Showing posts with label crab cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crab cake. Show all posts

BlueBlood Steakhouse (Toronto)


If you haven’t visited Casa Loma lately, you’ll be surprised by how much has changed. Once a destination for tourists, elementary school trips, and weddings, the attraction now houses an escape room and BlueBlood Steakhouse, a sprawling restaurant occupying three rooms on the main floor. When an eatery is set in a castle, there’s undoubtedly opulence and the price points to match. At BlueBlood, staff gush about the caviar and wagyu tasting flight, menu items that not every average non-noble can afford.


Even with steaks as mains, we started with the prime steak tartare ($26). For raw meat, it was surprisingly tender and despite the dish incorporating cured duck egg and house made pickles, the tartare was mellow tasting. The only disappointment was the for-show-only bone marrow; the tartare didn’t seem to incorporate any of the ingredient.


It’s unclear whether the restaurant forms the crab cakes differently depending on the number of people sharing the dish - the jumbo lump crab cake ($24) ended up arriving as three, making it much easier to split - kudos to the kitchen if there is that level of customization! This would help explain why the crab cakes were rather thin, which results in an oily starter since there’s so much breadcrumb coating. While it would help if they were drained better, the fresh hot cakes were good, especially with a smear of the light dill aioli.


For a steakhouse, their steak selection isn’t the greatest. While the menu includes a lot of high end options such as wagyu and shared cuts like a tomahawk, there’s not that many reasonably priced personal-sized portions. For my favourite cut of steak, the ribeye, BlueBlood only offered three choices with none in the dry-aged category. Settling on the 14oz wet aged Erin, Ontario ribeye ($65), it was tender and flavourful, but would be even better if it were a smaller thicker cut. While lying on the hot plate, the thin steak soon became medium in the middle and well done on the edges.


At first, the 16oz dry aged centre cut striploin ($75) tasted great given it had such a rich flavour from being dry aged. But, after two slices the ultra-lean beef soon became chewy and heavy. Personally, I find lean cuts, like striploin, aren’t the best for dry aging. The evaporation of moisture causes the beef to toughen, albeit concentrating the flavour.




Perhaps, this is a cut that benefits from a sauce. We chose to forgo them and rely on the salt selection instead – the smoked salt goes particularly well with everything.


While petite in size, the 8oz barrel cut Nebraska filet ($65) was tasty with its strong beefy flavour. Given the filet is another lean cut, it was suitably wet aged and remained tender. Truthfully, while the steak looked dwarfed compared to our other choices, the portion was adequate; especially if you’re ordering appetizers and dessert, you won't leave feeling glutinous.


Trust me, you'll want the sides, especially the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($20) where the pasta was done perfectly and the cream sauce not overly thick so remained molten throughout the meal. The dish incorporated enough lobster to go around and I went back for seconds and thirds.  The garlic mashed potato ($14) was also silky without relying too heavily on cream, the garlic essence was present but restrained. I could have done without the cheddar espuma sauce that accompanied the broccolini ($16), since all the other dishes were already so rich… at least it was kept to the side so there were plenty of plain roasted pieces to choose from.


The baked Alaska ($28) for two could easily feed four, a honking rectangle of Neapolitan ice cream covered with sponge cake, Prosecco ice, and meringue.


My first and only experience with this flaming concoction was as a child on a cruise ship, therefore to see the rum being poured from pot-to-pot before setting the dessert ablaze brought back memories of my youth. Is it the yummiest dessert? Probably not, you order it for the show and if you want a boozy adult ice cream cake.

Thank you Parv for these amazing photos
Before leaving for the evening, a box of Avoca dark chocolate caramel truffles arrives, in the shape of sapphires. For some, diamonds are a girl’s best friend; for me, at a steakhouse, it’s a nice piece of ribeye.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1 Austin Terrace (in Casa Loma)

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:


BlueBlood Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Moroc (in the Sultan's Tent) (Toronto)


While walking through the St. Lawrence Market district, you don’t expect to be transported into a Moroccan café with an ornate interior, gorgeous light fixtures and soothing green palm fronds. Café Moroc, located in the bar area of the Sultan’s Tent, is calming and inviting. During weekday lunches, the hushed environment is completely different from the jovial belly dancing dinners at the adjoining restaurant. It’s relaxing and serene; I get an urge to do yoga, followed by a visit to the café for couscous and mint tea.

