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

David Rocco Bar Aperitivo (Toronto)

Before going to David Rocco’s Bar Aperitivo, I prepared myself for a casual restaurant that’s meant for a quick bite, so I didn’t expect any posh seating or an extensive menu. As anticipated, their tables were set-up largely as communal shared space with a less than ideal table-to-chair height. In the end, we felt it was best to forgo any dishes requiring a fork and knife that could potentially make a mess.

Instead, we stuck to a hand-held sandwich with salad – easy peasy eats to munch on while we enjoyed a bottle of prosecco. Little did I know that for a restaurant who dedicates half of their menu to sandwiches and salad, the dishes would be executed so poorly. After biting into both, I started comparing the experience to the Druxy lunches that was catered through work and marvelled how they could have been interchangeable.

In the next menu update, I highly recommend Bar Aperitivo clarify that their paninis are cold. Unless you’re deeply steeped in the Italian culture, most people may not realize that panini simply means “bread roll” since the North American interpretation is generally a sandwich that’s been pressed, grilled, and served hot.

Hence, when the frittata panini ($13) arrived cold it was a disappointment – does anyone like cold frittatas?  Perhaps the temperature could have been overlooked if the frittata was really good and incorporated more flavours than the sprinkling of herbs or if their house-made brioche bun was uber fresh rather than hard and cold. At least the salsa verde was tasty and the caramelized onions were nicely stewed and sweet. In hindsight, I should have gone with a crostino, while it seemed like it’d be messier to eat, they looked tastier than the cold egg sandwich we received.

For a dish that's been so overdone, there are over a dozen that David Rocco could have gained inspiration from, Bar Aperitivo’s kale salad ($16) was one of the worst I’ve ever eaten. The kale was simply ripped into large pieces and tossed with a very lightly applied mint pesto and lemon juice dressing so the almost metallic flavour of the kale leaches through, unless you can mask it with one of the orange segments, apples, cranberry, or almonds that’s tossed with everything. Nor were the greens massaged with the dressing, so it made for a fibrous salad.  

The crocchette di cavolfiore ($7) was also cold and not made to order. Temperature aside, the dish could really use some textural contrast as the cauliflower and potato mash is soft and the fine bread crumb coating wasn’t crispy either. Perhaps adding some panko to the coating or some micro-diced vegetables into the mixture would have allowed for some extra colours and crunch.

At least Bar Aperitivo’s gelato was tasty. With about half a dozen flavours to choose from, the tried-and-true hazelnut was calling my name. The gelato was served really cold, so it resisted melting, and the texture was silky and creamy. The hazelnut flavours were pronounced and the sweetness a nice balance. Yet, for $13 for a cup, it really commands a premium over the many other wonderful ice cream shops in Yorkville. While Bar Aperitivo’s gelato was good, I still find Summer’s Ice Cream to be better.

I should have learnt my lesson from the less-than-ideal “celebrity chef” dining experiences at Jamie Kennedy and Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants. Both instances were a lot of hype but the food fairly subpar. The same goes for David Rocco's Aperitivo Bar… let’s just say it does not have me feeling I'm living la dolce vita.

Overall mark - 4 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 95 Cumberland 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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The Kasap Turkish Cuisine (Dubai)


As you’re sitting on The Kasap’s patio and taking in the man-made views of The Pointe, it feels like you’re somewhere Mediterranean, maybe even Turkey, just somewhere far from desert life. The restaurant should be thankful there’s such a great outdoor atmosphere as sitting on the lowest level of the patio also means you’re forgotten and service is slow at best.

Once we were able to get an order in, the food arrives at a quick pace; in no time a dish of vibrant babaghanoush (AED22) arrives with soft toasted pita. While the dip was refreshing, the eggplant flavour was masked by the other vegetables and it could really use more salt.


In general, most dishes were under seasoned. The minced beef Turkish-style flatbread (AED49) screamed for spices – parsley, salt - anything to cover the meat’s gaminess that was so off putting I couldn’t have more than a slice. How is beef even gamey, surely this must have been mutton?


