DINE and Destinations - - CONTENTS -

The Vic­to­rian-era cot­tage that housed Car­men’s had been a land­mark on the block for decades. The Car­men’s of old, with its sto­ried celebrity clien­tele had long gone and the house had stood lonely and empty for years. Ja­son Huang, an em­ployee from decades past, on his re­turn to Canada, made a sen­ti­men­tal jour­ney for a good steak and saw a For Sale sign. He snapped it up and af­ter years of ren­o­va­tion, has breathed new life into the dusty rooms, cre­at­ing a new Car­men’s. The beau­ti­ful stained­glass win­dows once again gleam from the in­te­rior. Just for the record, I like it a lot. Ex­ec­u­tive Chef For­rest Liu earned his chops work­ing for Jean-ge­orges in Shang­hai and is de­lighted to be in Toronto. With his wife Karan at the front of the house, they have a de­ter­mined work ethic. The menu will make you smile. An amuse bouche of steak tar­tar comes on a crisp fried bun. Scal­lops are cloaked with jas­mine sea salt emul­sion with a kick of tog­a­r­ishi, quinoa and sweet snow peas for con­trast. Miso black cod has a lovely sear and carameliza­tion and is part­nered with spinach risotto with kat­suo­boshi flakes. Not all is ex­otic and even the steak house purist will find joys on the menu: Cae­sar salad, baked potato, as­para­gus with hol­landaise, and more. But let’s get to the main event. From the steak menu, I like the U.S. Snake River Farms Wagyu 8 oz. strip loin. This is a beau­ti­ful fu­sion of east meets west as we can taste the tex­tu­ral qual­i­ties of the revered mar­bled Wagyu beef, but with the ro­bust juici­ness pre­ferred by our Western palates. This is not your grand­dad’s or your dad’s steak house. Car­men’s is the ul­ti­mate steak house for the times.

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