Unlike most downtown establishments, Café Moroc doesn’t offer a special lunch menu. Combine that with their pricy a la carte, we practically had the entire dining room to ourselves during a Friday lunch. We had our choice of tables and the gentlemen working that afternoon was so friendly and attentive that I felt like Moroccan royalty. For the price conscious, you can still visit the gorgeous space for less, just order a couple of appetizers.

The hummus and pita ($10) is a fair sized portion – the dip is thick and flavourful, with a splash of olive oil to dilute everything a bit. It would have been preferable to provide patrons a mixture of crispy and soft pitas, as the hard pita is so brittle that eating the hummus cleanly can be a challenge. Don’t worry about the skimpy portion of bread that’s presented; afterwards, our waiter brought out another plate piled high with them so we could dip to our heart’s content.



Having had the starter over a decade ago, I remembered the signature maftoul ($10) being tastier. The phyllo wrapped Moroccan ‘cigars’ are filled with ground beef, raisins and cashews before being fried. If you like spring rolls, these are similar. Perhaps my palette has matured, but the filling seems less spiced and subdued. It’s more like a crispy package of cumin infused ground beef than the ‘exotic’ dish I remembered so fondly. Nonetheless, they’re still enjoyable.



Despite the meagre portion, Café Moroc’s crab cake ($14) is delicious – it incorporates enough crab and the recipe is differentiated from the typical North American coastal creation by the stronger Moroccan spices used in the filling. The crab cake is so flavourful that you don’t even need the citrusy chermoula emulsion or spicy harissa aioli that accompanies it.



Having had a great tagine in Montreal, their short rib version ($29) seemed like an ideal choice. The meat was thankfully left on the bone (the bone provides so much flavour!) and was succulent and nicely flavoured from the thick demi-glace.

In lieu of couscous, I asked the grain to be switched with saffron rice. Despite the vibrant yellow hue of the rice, there wasn’t any saffron essence at all – that lovely almost shellfish like aroma that wafts through – what a disappointment. Overall, it was a decent interpretation of the dish, but not nearly as aromatic as it should be … somehow it seems each element is cooked separately and then re-assembled and presented in the tagine, rather than cooked in the vessel.

Café Moroc also offers a fish tagine, which changes and happened to be cod ($29) that afternoon. Its flavours pales in comparison. The protein, while moist and flakey, lacked any seasoning making the overall dish bland. Perhaps, it’s due to all the strong appetizers and my own hearty short rib, but after such an exciting start for my taste buds, the fish tagine was so boring.



It’s a shame the main dishes at Café Moroc are so tame. Where are the enticing aromas or bursts of flavours to excite your taste buds? While I loved the atmosphere and service at the restaurant, you can’t help but leave feeling you’ve visited a tourist trap. If I ever return, I’ll definitely just stick with the appetizers. After all, nibbling on finger foods and digging into a plate of thick hummus would be more fitting of a Moroccan café any day.  

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 49 Front Street East

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:



The Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Smash Kitchen for Brunch (Markham)



When I don’t feel like trekking downtown for brunch, Smash Kitchen is a great alternative – they accept reservations and have all the typical favourites (egg dishes, chicken & waffles, burgers, etc.). If you’re feeling particularly hungry, their $20 prix fixe is a steal including any main (except the chicken & waffles), dessert, and coffee or tea.

I first discovered crab cake eggs benedict in San Francisco and since craved the decadent dish again. So, when it was on Smash Kitchen’s menu ($15 a la carte), deciding what to eat was a breeze. The thick runny egg yolk pairs nicely with the crispy coating on the cake and its seafood juices. Being denser patties, filled with crab and maybe even shrimp (?), the crab cakes held up against the eggs and hollandaise.


Pico de gallo was scattered over the benedict helping to cut through the richness. If only the seasoned home fries were hotter (albeit were crispy and cooked through), this would have been a perfect dish.

