- jorden johnson Jun 29, 2004 01:30 PM
Looking for a recommendation in the Distillery District. Open to try new restaurants.
We dined at Perigee on Saturday night. The food was good, not great and very pricey. The six course dinner for two with the wine pairing was about $375 with tax and tip.
At the beginning of the meal our server inquired as to likes and dislikes in ourder that the menu be personalized. My wife said that she preferred not have seafood and certainly nothing raw. Her first two servings, shockingly, were mullet and seared tuna. The latter was quickly spirited away by the server when she was reminded of my wife's preference and replaced with duck. This was the first of three fowl servings, which seemed inappropriate. Curiously, the mullet was my favorite serving of the evening, though this is a most inexpensive fish.
Perigee is a family operation. The sommalier is the son of the owners, I believe. He personally served each wine and was friendly and informative.
We also dined on our Toronto vacation at Romagna Mia, Chiado (tapas only) and Da Gianni and Maria. Though I will admit to a preference for ethnic food, the meals at these three establishments was every bit as enjoyable as Perigee, if you do not consider the wine pairings at Perigee. Though also enjoyable the $45 fee, per person, for the six short pours (2 1/2 to 3 ozs.)was expensive, I thought. If you are looking for value, the combined cost of the meals at Chiado, Da Gianna and Maria, and Romagna Mia was not much more than the cost at Perigee alone.
The folks at Romagna Mia thoughtfully suggested Da Gianna and Maria. When we dined at the latter three nights later, Romagna Mia's chef/owner was also there.
At Chiado, we had a young but most gracious server named Judah who solved our dessert uncertainty by graciously bringing us a tasting of five of them. When a restaurant is that generous, you have to be impressed.
Thanks for the review re: Perigee.
Of the other restaurants you mention, we've only been to Romagna Mia (based on reviews and suggestions here) and I have to emphatically agree that this was a very personal, affable, enjoyable dining experience! Our waiter was tops, even bringing colouring pages and crayons for our 5 year old! And because the main pasta she eats is spaghetti with butter/cheese, they accomodated that even though it's not on the menu. We'd definitely go there again.
This isn't looking promising! Recall that my one-hound, one-vote exercise in culinary democracy in May resulted in my picking Perigee for my "blowout" dinner with Mrs. JiLS in September. Now I'm having second thoughts about Perigee and thinking maybe it's going to be Susur or Scaramouche.
I don't think you could be disappointed in Perigee as long as you are firm in your directive to your server. Make clear that you do not want to be served things you do not like. At those prices, you have a right to that personalized service when you are otherwise ordering blindly.
As I said above, Chiado is an elegant restaurant that would not disappoint on a special occasion. Asked to be served by Judah.
I'm a long-time Susur fan, so reliably biased! But the food there is 'complicated' - it's the only food in Toronto that can't be duplicated at home by AmuseGirl. And my last visit there (both Susur and Perigee visited in last 3 months) was exceptional - I even accepted their 'backwards' menu (main course at start of meal) which has always been a problem for me.
Haven't been to Scaramouche this year (yet) - but it's a long-time favourite. Never puts a foot (or knife or fork) wrong. It's my long-time choice for a romantic evening - formal without being stuffy. And their winelist (although expensive for us locals) is better than both Susur (improving list - but Susur's food isn't particularly wine-friendly) and Perigee (whose list is pathetic).
As a visitor I'd pick Susur (who is 1-of-a-kind) or Chiado (best portuguese in North America?) as you're unlikely to find anything similar and can explore a new experience. But if it's the 'occasion' that's important I'd add Scaramouche to the list. Actually I'd probably call Albino Silva at Chiado and ask for him to prepare a tasting menu at Chiado - but then I'm a regular there.
I'd only go back to Perigee if recommended by someone I know REALLY well.
Have a look at the Distillery website. The restaurants that are contained within the distillery are:
1832 - Pasta Bar
The Boiler House
Pure Spirits Oyster Bar
The first 3 are owned by the Distillery group. Perigee is independant, and a bit more expensive.
I have been to 1832 & Pure Spirits. I would grade them as just above average. The food, service, etc, was very good, but nothing that really dazzled me. I also thought that Pure Spirits may have been overpriced considering everything.
Also, keep in mind that there are also some cafes within the distillery (e.g. Pitko, Grand Piano, Brick Street Bakery, etc). So depending on what you want, and are willing to spend, you may find alternatives to a full service establishment.