In terms of the dishes that didn’t make the list, there were some hit and misses. The Caprese salad ($11) was heavily slathered with pesto but needed more salt. Interestingly, the kitchen tosses the cheese and tomato slices in the sauce (rather than pouring over top), which is a good idea allowing every bite to get an even coating of flavour.


Although the macaroni and cheese ($9) looked watery, the flavours were spot on and the light dusting of buttery gratin on top was fantastic. Pair these with the short ribs and you can easily build a decadent plate.


The green beans ($8) were fantastic and much better than the Brussels sprouts. Since they were cooked on a grill, they retained a great crunch and the roasted garlic and dusting of parmesan added enough flavours without taking away from the actual vegetables.


For the low price, you get a hefty portion of potatoes with the sea salted fries ($5). They are piping hot and have the essential freshly cut potato essence. Combine the fries with the Montreal smoked meat sliders and you have a great meal.


Despite already having an extensive menu, Azarias also offers daily specials. Having tried two of the dishes, they’re definitely worth ordering. The osso bucco with penne ($18) could easily be a pasta main dish given its large size, but since the garlicky cream sauce is pretty rich, it also ideal for sharing. Dollops of goat cheese combine with plump mushrooms and chunks of soft lamb to make a great meal, I would have been happy with just a plate of this to myself.


They baby back pork ribs ($14) where glazed in honey garlic and very tender and meaty. They’re sticky and messy, everything you want ribs to be.


Azarias resourcefully uses pots of herbs as décor on tables, while also including a pair of scissors so diners can actually use the herbs. Our waiter suggested we cut up the basil to infuse the olive oil for dipping bread into. What a delicious idea that enticed me to devour two slices of soft crusty bread – much to the demise of stomach for the rest of dinner. Let that be a warning when you visit… just one slice.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3058 Bloor Street West

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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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


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

Trio (Toronto)

Trio Toronto

Situated over two levels, Trio’s second floor over looks North York’s Yonge Street and is ideal for larger groups or private parties. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, reminiscent of traditional Italian restaurants. The complimentary focaccia wedges alone are worth a visit; the decadent bread further doused with olive oil and aromatic roasted garlic and rosemary sprinkled over top. If it weren’t for the promise of pizza to come, I’d inhale the entire plate.


Anyone who works at Trio has to have an amazing memory… that evening they easily had another dozen off menu specials. The burrata caprese salad ($19.50) was the appetizer offering and great for sharing. A fair sized sphere of milky soft burrata was simply dressed with olive oil, basil and salt. For the winter visit, the meaty sliced tomatoes were surprisingly ripe and overall the caprese a great start.


For a pizza called the al pollo ($17), there was a sparse amount of actual chicken sprinkled over top. There was plenty of cheese through, with a thick layer of mozzarella and large dollops of goat cheese. Even with the roasted red peppers, something with a bit of crunch like red onions would have helped to give the pizza some interest and contrast.


My husband’s Calabrese ($16) was more flavourful from the salty slices of soppressata and green olives. Additionally, it went really nicely with the chili oil the restaurant provides for the added spice. Nonetheless, both pizzas had a wonderful soft Neapolitan crust with its requisite chewy texture and little charred bits.


Although it’s like ordering apple pie at an American restaurant, the tiramisu was calling – so loudly that we needed two slices for our table of four. Thankfully we did order more than one as the cake was exactly to my taste – moist, well balanced between biscuits & mascarpone and an abundance of espresso flavours. A sweet ending to a decent Italian meal. 


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3239 Yonge 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:



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

CLOSED: Scaddabush on Yonge (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 382 Yonge Street
Type of Meal: Dinner



When I first heard about Scaddabush the name was intriguing … perhaps it's Australian or some other exotic cuisine, I thought. Much to my surprise they are an Italian restaurant and their name means “a bit of everything”. The restaurant is enormous with two floors and tons of tables – sort of like Jack Astors but with much nicer light fixtures and décor. Despite its size, it was filled and there was even a queue when we left.

All the staff members I encountered were very warm and welcoming. One person actually stopped and made sure I was served water before my waitress could arrive! A small suggestion is to encourage staff to make normal conversation. It seemed like they were all trained to ask if “it’s the first time you’re visiting Scaddabush”, which is fine, but when you’re asked three times in a span of five minutes it ends up feeling rehearsed. Perhaps limiting it to just the person serving the table is best, since it was really our waitress who ended up adding that if it is our first visit we should know that the pasta and mozzarella is made fresh in-house.

But, introducing the restaurant is important as after hearing about the pasta and made-to-order mozzarella, we couldn’t resist trying it. For the cheese, we ordered the caprese salad ($19; includes a supplementary $5 for grilled shrimp). Note, the portion size is actually slightly larger, I started eating before realizing I forgot to take a picture.



It certainly had plenty of mozzarella. Admittedly, I may have been thinking about buffalo mozzarella, which is different, but I found Scaddabush’s cheese a bit soft and lumpy. Don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious, just not to that creamy buffalo mozzarella level I was imagining. Mixed with the cheese were Campari tomatoes, baby arugula, a sweet balsamic glaze and a very liberal dousing of herbed olive oil. For the size of the salad, there was quite a number of shrimp included. If you order this with some of the charity bread, it could be a satisfying meal.

To try the fresh pasta, we ordered the pesto pollo ($18.17 for a large) made with fettuccine. Although the pasta could have been more al danté, the basil and pesto cream sauce was fragrant and delicious. It also included plenty of sautéed chicken, semi sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkles of baby spinach adding some colour and freshness to the dish. 



All in all, the lively atmosphere and large family style tables makes this a great hangout for big groups. And with their reasonable price points and big potions, this could be a student friendly place as well. 


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


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
  • - 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!