No 2 Quetzal
CHEF ROGER MOOKING, FOOD NETWORK CANADA “This spot boasts beautiful design and even better food. The lamb barbacoa was a highlight along with myriad different seafood and ceviche options.”
POST CITY’S TAKE: Grant van Gameren has done it again. Now able to count his restaurants on two hands, the chefpreneur is joined by Owen Walker and chef duo Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo in this ode to fire-licked Mexican fare. Reading as a visual response to the undulating Bar Raval down the street, Quetzal feels like a nautical cathedral where everyone worships flame. Much of the kitchen is devoted to the firepit, which runs down half the room and includes a traditional comal (the griddle used to cook tortillas). Diners seated in front of the nightly show are given wee water spritzers with which to cool down, should the need arise. But it’s not all flames. A raw bar centres the space, turning out ceviche like the verde mixto, with delicate scallop and whitefish dressed with green apple and sea asparagus. Much emphasis is placed on the house-made salsas, which showcase a variety of chilies in addition to walnut and ants (a traditional Mexican ingredient). Larger plates include the lamb barbacoa: a meaty neck is served with pickled veg and a duet of piquant salsas to wrap up in fresh tortillas. The ultra-tender lamb renders the accompanying Laguiole steak knife almost useless. Desserts like the orange granita with cardamom meringue refresh the palate beautifully. 419 College St.
From top: Little Italy gets flame-grilled Mexican, mollejas (sweetbreads)