North 44 vs. Bymark?
I understand the two are related somehow, but is one better than the other? Are either worth the price?
Both are owned by head chef Mark McCuen (sp?) who recently is in Heat on TFN- (kinda Canadian but whatever). I haven't been to NOrth 44 for some reason- but Bymark is excellent- especially in the summer when you can sit outside. As for *is it worth it*? well, I don't know I guess that is a pretty personal decision. I figure if I've had a good time, great service and excellent food- it is always worth it. I've all those things at Bymark several times- never an off note.
I haven't been to North 44 in quite some time but I remember it as one of the better restaurants I have ever been to. Excellent food and absolutely impeccable service. I can't say enough about the service (at least when I was there back in the day). I haven't been to Bymark but certainly plan on going.
Alright that is what I meant by "worth it", yes the prices are quite high, but is it overrated I guess. If you say its good, than I would see it was worth it. Though, Im curious about peoples experiences who have been to both. Bymark seems a TAD more expensive but menu's seen fairly similar
I've only been to North 44 and I have to say it was excellent all round- the food, the service and the generally surrounding. It's always "worth it" - good value for an excellent dining experience. I've actually taken to going during Winterlicious and Summerlicious - for about 10$ extra I had fois gras last time I was there. We splurged on the wine and we still managed to get a fine-dining experience for less then 60$ a head.
Wow.. let's see... This was before the dinner prices went up from 25$ to 35$ - There were three of us that evening- I had the Fois Gras, The Butter Fish and then a chocolate-ish dessert - my boyfriend also has the fois gras, the bison (I think?? ) and a passionfruit dessert, my other friend has the Langostine, the Butterfish and the chocolate as well. That brings us to about 95$ in just the food. We spent about 40$ on the wine (a splurge for us, but a good chocice). I think we ordered an additional starter, since we were already there! Plus tip, that's still less then 180$!! I love the Winterlicious and Summerlicious menus, they really do turn out to be a great deal!
Both are a joke, but Bymark is better from my experience.
Seafood platter is their best offering.
I have not tried Bymark, but just been to North 44 recently. We had great meals there. We had ordered a la carte instead of tasting menus. The scallop with pork belly was delicious. The daily special veal tenderloin with truffles was indeed very soft, tender and juicy. The halibut wrapped in banana leaf had an Asian Thai food taste. The lemon dessert was refreshing too.
The only thing I didn't really like was the noise. Towards the end of the meal it was getting pretty noisy. We had to raise up our voice in order to hear each other.
But I would go back for the food again!
Same owner, but ByMark has a much more corporate suit and tie feel especially through the weeek. Why not try the bar at ByMark to get a feel for the place, you can always go to North 44 after for dinner.
I am a huge fan of Bymark -- it's our go-to choice for all special occasions.
If you go to the bar, try the steak tartare. Or just the truffle risotto.
Downstairs the black cod is always excellent.
it's the only place in the city I will give the chef carte blance to do a tasting menu, with no direction
My wife and I went to Bymark for our anniversary last year.
Would highly recommend it to anyone that asks.
I had the Lobster Poutine for an appetizer.
- Lobster chunks served on the best french fries I have ever had, drizzled with nice hollandaise sauce.
My wife had the Bymark burger.
- it is the best burger ever made, anywhere, anytime. Juicy, spiced perfectly, made with mushroom, brie and fresh basil.
Those were the 2 highlights.
I was just at Bymark last week. Though I agree the food is of high quality, I would have to say that (at least on my visit), they fell short on food presentation and service...several dropped plates, some spilled water, a server who failed to let us know about the features for the evening (we learned of them from overhearing them from the adjacent table), an ignored request for a birthday greeting on the dessert platter etc. etc. Left a sour impression despite having excellent food.
I too had the Lobster poutine, but with Bernaise sauce and it was definitely enjoyable.
Enjoyed supper at Bymark in a private dining room on Wednesday. Young male server clearly lacked basic knowledge about wine - he explained an amarone label incorrectly, and then poured amarone into my glass which was already half full of shiraz. When the problem was pointed out, he quickly brought out a fresh glass of shiraz from a new bottle but the wasted amarone was not replaced.
No amuse, no sorbet, no sommelier. Even the plasma TV didn't work properly after the meal.
Pear mojito lacked definition but was an interesting start. Lobster poutine ($25) with bearnaise (not hollandaise) was truly excellent, their frites crisp and salty. Albacore with yellow fin tartare and dungeness crab ($21) proved a tasty appetizer, but the market-priced sashimi-style mixed seafood platter which included the same tartare as well as shellfish was visually more appealing. Oyster platter showcased 3 kinds including Raspberry Point, an east coaster, and Kumamoto.
Mains were not memorable, save for the single, perfect braised brisket ravioli hidden under my soon-forgotten veal tenderloin ($42.95) with an almost-missing tiny blob of marrow. I love marrow and craved more. Well-aged steaks ($52+) such as filet were on par with Ruth's Chris' (which I enjoy).
