Showing posts with label skirt steak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skirt steak. Show all posts

CLOSED: AMA (Toronto)


At AMA, the operations seem laid back … there’s not a corporate bone in the establish. Sebastian Gallucci, owner of AMA, recalls how he found their sous chef from Kijiji then proceeded to be 20 minutes late for their interview and even ate a bowl of pasta during the entire ordeal. Having gone through the interview process many times, I could just imagine how unsettling it would be to try to answer behavioural questions while watching someone twirl spaghetti.


He also jumped at the opportunity to team up with u-Feast to showcase AMA’s Argentinian cuisine. The $95 + taxes per person meal hooked my friends and I, after all, how can you turn down a 5-course meal with wine pairings? And not just any old pairing, thanks to the Wines of Argentina distributor, we could sample TWELVE, that a few per course! To ensure the post stays to a reasonable length, I’ll just highlight two wines I found particularly notable:

After hearing the 2017 Crios Torrontés ($14.95 at the LCBO) was made by a vintner known as the Queen of Torrontes, Susana Balbo, I knew I had to try the creations from the first wine maker from Argentina. The crisp white wine is made with Torrontés, a grape only found in Argentina, at a winery that’s located at a high altitude. It has a distinctive floral taste as soon as it hits the palette, which will need to be carefully paired with food but works well for sipping.

It’s no surprise that we sampled a host of red wines – a favourite region for me as wines are generally full bodied and reasonably priced. The 2014 Colomé Estate Malbec ($24.95 at the LCBO) is grown in Cafayate, a city 3111m above sea level! A gorgeous deep red hue, the Malbec is rich on the tongue but finishes so smoothly.


In terms of the meal, AMA’s empanadas are held together by some of such thin pastry despite being stuffed with lightly spiced ground beef hit with parmigano for extra flavour. They’re good, the dish’s heaviness dialed down by the chimichurri.


There were some great unexpected additions used in the red snapper ceviche: celery that provided a great crunch that’s different from the typical chip and sweet grapes for balancing out the tart guacamole. Of course, there’s also the customary onion, herbs, and lime, which give the ceviche its signature flavour along with big chunks of the fish. It was all served on top of a tostada for even more crunch, ideal for breaking off into pieces to dip into any stray guacamole.


Sebastian, being from an Italian Argentinian household, even showcased a ricotta gnocchi in the meal. They were the large and pillowy variety, to the point each were almost the size of ping pong balls, and perfect for those who like softer smooth gnocchi. While my preference is for smaller ones that have a bit of bite or a crispy crust, the sugo sauce was delicious - the tomatoes bright creating in a hearty sauce. I only wish there was crusty bread available to clean the plate.


Our main would make any carnivore swoon – a platter filled with two cuts of beef (a juicy ribeye and a leaner skirt steak), chicken, and chorizo. I didn’t try the chicken, but the other items were done perfectly, laced with an aromatic grilled aroma synonymous with Argentinian cuisine. My favourites were the steak, even the leaner skirt steak was so tender, the meat so flavourful. The only faux pas was the abundant globs of chimichurri spooned everywhere – the shear sourness was so overwhelming I had to scrape it off, it’s a condiment best served on the side.


Needless to say, it wasn’t all meat. A vinegary leaf salad and a yummy chunky mashed potato were also served, the starch great for soaking up some of the alcohol.


After having four red pairings with the main, I was in a happy hazy place by the time the assorted Argentinian inspired desserts came around. Truth be told, I remember little about them, only fleeting tastes of chocolate, buttery crust, and of course, dulce de leche.


What once started as a food truck (Che Baby) has morphed into AMA. They describe the vision for their restaurant so beautifully, “AMA - which means Loves in Spanish and Love in Italian - represents the idea that an experience should be more than the sum of its parts. The name AMA is inspired by our love for food, music, and our passion to creating lasting memories for those we love.” After the equivalent of 1.5 bottles of wine, I can feel that love… AMA baby AMA.

