Joanne Kates drops an­chor at the Com­modore, a small but se­ri­ous seafood restau­rant

Plus the 905’s new Span­ish restau­rant im­presses with its high-end paella and more

Richmond Hill Post - - Table of Contents - — Joanne Kates


1265 Queen St. W. $80 Din­ner for two

The team that de­signed Bar Raval has made such a sweet resto, the grand curv­ing wood rem­i­nis­cent of Raval. The look is mar­itime with­out kitsch, nary a lob­ster pot or fish­net in sight, but we know they re­fer gen­tly to the sea­side with the arched white wooden walls and ceil­ing, and mul­ti­plic­ity of port­hole-like round lights pep­per­ing the ceil­ing. Th­ese were sal­vaged from the old and re­gret­table Cap­tain John’s ship resto that was moored for 40 years at the foot of Yonge Street.

I’m pretty sure they look bet­ter in their new home.

We quite like the servers too: They are both knowl­edge­able and cool, mi­nus that nasty we’re cooler than you at­ti­tude that some­times af­flicts down­town west servers when deal­ing with those of, shall we say, ma­ture years.

We love the sword­fish crudo, per­fectly fresh flesh dressed with shiso leaf for fra­grance, Trinidad pep­pers for heat, pick­led sea as­para­gus for sour, soy for umami and a crown of crispy chicken skin for sexy. And the Cape Bre­ton sweet baby shrimp served on sour­dough with an­chovy brown but­ter sauce. And the duck con­fit with just enough Kew­pie mayo for happy sin, chilies, scal­lions, toasted peanuts and mint, and served on a gos­samer crispy co­conut cream crepe made of tapi­oca starch and rice flour. For $12!

Some­time’s there’s a di­vinely creamy black risotto of squid ink built on braised cured meat with chopped cala­mari. For $13!

For dessert we get very busy in­hal­ing pump­kin pud­ding served in an an­tique teacup, topped with brûléed meringue. And a de­light­ful tart of caramelized ap­ple with al­mond crum­ble atop crème anglaise, in the ten­der­est crust I’ve met in months. Maybe years.

This is a small and out-of-the­way but se­ri­ous restau­rant. You can feel and taste that they want very badly to ex­cel.

Their ut­ter ab­sence of pre­ten­sion or that too-cool-forschool at­ti­tude com­bined with their won­der­ful kitchen are pre­cisely the rea­son why you’re go­ing to have a hard time get­ting a ta­ble.

We are deeply grate­ful that they take reser­va­tions. You gotta be, nowa­days.

Clock­wise from left: the Com­modore does nau­ti­cal with­out the kitsch, their Cape Bre­ton shrimp, a va­ri­ety of pin­txos at Tapagria

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