If anything, what impressed me most about the dish was the presentation: the long plank placed on can so other dishes could be placed underneath. Such a genius idea for efficient space use that must make city planners swoon.

Thank you to J for this photo

The most flavourful dish was the adana kebab (AED58), the tender and juicy skewers have a hit of spice that really sneaks up on you. We used our fair share of the yoghurt and pickled cabbage to help calm the heat.


It also went well with the kale and pomegranate salad (AED34), which was tossed with bits of bulgur and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. The kale just needed a good massage to break down the tough fibers.


Where I was happy with The Kasap’s restrained flavours was with the baklava (AED32). Normally, it’s a dessert that’s so sugary it makes my teeth ache – figuratively, not literally. The Kasap’s was still infused with plenty of honey but it was sticky without being too sweet. I also liked the liberal sprinkling of pistachios, which adds such a nice nuttiness to the dessert.


If all else fails, eat elsewhere and visit the restaurant for a drink. They offer a wide selection of juices, the Kasap special (AED29) a fruity blend of passionfruit with apple and orange. All our drinks tasted great, if only they arrived colder.



That’s when we could have really gotten the tropical experience of icy drinks, blue waters, and tons of sunshine. After all, with the Atlantis in the background, you could even daydream about being transported to Bahamas. Desert, what desert?

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 Address: The Pointe
 Website: http://thekasap.ae/

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!

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Adamson Barbecue (Toronto)


As the age old saying goes, “Things are bigger in Texas”. When it comes to Adamson Barbecue, this isn’t necessarily true… their parking lot only holds 16 vehicles, they prepare enough product for the day (often running out before closing), and the meat on the lunch plates is satisfying but definitely not American sized portions.

For groups of four or more, ordering sides by the container and meats by the pound are their suggested value option. Visiting with only two people, we decided to each get a lunch plate, which allows you to choose from one ($15), two ($20), or three ($25) meats, all arriving with two sides.


Two pieces of lean brisket and baby back ribs are freshly cut and placed on my tray. Is that it? It’ll be gone like that, there’s no way I can share! I thought.  One bite into the succulent smoked rib, as it melted into my mouth, had me wondering if it’d be inappropriate to suck every ounce of sauce and meat off the bone in a public forum. That baby back rib was the best I’ve ever had, which made it SO difficult to share the other.


Even their brisket impressed, although eat it first and quickly. The initial bites of the tender cut were surprisingly moist for what can sometimes be dry and crumbly. Liberal amounts of dry rub melded into the beef so that it forms a beautiful smoke ring and creates a flavourful brisket – sauce be damned. But, once left for 10 minutes and starts getting cold, the meat becomes noticeably drier so that some of the thin tangy sweet barbeque sauce is required.


If you don’t mind the cholesterol, ask for the fattier cut of brisket instead. Having portions of my husband’s, this definitely stayed succulent to the end. While there are some blubbery areas, the fat is soft and simply breaks apart to combine with the beef.


The slice of white bread, mild thinly shaved white onions, and crispy dill pickles went perfectly with the pulled pork allowing us to make our own sandwich. Of all the meats, it arrives in the largest portion, a good baseball size that definitely gave us our fill. Salty, smoky, and having a light pork flavour, it made for a satisfying last bite.     

There are plenty of sides to choose from and after looking through the station the kale Caesar and cornbread were the things that stood out. Other options include coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, fancy pickles, beans, and loaded potatoes (available weekend only).


Kale is kale, but the cornbread is king. Moist, cakey, and just slightly sweet, it almost felt like a dessert to end the barbeque. Plus, it’s a side that’s perfect for wrapping to go (even without the Texas size portions a lunch plate is difficult to finish) and tastes great the next day.

I get the love and why people line up early for a taste of Adamson Barbecue, it really is that good. To be fair, I have yet to visit Texas to sample the smoked meats of the South, but really how much better can it get?

While most people rave about their brisket, the baby back ribs is what earned the golden star for me. Adamson does it low and slow in a wood burning oven and keeps everything warmed until it is cut-to-order. With barbeque this good, I’ll stay out of the states just a little longer.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 176 Wicksteed Avenue

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:



Adamson Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato