Newfoundland Day 1: Getting Cheeky From the Club to the Pub in the Midst of Icebergs

I went to Newfoundland for the first time a few weeks back for a work function. The hope was that I would have ample time to enjoy some of the scenery and culture which is unique to Canada’s most eastern province. The first goal was to get there. A flight to Newfoundland is as predictable as a masterchef souffle so I was happy to arrive with no delays, diversions etc. I arrived at my hotel and observed a beautiful view from my room at the Sheraton.

View of the Pier
View of the Pier

After checking in, my first priority was lunch. Having a minimum understanding of the go to midday restaurants, I leaned on John Catucci and the Food Network to guide me to The Club, one of the sister restaurants (along with Aqua) of Chef Mark McCrowe. Predicably located on Duckworth street, this gastropub offers a mish-mash of bar food with Scottish,French and local influence.

Along with a decent bar rail, they offer a variety of brews from the small Quidi Vidi brewery which is located in the town with the same name.  I had an 1892 amber ale which fell on the good side of ambers (I’m quite mercurial when it comes to red beer and either like them or hate them).

Food wise, I was informed that neither the fish and chips or the mussels were available which I found quite ironic considering my location. However, as I pondered the other menu offerings which ranged from fried chicken to a wild boar sloppy joe topped with an egg (which, like dietary cholesterol, goes straight to my heart), a delivery guy strolled in with a bag of cod in one hand and a sack of mussels in the other. Knowing that the cod was literally delivered minutes before, I called an audible and ordered the fish and chips. It was a good choice. The fish was flaky and fresh, the batter not overwhelming and the gravy was divine. The malt spritzer was subtly intelligent. It was truly a delightful dish and went well with the 1892.

Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips $18

I snacked on a table mate’s lobster roll. The toasted bread was an ideal vessel and housed a decent filling of lobster,celery and tarragon. I wasn’t a fan of the large pieces of lettuce as they made the sandwich messier and cut into the delicate flavour of the lobster a bit.

Lobster Roll
a Portion of a Lobster Roll $19

The moose bologna was a canny cold cut, bringing a component of nasty nostalgia mixed with gastropub gluttony and even had some chopped parsley as a garnish It wasn’t magical by any means but was certainly fun to try.

Fried Moose Bologna
Fried Moose Bologna

Nothing burns off beer and bologna like a hike up signal hill.  However, by the time you get up and down again you want a beer again.  Once again, enter The Quidi Vidi brewery.  There is a certain magic about walking into a brewery, picking up a six-pack, walking out on a  balcony and sucking one back in the midst of spectacular scenery. I mean, it sure as hell beats paying $7 for a pint of half ass beer surrounded by sweaty hipsters on a crowded downtown Toronto patio right? Their flagship beer is Iceberg which is a light, crisp brew made with water from the icebergs that populate the ocean waters surrounding the rock. It could be the psychology of the water source, the blue bottle or the environment but this is one refreshing beer, especially on a balmy 16 degree day in Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland.

Beer with a View
Beer with a View

For dinner I was treated to cod tongues and scrunchions at Portobello’s. I fell in love with these the first time I tried them some 20 years ago and was a little fearful  that my reunion with this traditional Newfoundland dish would be disappointing…but it doesn’t. My camera was dysfunctional so I don’t have a picture but imagine clumps of golden deep fried goodness coupled with small chunks of heavily rendered and salted pork with a tarter like dipping sauce.  Fat, salt, chewiness and tartness from the sauce always results in gluttonous glee, right?

For illustrative purposes, I included this picture from espressosnob.com which best represents the cod tongues and scrunchions I had in Newfoundland.
For illustrative purposes, I included this picture from espressosnob.com which best represents the cod tongues and scrunchions I had in Newfoundland.

My Take

Day one in Newfoundland allowed me to check three key things off my bucket list: a fantastic view, fresh cod and tongues and scrunchions.  With a couple of days left, I was looking forward to experiencing some of the other key rites of passage to complete a true east coast experience on the Rock.

Click to add a blog post for The Club on Zomato

Tinder Surprises and Scenes from the Red Wedding while Bymark Hits the Mark

My job allows me to attend a number of group dinners.  I’m often reluctant to write reviews of these experiences since they are a bit artificial and may not apply to somebody  looking to grab dinner for two on a Saturday night.  That said, I imagine smooth execution of a delicious dinner for 100 people would speak highly of the quality of the food and the service.  This was the case during a recent visit to Bymark. I wasn’t involved in planning this dinner so I can’t comment on the price per head as part of this review.

