debauchery) did not buy a dinner even vaguely fit for an aristocrat.
The sole wonderful pre-dessert item we ate was ricotta porcini ravioli — deep complex savour — topped with rich braised short rib. Our other app — wagyu beef carpaccio — was splendidly marbled buttery beef, but its topping — truffle crumb — reminded me of what comes out of a ramen spice packet on a lazy day. I ask the waiter how they make it. He says they don’t; they buy it; and you can get it at a supermarket.
Then there’s the fixings. The $14 fries are big, fat and mealy. They come with meh house-made ketchup. I’d prefer Heinz. Asparagus with lemon beurre blanc also meh. Too little beurre blanc, not buttery enough. Same mouth feel to Béarnaise sauce — not buttery enough.
Also less than exciting is the $64 Australian lamb rack. I find the maple addition to the pistachio crust off-puttingly sweet, and my feelings about Australian lamb can be summed up in one word: Loblaws.
But steak is really the point here. Our 18 oz. $90 PEI strip loin is perfectly cooked, warm ruby heart and strong char. But I don’t love it. The waiter warned us that they season their steaks less than other steak houses, and he proffered three different boutique salts. But large crystal fancy shmancy salt doesn’t season a steak.
It’s a great show, from drinks to dessert. The $20 old fashioned (a.k.a. Once Upon a Time) comes covered in a bell jar, wreathed in smoke that escapes when they lift the jar. Shazam! The profiterole dessert arrives, a shiny dark chocolate dome. The waiter pours warm salted caramel sauce over it, and the chocolate melts into a river, exposing house-made hazelnut ice cream (one of the best things they do) topped with choux pastry.
All show, no go. Perhaps perfectly in the tradition of Sir Henry. Joanne Kates trained at the Ecole Cordon Bleu de Cuisine in Paris. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Maclean’s and Chatelaine.
located at 394 Bloor St. W., received a conditional pass following a Jan. 9 inspection. Of seven infractions observed, three were considered minor, three significant and one crucial in severity. It passed a Jan. 17 reinspection.
Chicken, My My Katsuya, Forno Cultura,
Clockwise from top: Prince oversees the oak room, chilled jumbo prawns, and one of the many steak options Cibo,