Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts

CLOSED: Ruby Watchco (Toronto)

The younger me tuned into the Food Network and consumed shows such as Pitchin’ In, which enlightened me about the many food purveyors throughout Canada – not the constant barrage of “competitions” that now plagues the station. With every episode, I started liking Chef Lynn Crawford’s laid back funny attitude even more; I want to travel with her and eat her creations … oh why can’t we be friends? 

As luck with have it, Torontonians can experience her cooking at Ruby Watchco. Together with Chef Lora Kirk, they create a menu that changes daily and is truly a tasting menu ($54) as there’s only one option – take it or leave it. With the appetizer and main course, the restaurant does offer add on items (a chicken liver parfait and bacon sliders, during our visit), so if you truly detest one of the dishes, you can leave more for your guests and buy something else.  However, if you’re not a picky eater or tend to be indecisive and agonize over all the choices, this is the restaurant for you.

Although a wine pairing is available ($39), if you’re visiting on Tuesday to Friday before 7pm, there are drink specials available including $5 cocktails, $5 beers, and $8 wine (including a bubbly option)! Cheers to that!

With the exception of dessert, the dinner’s served family style and on this evening consisted of a large bowl of Ruby’s Greek style salad. For me, a salad seems like such a boring start. But, the thick creamy pickled jalapeno aioli on the bottom, turned the typical greens, tomatoes, olives and feta into a dish that I had seconds of. After demolishing the hot salty cheddar buttermilk biscuit, of course. Where are your priorities?

Make sure to leave room for the main, the thick piece of Fogo Island cod was cooked perfectly, remaining moist and flaky with the requisite crispy skin. The slightly spicy and refreshing green onion relish helped add tons of flavour to the neutral fish. So good, I bet it’s a main that even people who normally don’t like fish would enjoy.

I commend the kitchen for their perfect timing on the vegetables: the sweet heirloom carrots just starting to soften and meld into the aromatic leek marmalade; the lightly charred broccoli incorporating a bit of smoke, yet still fresh and crunchy; and the fingerling potatoes cooked through but firm enough that the starchy creaminess remains.

This evening, Ruby Watchco showcased the Big Brother cheese from Lancaster Ontario’s Glengarry Fine Cheese. A firmer varietal, it was accurately described as a cross between parmesan and cheddar. The Big Brother is relatively mild and reminds me of a younger Beemster – a semi-firm texture, slight formation of crystals, and smooth finish.

After dining at Ruby Watchco, I can see how Chef Lynn’s creations on air translates into the restaurant. The menu sticks with the tried and true favourites – a chocolate cake to finish – and elevates the recipe with tasty, non-fussy finishes.

Dark chocolate and espresso is incorporated into the cake’s batter to balance out the caramel sauce and sweet meringue topping. As you enjoy the moist cake, there are so many flavours and textures that start to peek through … and just like that, the dessert’s done.

Ruby Watchco gets polarizing reviews - you either love it or hate it. Not knowing what you’ll be eating until the week of is either exciting or an annoyance; and being served family style either means getting more of what you like or more work. It’s not a restaurant for everybody. 

For me, I have an opened mind and opened stomach, hence, it’s a meal I thoroughly enjoyed. Now Chef Lynn: can we be friends?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 730 Queen Street East

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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!

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CLOSED: Globe Bistro (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 124 Danforth Avenue
Type of Meal: Dinner 

Meals purchased off group buying sites can sometimes be a disaster, but my experience at Globe Bistro was incredible. My friend found a $149 six-course tasting menu deal for four people (the equivalent of $37 a person).  The sample menu sounded delicious so we decided to give it a chance.

Walking into the restaurant I was surprised by how spacious it was – there was a whole second dining area in the back. With its dark décor and natural wood elements, Globe has laid-back vibe. On the whole, the seats were comfortable, so much so that we didn’t realize our meal lasted three hours!

Our waitress advised the six-course tasting menu changes daily and that it would be tasted blindly (essentially, you do not see a menu ahead of time). Of course, we were gamed for anything and happy to go along with whatever Chef Ed Ho wanted to serve. Before any dishes arrived, some warm soft whole wheat sour dough bread  was brought out. Accompanied by a delicious fragrant truffle butter with black pepper it was great.

Next, an amuse bouche of crispy pork belly bites. As soon as the cube of meat hit the palate I knew I was in for a treat. Covered with salt & a spicy togarashi spice mix and topped with a pickled mustard, it was a delicious combination of varying flavours. Hot and crispy, it was a superb start to the meal.

Afterwards, the first course, a soup of zucchini purée. A brilliant green colour, it was more intensely flavoured (had almost a seafood essence) than expected. Topped with a drizzle of olive oil and crispy tempura zucchini blossoms the soup was a great use of squash.

The composed salad course was one of my favourites of the night. Rather than the typical bed of lettuce, the salad’s base was a thick tomato purée. Sprinkled over top were sweet spring peas, crunchy pea pods, sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes and a crumbly goat cheese. It was another dish that expertly combined different textures and flavours without losing the natural essence of the ingredients themselves.

For the fish course the Chef presented a pan fried pickerel with a great crispy skin and was done well. Served with a carrot purée and more sweet crispy spring peas it was a light summery take on fish. I would have liked there to be a bit more salt but all in all not a bad dish.

Before the main course, a peach sorbet palate cleanser was brought out. Creamier than expected, it was also topped with a drizzle of honey that was produced on the Globe’s rooftop … so it appears the Royal York is not the only downtown building with beehives on top.

The main was a lovely thick piece of Wellington County 60-day aged strip loin.  Done to a great medium rare, it would have been even better if it were served warmer. I thoroughly enjoyed the accompanying blanched kale, sweet corn and plump mushrooms.

Before dessert was a cheese course, a great transition between savoury and sweet. Globe served a stilton style cheese (I believe it was a Thornloe Casey blue cheese) with white balsamic macerated red currants and crostini. Normally, I’m not a fan of pungent cheeses, but this one wasn’t too bad and rather creamy. Given Globe has a rooftop of beehives, it would have been ideal if the cheese was paired with a piece of honeycomb instead (something about honey and blue cheese, what a great combination). Apologies forgot to snap a picture.

To end, a dessert of warm chocolate brownie topped with lemon custard and raspberry coulis. Again a dish that I normally wouldn’t like (I personally think chocolate and fruits do not mix) but was rather enjoyable. The brownie was a great soft dense consistency and because it wasn’t too sweet, the lemon and raspberry complemented it well.

My friends and I were very happy with the experience and appreciated the great friendly service we received. Without a doubt, we lucked out with an amazing deal on Globe’s tasting menu; regularly it would be $70 (which is still a fair price). Should you want something smaller, they also offer 4 courses for $50 or 5 courses for $60. All in all, price points for everyone – go try Globe out, I think you’ll like it. 

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!