I’m used to standard set menus which offer soup or salad as a starter, fish, chicken or steak as he entree and some dessert which usually includes a cheesecake and something chocolaty.   Bymark’s options blew my mind.  There were five starters that included butter braised lobster poutine, fois gras, yellow fin tuna with yuzu, buffalo mozzerella and mixed greens. I sat staring blankly at the menu as I had to reprogram my brain think outside the soup/salad binary code I’m so used to.  I’ve been in a fish mood lately and I’m quite sure “yuzu” is Japanese for “tasty little bastard”, so I went for the tuna.  It was seared and served beautifully .  I would have liked a bit more of both heat and acid to tear into the richness of the tuna but it was fresh and clean and the pop from the odd ginger crisp was memorable.

Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Yuzu Pearls
Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Yuzu Pearls

My colleague opted for the lobster poutine.  It was a modest portion served on a circular lobster shell and topped with bernaise sauce.  I think I saw him cry a little bit.  I managed to score a few frites and thought it  was greasy sweetness…literally and figuratively.  I cried a little too.

Butter Braised Lobster Poutine
Butter Braised Lobster Poutine

Another colleague of mine from Quebec stuck to her roots and ordered the fois gras.  As a disclaimer, I am not wacky over fois gras.  I enjoy a think slice of torchon as opposed to a hunk of liver on a plate.  This appetizer was the latter.  Maybe it was the garnish which was a bile-looking sage puree coupled with a bloody looking compote and swimming in a pool chocolate jus. It might have been the fact that the fois gras itself was not served cooked throughout. Either way,  it looked like aftermath of the red wedding scene from Game of Thrones.  Since I am not a savage medieval warrior or Hannibal Lecter, it wasn’t my thing and wouldn’t have been any better even  if there were a few fava beans thrown on the plate.

Fois Gras and Sage Eclair
Fois Gras and Sage Eclair

The selection of entrees were equally as impressive.  There was the choice of steak, lamb, black cod, chicken and vegetable risotto Black cod is one of my favorite fish and I was particularly intrigued with the octopus and crab cakes, so my choice was a no brainer.  To me, the key to good black cod is to achieve the same silky mouthfeel as if  you were eating a pound of butter but without the probable ill-filled aftermath.  Mission accomplished.  The citrus butter balanced the sweetness of the cod and with the help of the coriander crust and subtle broth enhanced it at the same time.  The crab cakes were delightful morsels and the eggplant and  zucchini strands brought some earthiness to the dish.

Coriander Crusted Black Cod
Coriander Crusted Black Cod

For the most part, dessert adhered to the group dinner blueprint in offering chocolate something and cheesecake.  They did, however, offer a delightful selection of cheese (including a killer blue) served with honey, grapes and bread.  It was a nice way to finish the evening.

After Dinner Cheese
After Dinner Cheese

There is something to be said for a restaurant’s ability to execute a large group dinner.  Although it cannot always be compared to the service required for a smaller, more intimate dinner, there is a standard which includes ensuring 100 wine glasses are never empty and that everybody gets their meals within a short window of time.  The service was flawless other than a few hiccups regarding coffee service at the end of the meal.  That said, maybe we scared them off given the fact that our table looked like a bunch of adolescence watching Porky’s for the first time. One of my single colleagues decided to open her tinder app and demonstrate the concept to a bunch of us.  Essentially, you scroll through pictures of people within a defined radius of where you are sitting, squatting, drinking etc.  You either like or dislike them based on a few pictures and whatever witty (or ridiculous) banter they include in their profile.  A yes means if that person also approves of your posted resume, an “It’s a match!” flashes on your screen and the happy couple can be begin a chat which may or may not lead to other things including a walk in the park or a deep discussion about existentialism. A no means great big red letters are stamped over the unsuspecting dude’s picture and the girl can smirk with the satisfaction that she temporarily ended somebody’s hopes and dreams. During the lesson and in the presence of the opposite sex, there were a couple of quick observations I made about this phenomenon called tinder:

1. Guys should not put pictures of cats on their photo roll.  Cat guys seem to be a turn off to women (although I can think of a few guys that really like pus…never mind).

2. Guys should not post pictures of themselves hanging with their buddies, especially if it’s every picture.  There were a few cases where we actually wagered who the actual guy was.  Plus, it may lead one to believe that you either need your buddies in  a picture  look better or you are into threesomes, foursomes or frat parties.