Want to check out UFeast for yourself? Sign up with my referral link to get $10 off your first experience.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 930 Queen Street West


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:



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

CLOSED: Fring's Revisited (Toronto)


My last visit to Fring’s was shortly after it opened. After hearing all the hype about the restaurant, I had to experience it in person, secretly hoping to get a glimpse of Drake. Since that first weeknight visit was so busy and loud, I readied myself for a night of drinking and music. Strangely, this return Friday visit was much quieter: we were seated at the bar (surrounding areas had some empty tables) and there was no live performance. Alas, there was still no Drake.

The menu has completely changed and now offers more items. Arriving as crispy golden spheres, the crab cakes ($24) were delicious with plenty of lump crab meat and not much other filler. The sweet seafood was the dominant taste with an herby tomatillo verde and cooling sour cream for contrast. It’s a great starter to share or something to nibble on even if you're there just for drinks.  


In fact, they have a few good options for sharing. The beef short rib tacos ($16) also arrive four to an order and incorporate a fair amount of juicy tender beef held in a crispy wonton shell. Unlike other tacos that tend to be messy, Fring’s was easier to devour as it relied less on sauces for flavouring and more on ingredients like creamy avocado, spicy mango pineapple salsa, sour cream, and a slice of red chili.


While the actual grilled skirt steak ($28) was merely decent – unfortunately, the meat was overdone and the flavours somewhat covered by the chimichurri and thick slices of red pepper - the accompanying Parmesan polenta “croutons” were delectable like a traditional crispy polenta but much creamier and cheesier. 


We had added a side of quinoa crusted onion rings ($10), thinking they’d go great with the steak. At first glance, they looked good – plenty of crispy crust and not overly oily. Then when you bite in and are met with the mealy tasteless crust, the perception changes. When I slathered enough chilli mint yogurt chutney on the onion ring it was a bit better, too bad there was so little of the condiment. Note to self: quinoa and onion rings do not mix.


Thankfully, the tried and true roasted Brussels sprouts ($12) didn’t disappoint. There was enough bacon to make it sinful while still keeping the dish predominantly vegetables, the pearl onions providing a bit of sweetness, and to cut through the typical sweet maple glaze was a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme.


One dish that just wouldn’t arrive was the grilled octopus ($26). Unlike my previous dinner experience at Fring’s, our waitress kept an eye on the dish, coming by to provide us with updates. In the meantime, she provided complimentary truffle fries ($20) and another order of crab cakes (likely from hearing our moans of deliciousness) to keep us placated. Upon receiving the fries, I realized why a side of spuds would cost $20. In lieu of truffle oil, the chefs dust on real black truffles instead. Along with the Parmesan cheese, it makes for flavourful fries!


In the end, we decided to replace the octopus with fried chicken and waffles ($26); plate after plate kept whizzing by so they seemed popular and looked tasty. Although the chicken were pieces of boneless chicken breast, they were still tender; the batter spiced enough for taste, but could still handle the sweet and spicy maple syrup glaze.


The Hong Kong egg waffle was cold and soft, not terrible but definitely doesn’t do the accompaniment justice. Note to restaurants: if you’re going to use the bubble waffle, these need to be made-to-order as it really doesn’t lend itself to sitting around.

As a nice gesture, due to the long wait for the octopus, Fring’s also gave us the replacement chicken and waffles on a complimentary basis. Needless to say, we left terribly full (the walk back to a car a welcomed exercise to help start digest the mass of food), since the one octopus dish was replaced with three heavier items.

Compared to the first dinner, service has improved – staff were more attentive and there were no delays at clearing dirty dishes. Of course, due to waiting around for the octopus, dinner wasn’t a shorter affair (the meal still lasted three hours), but on a weekend I don’t mind hanging out over another drink … with or without Drake.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 445 King Street West

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:



Fring's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato