Meni Midi Meh

I had a business lunch in the Mount Sinai hospital area, so I needed a place close by. I have walked past Midi back numerous times and figured it would a good time to give it a try.  I showed up from my reservation and was handed  the $18 summerlicious menu which offered the standard starter, entree and dessert.  It was the only menu available but I wasn’t super upset since most of the regular items (most of which were French inspired) were also featured.

It has a small interior that is quite modest and rather worn down.  It doesn’t hold a whole lot of people and it was manned by one waiter who also seemed to be responsible for ordering the restaurant’s food supply as well.

I started with the soup of the day which was split pea. It was a decent consistency but was rather starchy and slightly underseasoned.  The fish special was a seared tuna served with a mango salsa and frites.  The tuna was cooked rare as requested but was horribly underseasoned.  The salsa was a mess…overly sweet with no contrast whatsoever. The fries were marginally warm.  Dessert was a vanilla cardamon creme brulee which I was pretty excited about given my love for that spice in a dessert.  The flavour was there but the consistency of the creme brulee was a little clumpy.

My Take

Lunch at Midi was like a trip back in time.  The worn, unwelcoming decor matched the equally outdated food.  All three components of the $18 summerlicious menu were mediocre at best.  In stark contrast to Caesar’s triumphant Veni, Vidi, Vici war cry, foodies flocking here would likely wimper Meni, Midi, Meh.

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Review:Toronto:St Lawrence Market & Old Town:Trevor Kitchen and Bar

Trevor Kitchen and Bar is a hidden underground cave nestled among the established Wellington Street restaurant row just east of the financial district promising  an anti-elitist fine dining experience.   Normally,  Trevor offers a meat heavy, fois gras filled , rich menu which is a bit on the pricy side.  However, they actively participate in winter- and summerlicious  and surprisingly offer a prix-fixe lunch menu during December for only $25. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of this great offer.

Must

The prawn spaghettini in cognac and chive was divine.  An abundant number of  juicy prawns were scattered within a large portion of  tasty al dente noodles.  It was seasoned perfectly and lacked the greasiness and over saltiness  of many other oil based pasta sauces.

Prawn Spaghettini
Prawn Spaghettini

The coq au vin was what you dream of coming home to on a dreary winter day.  Highlighted by fall-off-the-bone chicken atop stick-to- your-ribs mashed potatoes and served at a perfect temperature, it brought that toque and mitts right off the heater feeling to my insides and the lack of the cliche parsley garnish was so refreshing.

Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin

The dessert was magic. The chantilly brought a light texture and subtle saltiness to the moist and rich torte topped with  sparkly caramel  sauce and a solitary gooseberry…yes…I love gooseberries.   There’s no way I could finish it after the rich entree but the few bites I had were a fit conclusion to a great meal.

Dark Chocolate and Caramel Torte with Peanut Butter Chantilly
Dark Chocolate and Caramel Torte with Peanut Butter Chantilly

Maybe

The starter salad  is quite large for a lunch salad and was good enough although the dressing was a bit too acidic.  It lacked the punch and visual appeal I was expecting; a whole lot of greens with a few sliced pears, some small pumpkin seeds and a few pickled onions.

Bitter Greens
Bitter Greens

Mundane

I appreciate the attempt to respect  the original architecture of the building but the atmosphere and decor is a bit lack lustre. The layout is odd, the kitchen is distant and the reddish tiled floor looks like you’re in the Queen Street subway station . That said, I wouldn’t trade it in for a bright, overdecorated room to distract patrons from sub-par food  but I think some inroads could be made to increase the visual appeal just a bit.

My Take

Trevor’s Christmas gift is a great December lunch menu for a great price.  On the flip side, it’s kind of like getting a great gift wrapped in newsprint instead of pretty paper.  Maybe it’s the fact I was seated in the same area twice, but I looked at the comfy gallery pics online but just don’t get that feeling. If you don’t care for bows and ribbons, however,  the food is well worth the trek into the underbelly of  aged Wellington St. architecture.

 

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