3. Girls and guys differ on the definition of witty and/or funny.  For example, one guy’s status was “My mom says she likes me”. The girls at the table thought that he was clever; the guys thought he was a putz.

4.  Girls want to see the whole package.  Close-ups of a bicep or upper abs along with a shot from distance demonstrating a dude’s love of barbecuing veggie skewers in bad lighting doesn’t work.  It’s  a hook-up app, not a 100 piece puzzle.

5.  I suspect that pseudonyms are acceptable if not encouraged.  Let’s face it…if your name is Marvin or Randy you don’t have a chance.  The brown guys have no problem changing their names to Richard or Jacob (I had an Indian guy beside at dinner who confirmed that Richard was actually his cousin Ashok).  That said, some white guys have figured it out.  Take Roberge for example.  This french prince (whose name is likely Bob) was sleek and suave and would likely want to any girl to roll the “R’ and extend his name to a 3 second ROOOOOBBBEEERRRRRRRRRRGGGGGEEEE!

My Take

As mentioned, I am reluctant to suggest that a good group dinner means that a table for two will have the same experience.  What I can say is that the execution of dinner at Bymark was close to flawless.   Although the fois gras was a bloody mess, the other starters, including the lobster poutine and the seared tuna were delicious.  The entrees were served hot and I heard no complaints (whether it was the steak, fish, lamb or risotto) across our table.  For the most part, the service was prompt and professional.  In the end, I think both the guys and girls agreed  that the pieces of meat served on the plate were much better than those offered on tinder.  Sorry Bob.

Bymark on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Downtown:Origin

I was criticized recently for blogging about a restaurant that was open for less than a week.  I mean, who am I to make a comment about the fact that if you’re going to charge me $16 for a bowl of soup, it better be damn good,  a statement which to me seems unrelated to the length of time a place has been open?

So, as a result, I’ll reflect on my recent visit to origin, a King street joint that been open a lot longer than a week (although origin north is still rather new so I wouldn’t want to step outside my boundaries as a food critic/blogger/whatever).  I would argue that origin may have been a bit clairvoyant when choosing its name as it was one of the first restaurants which embraced the small plate, open kitchen concept which has since spread North, East and West across the Toronto landscape (I can’t say south given the geographical limitations due to Lake Ontario and the rather static Esplanade dining scene.)  I went to Origin a few years ago which at the time was under the watchful eye of Steve Gonzalez, who has subsequently opened up Valdez which has a strikingly similar philosophy.  I was a bit surprised to see that the menu and decor have changed very little during this time.

I started the night with  a “Brass Knuckles” cocktail. I normally don’t drink tequila, but the combination of fruity and bitter flavours along with the fact that a few dollars from each sale goes to cancer research was appealing.  It did have a medicinal taste which may explain the name as it feels a bit like a punch in the throat.  I wouldn’t go as far as to call it Buckley’s… it’s more like  that cherry cough syrup your mother gave you as a kid that you secretly didn’t mind taking when you had a chest cold.

Brass Knuckles $13
Brass Knuckles $13

The spicy spanish fries with chorizo and manchego seemed a good start.  They reminded me of poutine meets patatas bravas .  The additional of chorizo was brilliant but I would have liked a runny aioli or spicy tomato sauce to saturate the fries instead of the globs of thick mayo which topped it.  The fries were nicely cooked and the manchego added an appropriate saltiness to the $12 snack.

Spanish Fries $12
Spanish Fries $12

I must confess I have a bad habit.  I see deviled eggs on a menu, get giddy, order them, eat them and then sigh with a tad of disappointment. I sighed a little less at origin.  Although I found the taste of the filling to be average, these eggs were smart.  The souffletine (little cereal balls), the crisp salty and erect bacon plus the leafy herbs tantalized all the taste buds. I must confess I was a little happy my table mate wasn’t a fan of eggs.

Deviled Eggs $7
Deviled Eggs $7

Drink two was an old thyme sour, a spin on the classic cocktail.  Garnished with fresh thyme, it was bold balance of savory and sweet and laced with sour…a simple yet satisfying drink.

Old Thyme Sour $13
Old Thyme Sour $13

Instead of delving into the small plates, we decided to opt for the big guns and chose the two $33 entrees.  The black cod in broth with asian veggies was full of classic flavours,  The cod maintained its buttery texture while swimming in a nicely balance broth.  The bitterness of the veggies added another dimension.  I’m still hung up on the perfectly cooked black cod at George, so I can’t put this at that level but it gets honorable mention. The beef tenderloin sizzling hot plate (with potatoes , kale, mushrooms, roasted onion butter and ponzu) was the other $33 offering.  The concept was good but the execution not so much.  The onion butter lay cold atop the luke warm and less than abundant tenderloin.  The kale/mushroom mix was tasty and maintained a good temperature atop the hot plate. Perhaps I could have romanticized the dish a little more and mixed the butter and beef throughout the dish but hey I’m dumb and always appreciate an explanation of the procedure required to fulfill a chef’s vision.

Black Cod $33
Black Cod $33
Beef Tenderloin $33
Beef Tenderloin $33 (some beef was already snagged before I got to ake the picture)

The service was a bit slow, so I can use that fact to blame the poor quality of the dessert pics.  When it gets dark, I rely on old faithful…my blackberry 9700 with a resolution comparable to a Fisher-Price camera.  The two us have polar preferences when it comes to dessert, I chose the meringue with citrus and coconut…he chose the hot chocolate cake with soft serve ice cream.  My dessert looked like Stonehenge….the rocks  were alternating pieces of meringue and citrus slices on a plain of custard and sprinkled with coconut.  Like the legendary landmark, it was intriguing and yet a bit confusing.   The chocolate cake hit the mark.  The cake was moist and warm and topped with the right amount of bitter chocolate powder to offset the sweetness of the delicious ice cream.

Citrus Curd $10
Citrus Curd $10
Hot Chocolate Cake $10
Hot Chocolate Cake $10

My Take

Whether a restaurant is brand new or a veteran in the Toronto dining scene, I have argued before that Darwin’s theories are applicable to restaurants.  Survival is a process that requires an understanding of the environment including food trends and value.  At the same time, new eateries need a seed, a foundation in which any new concept will grow from as opposed to replace. Perhaps this is my justification to “whatever” a place within days or years of opening.

Origin was exactly that: the origin of the evolution of eateries for the cool kids in the GTA.  Obviously, its success is evident in the fact that it has offspring in both Liberty Village and Midtown.  Although I didn’t delve into the mozzarella bar or the raw bar,  the foods I did try were scattered across the spectrum.  Although nothing was highly memorable, the Spanish fries, eggs and cod were on the better side and the beef fell a little short.  The desserts were a definite talking point. The meringue was light and abstract…the cake was rich and traditional. The mix of trendy cocktails, witty small plates and a few tempting and expensive classics have become a blueprint for  a number of other emerging favorites in all directions outward from  King and Church.  In the end, maybe Claudio Aprile’s gradual evolution from Colborne Lane to origin was sheer luck or maybe it was sheer brilliance, but I’ll give credit where credit is due (and kindly ask him to remember this should I try out for Masterchef Canada again next year).

Origin Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:George

The name George has been able to withstand the test of time.   A popular name in the first half of the 20th century, it has still remained popular post world war II and even in the last 5 years, at a time in which names like Apple, Bacon, North and Wisdom reign the headlines. Even William and Kate named the future aire to the British Throne George (although I am convinced Elizabeth will live to 200 and shut out three generations of potentials kings).

There have been a number of influential and important George’s in history:

  • George Washington was the first president of the United States of America.
  • George Orwell was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century.
  • George Carlin was a visionary in stand-up comedy.
  • George Harrison was a Beatle.
  • George was the star of a short lived early 70’s series about a loveable St. Bernard.
  • George Lucas created Star Wars.

Even in the world of food, the name has been synonymous with success:

  • George Washington Carver was considered a pioneer in the development of a number of food related products.
  • George Weston became one of the most successful food entrepreneurs in Canadian history.
  • George Foreman turned starving students into gourmet chefs.

So, any restaurant that calls itself  George has some big boots, or pans to fill.  First, it doesn’t hurt that it has a number of awards and accolades from Zagat, open table and numerous Toronto magazines.   Second, chef Lorenzo Loseto uses words like “émigré traditions” in his bio on the about page of the website, so it’s gotta be good.

I had two opportunities to eat there in the span of a couple of weeks.  The first was a small planning dinner and second was a group dinner with about 30 people. I apologize in advance for the qualities of the pics during the group dinner.  The use of flash photography is not recommended when somebody is doing trying to explain the nuances of bone metabolism.