For dessert there’s a selection of chocolate mousse, cheese cake or berries; but, I wanted the vanilla butter waffle. Thankfully, they allowed this substitute and an entire golden Belgium waffle followed (in my defense, I did share it with a friend).


If you enjoy crispy waffles you’ll love them at Smash Kitchen. I found the waffle dry, which may be a result of it being served lukewarm and the butter on top not melting and soaking into the dessert. Nonetheless, with enough maple syrup, it was salvageable and still decent.

Sweet crispy crab cakes smothered in hot yolk, so glad they’re found in Markham. Plus, this time I didn’t even need to trudge up a huge hill to get them.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 4261 Highway 7 East

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:


Smash Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: John & Sons Oyster House (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 1 Balmoral Avenue, Unit 7
Website: http://johnandsonsoysterhouse.com/#about-1
Type of Meal: Dinner


John and Son's Oyster House has a comfortable environment. Open, airy and decorated with simple wooden decor there is plenty of light and suitable ambient noise to allow for louder conversation. Yet place settings are still polished with thick linen napkins and shiny cutlery. Plus, the lovely aroma of seafood cooking just adds to the experience.

Ordering off of their Summerlicious menu, I started with the crab cake. Thankfully, John and Son did not skimp on the dungeness crab. Tender and moist it easily flaked apart. I liked that the filling was not overly seasoned so the sweetness of the crab remained. Topped with a dollop of lemon aioli and placed on topped of some lightly dressed arugula this was a good starter.


My friends’ New England style chowders arrived piping hot, a pleasure when mass produced soup can sometimes become lukewarm when left in warming pots. They seemed pleased and enjoyed the fact it wasn’t too heavy despite being cream based.


The niçoise was beautifully presented with all the fresh and vibrant vegetables. Each element of the dish was thoughtfully prepared – the tuna evenly seared with a delicately salted crust, the asparagus retaining some crunch, the roasted tomato not too acidic and even the olives fantastic as not overly briny. But my favourite component was the soft boil egg that sat upon a bacon (?) aoili with crunched crunchy bacon bits on top; it left me wanting more.


Two good sized portions of wild haddock arrived in the fish and chips along with tons of fries and a side coleslaw. The fish was moist and flakey; although the batter a bit thick and oily for my taste. Unfortunately, the fries were soggy and reminded me of the Swiss Chalet delivery fries. They could have benefited from being fried twice. 


My friend's black angus flat iron steak was a respectable size but arrived undercooked (seemed rare when ordered medium rare). But, it looked juicy and succulent with a nice char to it. The fries were sadly the same soggy variety. 


In terms of the desserts most people preferred the frozen lemon mascarpone cheese cake. Creamy and fluffy with raspberries on top, it was a lighter dessert to end the meal.


I enjoyed the cinnamon sugar dusted doughnut. With a sweet maple butter glaze and crunchy chocolate nut bits it had varying elements of salty & sweet and soft & crunchy. The doughnut could have been fried a tad longer as the middle was a bit soft and doughy.


The brownie was moist and chocolaty but we found it lacked the oomph the other desserts had. 


Service was efficient with dishes coming out in quick succession. Overall, it wasn't bad but could have been improved with two minor suggestions:
  1.  Be more attentive with refilling water. Although each table was given a large bottle for self-refills, once that was empty it wasn’t automatically replaced.
  2. More of a personal pet peeve, but I prefer finished dishes to be left and collected when the entire table is done (or in larger tables as sections are done). This ensures that slower diners don’t feel rushed and those who are finished still retain cutlery to sneak tastes off of a friend’s plate.


Overall, my choices were delicious and it felt nice to eat fresh vegetables and seafood so that I wasn’t overly stuffed at the end. John and Son is a nice choice (for seafood) and appears to have a great closed in patio ideal for summer days.


Is Summerlicious worth it?

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

Summerlicious - $35

Regular menu - $49 - crab cake ($15), nicoise ($25) and doughnut ($9)

Savings - $14 or 29%

* The crab cake is based on their downtown menu price.



Overall mark - 7 out of 10


Like the blog?  You can now follow me on twitter for notifications - 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!


John & Sons Oyster House on Urbanspoon