Despite all the eateries in Toronto, I have to visit Richmond Station at least once a year. In fact, I like to brag about it so I usually bring a RSV (that would be a Richmond Station Virgin) to try things out. On this occasion, it was a lunch visit with a colleague of mine from Alberta who was in town for the weekend.
There are a couple of things I’ve concluded about Richmond station. First, I don’t like sitting in the bottom part. It’s a little too congested, you get the constant aggravation of people coming and going and I’d much rather watch the performance in the kitchen versus that of the bar. Second, I always get excited about the chalk board specials which are daily whimsical creations from the creative mind of Carl Heinrich. They have a small but solid menu which regularly changes but always includes oysters and the Stn. Burger.
We got there on the heels of the lunch rush so we still could benefit from the $19 prix fixe menu, featuring a lobster bisque as the starter and a braised veal sandwich. I’ve had the bisque here before so I highly recommended it to my lunch mate. As for myself, I had my eye on the burger and matched his bisque with the mushroom consomme. Served with a soft boiled egg and seasoned with sesame. I might almost suggest it was undersalted but this is coming from a guy whose definition of consomme for 20 years was something that came out of a red and white can. Piercing the egg to release the saltiness of the yolk helped.
The stn. burger remains one of Toronto’s best (as well as one of the more expensive). The patty is designed for medium-rare to medium which allows for great moisture and flavour. Without the need to mask the meat with an abundance of toppings, the burger is simply served with aged cheddar and a few other fixings beside a heap of delicious fries and a ramekin of aioli (I’m not an aioli guy so I’ll take the fifth). I don’t get the beet chutney which is served more like a garnish than a palate pleasing partner. Nonetheless, it’s a delicious burger that remains in the conversation for best in the city.
At Richmond station, dessert is not an afterthought. Available as a $5 add-on to the prix fixe menu, it evolves with as much as a cutting edge mentality as the menu itself. Take “movie snacks” for example. If memory serves, it’s a combination of chocolate cake, almond brittle, cola wafers, popcorn ice cream and twizzler puree (a clever mix of cranberry and Pernod). Smart, stunning and delicious.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Richmond station since it opened shortly after Carl Heinrich won Top Chef Canada 2. The convenient location (unless you’re trying to park), casual environment, great service (including the fact they take reservations) and a small but relevant menu (enhanced by daily inspired chalk board creations) makes for a great dining experience. The biggest issue may be the fact that your favorite dishes disappear and get replaced by a sunchoke, a chestnut or whatever new culinary trend that emerged. That said, I don’t doubt that anything new would be as tasty as it’s predecessors. Don’t take it from me… at time of posting it was number 1 on tripadvisor. I guess I’m not the only one deflowering RSVs.