As far as drinks go, George has a fantastic wine list with a heavy focus on France and Italy.  In particular, they had a special  feature in which 4 unique Beaujolais wines were offered by the glass.  In addition, they offer a number of artisanal and traditional cocktails.  I opted for the George and Tonic.  It was served with a cute side bottle of Fever Tree tonic water (a premium UK brand which beat’s the hell out of Schwepp’s). The main flavours were grapefruit and lemongrass.  In fact, it was recommended that I chomp on the lemongrass after each sip to enhance the taste of the gin.  Although I felt a bit like a panda bear, it was one of the better gin and tonics I have had.

George and Tonic $9 (Half Size)
George and Tonic $9 (Half Size)

I would define the waitstaff as modestly pretentious which doesn’t surprise me given the clientele and vibe of the restaurant itself.  The waiter we had the first night seemed quite impatient and unimpressed by our speed in ordering and remained stonefaced throughout the evening. Even the  bartender and hostess on night one seemed to be trying hard to fit the mold of a George Segal sculpture. The service for the group dinner was much better.

George Segal's The Diner (and some waitstaff)
George Segal’s The Diner (which is eerily to  some of the waitstaff at George)

At both dinners I had a starter salad. The first was a spring mix with grilled peaches.  I chose this since it was the beginning of season and I don’t think anything beats a fresh Ontario peach.  The dressing was abundant (maybe too abundant)  and had a distinct acidity.  Although the pine nuts were abundant, I was a bit disappointed to only find two small peach slices amongst the jungle of greens on the plate, The boccachini cheese was also scarce but didn’t make much sense in the salad to begin with.

George Salad $10
George Salad $10

The second salad had the same greens, the same dressing but this time had avocado and quinoa. Although it was a little heavy on the ginger, the taste and texture of each component blended to create a surprisingly hearty starter (no pic).

The first plate courses included the soft shell crab with watermelon and avocado quinoa and black cod with a cashew crust and roasted beets.  Each were executed well. The crab maintained it’s moisture but I thought the coating was pretty average. There is a notion right now that watermelon goes with everything but I’m not sure it worked on this plate.  It was sweet on sweet, so the dish just didn’t have enough contrast.

Soft Shell Crab $24
Soft Shell Crab $24

The black cod, on the other hand, was divine.  The fish itself could not have been cooked better. It had a delicate, buttery taste that was complemented by the nuttiness of the cashews.  The roasted beets contained enough earthiness to offset the sweetness so the dish worked well.

Black Cod (bad pic) Part of Group Meal
Black Cod (bad pic) Part of Group Meal

Mains included the wild boar with almond potato croquettes and veg plus beef tenderloin with mushrooms and sweet potatoes.  The boar was incredible.  It was grilled to the perfect doneness and was served on a bed of fantastic vegetables which included pearled carrots and some tender legumes.  I was like inhaling and swallowing the savannah winds themselves. If necessary, I would have wrestled a lion  over this chop but would have been happy with the vegetables in the event he won.

Wild Boar $29
Wild Boar $29

The tenderloin was pretty standard, complemented with mushroom and sweet potato.  The meat was not nearly as succulent as the cod or boar but it was a noble attempt in an effort to feed 30 people at once. It had a subtle anise or fennel flavour in the vegetables which, depending on your taste, could be a good or bad thing.

Beef Tenderloin (really bad pic). Part of group dinner
Beef Tenderloin (really bad pic). Part of group dinner

Desserts were a coconut custard and blueberry cheesecake.  Although the custard was beautifully presented, it wasn’t as mind blowing as it looked.  It’s sort of like that guy or girl you like to look at until they open their mouth and start talking.  I could say the same about the cheesecake.  I just didn’t want to lick either one all over when all was said and done.

Coconut Custard
Coconut Custard $14
Blueberry Cheesecake (Group Dinner)
Blueberry Cheesecake (Group Dinner)

My Take

One might suggest that George could be a namesake for a number of famous Georges, past or present.  The innovative food preparation techniques and drink menu is reminiscent of a modern day George Washington Carver.  The lovely appearance of each dish  could be synonymous with the face of George Clooney.  On that note, even the prettiest stars don’t always make great movies.  The black cod and the boar were like the descendants, the Ides of March, Three Kings  or even Dusk Till Dawn (yes, I love that movie), while the tenderloin and the desserts are a bit more like  Out of Sight, Spy Kids 3: Game Over, Solaris or Return of the Killer Tomatoes.   The salads were like Batman and Robin, decent but nowhere near  the best in the series.