Six warm dulce de leche-filled mini-churros ($13.50) with average "hot chocolate" matched with 10-year-old TF port provided a satisfying end to a good meal. Chocolate torte with vanilla ice cream was as boring as it sounds, the fried banana even blander.
Based on price and creativity, I'd suggest eating elsewhere if you really want to splurge on a special meal. It's definitely a safe choice for conservative, picky eaters. However, Bymark should offer whole plates of that fantastic brisket ravioli!
re: Food Tourist
Met Mark McEwan this evening at a special panel discussion at U of T, and he mentioned that Bymark should have provided the "extras" like amuse, sorbet, etc. with our meal in December. He seemed interested in finding out why the extras were missing (we were in a private room but ordered a la carte).
Finally got to Bymark for dinner with my boyfriend last night and felt it was much better than Mark McEwans newest restaurant, One. The room is nothing incredible in my opinion and it was fairly quiet when we first arrived (7pm) but it quickly filled up and was pretty noisy by 8pm.
Dinner started with french bread and butter..nothing spectacular, but at least it was warm. We were also served an amuse of a thinly sliced beef carpaccio with some type of onion salad on top. Very flavourful but contained a bit too much cilantro and coriander which Im not a huge fan of. We started with a dozen oysters (as we usually do) which were served with a trio of relishes, an onion one, a garlic one and a cocktail type sauce. We just like our oysters with a lot of lemon so I only tried the cocktail sauce which was very nice and refreshing. My boyfriend was not very hungry ( he had just consumed a chocolate bar like a stubborn child before going out) so he had a calimari salad as his main which he specifically requested be served cold (dont ask me why, he has these wierd pregnancy-like food requests a lot of the time). There was only about 4 bites of food so I didnt try it but he claimed it was really nice and was happy with the temperature adjustment. I had a lovely roasted artisan chicken (a very large breast on the bone) served with a fava bean/morel salad and some strange rice (I think) type noodles that seemed to be pan fried (I may be wrong on this). These were.. well, strange.. a bit bland with flavour coming from only a bit of butter that they seemed to be fried in and Im not sure how they complimented the chicken, but I enjoyed the overall dish regardless. For dessert we split a "trio of dessert" which was a mini strawberry cheesecake with traditional grahm cracker crust (incredibly creamy, not heavy at all, probably some of the best cheesecake Ive ever had), a mini creme brulee (lovely as well) and a mini chocolate cake with caramel and vanilla bean ice cream (very rich, but balanced out by the ice cream. Im not a chocolate lover so I only needed a taste of this one). After dessert we enjoyed a port and a lovely green peach tea and were served a complimentary petite four (another raspberry cheesecake , this time with a hazelnut crust).
Service: We had a wonderful experienced server who answered all of our questions, was sure to make sure all of our strange food requests/allergies were taken care of and made a lovely wine recommendation for me. However, I felt timing was a bit odd since we were served our oysters very quickly, there was a huge gap between oyster course and main (probably at least a good 35 minutes) when others were getting their food very quickly and then dessert was served within a couple moments of ordering. I dont mind having a long laging meal but it felt a bit choppy and inconsistent.
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was much happier with this dinner than what I had experienced a few weeks ago at One and would definetly return.
We felt it wasnt a very expensive meal either for what we got: a mojito, glass of wine, oysters, appetitser salad (as a main) , chicken main, dessert trio, port and tea was 190$ after tax, before tip.
Next stop is North 44!
While it is fairly expensive for Toronto (our bill is usually $200-$300 for two), the food has always been great at both. Last time I ate at ByMark though, I could no longer eat the churros as I was told they were fried in peanut oil (peanut allergy), though I had enjoyed them many times previously. Kind of disappointing, but at least I can eat some of the desserts there unlike many other restaurants in the city.
While it may be expensive for Toronto, I've always found it to be worth it. Portions aren't tiny, food is high quality, carefully prepared, and I haven't had a bad experience yet.
North 44 is a "tried and true" restaurant that provides great food and service year after year. It has maintained its place in the top 15 restaurants in Toronto, despite the fierce competition from some of the other places like Susur (very good restaurant), Rain (good but small portions), Canoe (Excellent), Starfish (Best seafood) and a ton of others, North 44 still stands right up there.
I recently went to North 44 for my birthday - I have to say there were mixed reviews. The service was outstanding, the decor kind of boring, the appetizers (we both had salads - one mixed with braised leeks the other with roasted nuts - don't remember the rest they were completely forgetable), and the mains were excellent and mediocre. I had the shrimp lasagne - the best lasagne I have had anywhere and worth the big ticket price. My partner had the chicken, which was so-so but she said the lentils were the best she had ever had (and then I had to taste - I concurred). Was it worth the big price tag? Not sure. I would go back for the lasagne though...