It’s hard not to imagine Patrick Kriss’s diner-inspired follow-up to Alo (the No. 1 restaurant in Canada for two years running – maybe you’ve heard of it?) struggling at least a little to live up to the bar set by its prom-king older sibling. And I must admit, when I first snagged a coveted spot in those narrow banquettes last fall, I felt like something about Kriss’s steakhouse-by-way-of-bistro menu wasn’t quite gelling – but I also trusted that the chef, known for his quasi-monastic dedication and focus, was going to keep refining until everything was to his exacting standards. And he’s nailed it: Coupled with Alo’s pitch-perfect service, the menu at Aloette – from supple scallops to meaty fried smelt and a burnishedcheese burger – makes for comfort-food nirvana. And be sure to try the seasonal stuff: Kriss’s dish of buttery-sweet wedges of fried squash, recently retired for the warmer months, is so good, I would almost will us back into winter (gasp!) just so I could eat it again. 163 Spadina, at Queen, 416-260-3444, aloetterestaurant.com
Iceberg wedge salad with chive cream, avocado, pumpkin seeds and Parmesan at Aloette.