George is current  and innovative and understands the importance of visually appealing food. The dishes look like Georges Seurat paintings. However, some of the waitstaff are as friendly as Georges St. Pierre during a pre-match weigh-in.   Like a stunning work of art, an MMA pay per view fight or a good movie, you want to get what you pay for.  If you follow their suggestions and go with the tasting menu or the three courses, plus dessert and a cocktail or glass of wine, your George Costanza wallet better be stuffed because it will run you over $100, but you will be treated to at least one or two memorable and stunning  dishes, both from a visual and taste perspective. So pony up because after all….

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”

George Bernard Shaw- Man and Superman (1903)

George on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Financial District:Stock Restaurant

Any blog that has anything to do with Donald Trump means the possible insertion of jokes about getting fired, bad hair or something to do with  the apprentice.

A team function brought me to Stock, located on the 31st floor of Trump Tower. There’s a couple of things I would expect when dining at a restaurant affiliated with Donald Trump; waiters with bad hair (dammit!) and at least one staff member getting fired every night (D’oh!).  Seriously, I would hope to view a few self-entitled pretentious patrons and enjoy a dining experience with unparamount attention to detail.

For goal number one, it didn’t take long.  Upon arrival, I was handed a very good glass of what I recall was a Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc and shuffled out to the balcony for some hors d’oeuvres. It was a chilly night, so I wasn’t surprised to see a couple (ie. man and woman) enjoying a couple of  fine cigars and swirling some sort of amber potable while seated in the corner of the balcony as the waiters circulated with appetizers in hand .  Since it was a chilly eve, they were wearing matching fur shawls.  Whether supplied by the hotel or not, it’s pretty irrelevant. MATCHING FUR SHAWLS!  Awesome.  Mission accomplished (sorry no picture).

As for the hors d’oeuvres, I was offered prosciutto wrapped scallops, shucked oysters with fresh horse radish and fried portobello mushrooms with truffle aioli.  The proscitto was a delicate diversion from the usual bacon and provided enough salt to balance the buttery sweet scallop which was cooked perfectly.  The oyster was fresh and meaty.  I must digress on the mushroom as I have publicly called for the banishment of both truffle and aioli as a food trend.  Eating this simple finger food makes me want to take it all back. The mushroom was moist and the batter crispy….and yes, the aioli was good.

Scallop
Scallop
Mushroom with Truffle Aioli
Mushroom with Truffle Aioli

It was a set menu but I found the choices innovative and appealing.  My starter was the octopus. It was executed well….still tender and fired properly (ok..stopping). It was seasoned well and the tender potato added some delicate earthiness to complement this treasure from the sea.

Octopus
Octopus

For the entree, I ordered black cod with an edamame  puree and lightly fried greens. The well seasoned flesh was glistening but wasn’t raw.  The fork cut through it like butter and tasted the same.  The subtle crunch of the crispy vegetables was the perfect complement from both a taste and texture perspective. From the land side,  I  managed to secure a small portion of the filet which was served with a vibrant pink hue  indicative of a good medium rare..simple but satisfying.

Black Cod
Black Cod
8 oz filet
8 oz filet

Dessert was from the chocolate cart which circulated while peddling its house made wares to patrons like an ice cream truck in a subdivision.  A sinful array of truffles and other delicacies weaved  through the tables offering rich and artisan delicacies  which were another example of the delicious attention to detail which was evident throughout the evening.

Chocolate Cart
Chocolate Cart

The meal finished with some Niagara ice wines and a tasty Taylor Fladgate, 10 yr old tawny port which was simply delicious.

My Take 

I expected dinner at Stock to be a adventure in posh dining and a possible fulfillment of my champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Instead of white linens, candlelight and a waiter named Jeeves, the decor was casual and comfortable and the food was the  standard fare you would see at any other eatery in the area.  The concepts were simple and the execution was near flawless.

Ok….I did take a quick peak at the online dinner menu and the prices were quite acceptable and rival some of the higher end restaurants in Toronto.  The octopus is $17, the cod $34 and the filet is $42. The truffles are $3 a piece.

In the end, I got what I was looking for…my paparazzi experience, a good wine/port buzz and a well executed meal from start to finish.  Donald, thanks for making Toronto a better place to dine, one fur shawl at a time.

Stock Restaurant on Urbanspoon