Opal - queen street
Has anyone been? I passed by...it looks totally kewl and got an awesome review recently (toronto life?).
I was there a couple of weeks ago - food was excellent (had the bison) as was the ambiance (jazz piano playing).
Long overdue review:
food was fantastic with generous portions, service was prompt and friendly, jazz was phenomenal.
Starters - had the indonesian crab cake and organic green salad w/ serrono ham. Crab cake was very sweet w/ @ least a heaping tablespoon of tobiko on top over a bed of microgreens. Very generous portion of quality serrono ham ontop of a heaping pile of salad. Both were excellent.
Mains - ostrich tenderloin and my friend had the magret (duck breast) w/ foie gras. The piece of foie gras was superb. Both dishes were delicious but i found the duck to be the favoured of the 2.
didn't do dessert but there's several lindt chocolate options - i'm not a fan of lindt.
i'd recommend this most definitely
My wife and I had a wonderful time there on Mar 2. We started with a reservation for first seating. The room was lovely, with exposed brick and muted halogen lighting - not too austere or stark - clean, modern lines, while still feeling romantic and charmingly warm. The room was set up with dining tables at the back, stage and bar in the middle, and lounging areas at the front with a few more tables. Note - this is also where the line stands in cold weather, and the place is tight, so the tables here are not necessarily the most romantic places to eat. For me, at those prices, I'd hold out until I could get a reservation for the dining room at the back.
It's a quiet policy for the entertainment - which I like - this is a performance - not just background music. After we finished dinner, we moved to the lounge so they could have our table for second seating. After a bit of patience, they were able to seat the patrons for second seating (crowded into the lounge area), and we were able to get a lounge table and a drink. If you go from the dining area to the lounge for the second set, make sure you tell your server that you have already paid cover so they know not to hit you again. They will tell you (politely) as you are seated, that they will need the table again at 9. I don't mind this kind of directness at all, and I'm glad they let us know as we sat down.
The entertainment changes - there is a cover for it - keep in mind. On the night we went, it was Hilario Duran Trio - latin jazz with a piano - exquisite and exciting.
Staff was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly.
Food - fantastic. I had a fried goat cheese appetizer with a caribou main, crusted in pistachio, mustard and panko, with a pomegranite reduction. This was a very pricey splurge ($53 for the main, where the other mains there were between 20 and 30 something), but also beautifully warm red rare. My wife had a wonderfully grilled salmon and shrimp with a perfect salt and char flavor. Again, perfectly done.
Desserts- not as fantastic. My wife has always wanted to try baked alaska. They flamed it in pernod tableside, and as this dessert goes, it was one of the better renditions, but it was still the familiar ice cream and cake we all know.
Drinks- a few vodka "martinis" that looked interesting (including a number of them with little flowers floating on them. They also favoured a lot of the better "classic" cocktails. Now, any bartender worth their salt knows how to make an Old Fashioned, or any of the variations of a Manhattan, but as a client without a mixology certificate, I do appreciate the "prompting", even for the classics.
All in, it was a great evening and I would be happy to return.
Again overdue review....
I went there back in January with a friend (we're both really into Jazz). We showed up around 9pm, and it was pretty packed. We weren't there for dinner but wanted to enjoy the music and have some wine and "nibblies"
We managed to get a seat on one of the comfy sofas, but after waiting approx 15 minutes without a server offering us anything (drinks or a menu), we finally waived the hostess down for help. She promptly offered us menus and got a server to come over to take our drink order.
We waited another 10 minutes or so for drinks...at which point I got up to let the manager know. He was extremely professional and accomodating. Our drinks were immediately delivered as was our food order (we got a couple of cheese plates).
At the end of the evening (which we enjoyed immensely-and my friend who is a classical musician herself was very pleased with the accoustics), the manager actually came up to us and apologized about the tardy service we received earlier on. He was warm, charming and comped our entertainment fee of $10 each to make up for the service woes. It turns out they were understaffed that evening. This is the professional response I expect, and I would and will definitely be returning.
The only negative thing I'll point out (and not a fault of the owners/management), were the loud stupid people sitting around us who have NO CONCEPT of what a Jazz bar is...ie: it is not a place to get drunk and blab off loudly to friends while the musicians are playing. You are there to LISTEN to the performers. It is rude, plain and simple. This etiquette rule was posted by the owners for all who chose to read the postcards on the tables.
Gosh, I was there in December and did not enjoy myself. (Always the cranky one; <sigh>.)
Like superchick, I had the crab cake. It was lovely but I found it ridiculously expensive - ~$18 IIRC, for one cake just a bit bigger than a squashed golf ball.
My friend and I each had a martini and a crab cake, laughed and left. To be fair my experience may have been tainted by the fact that a) for whatever reason, she was buying - and she's VERY cash-strapped... and b) I really don't like jazz!, no!
But Splendid Wine Snob, I did not yap through it. I may not like it, but I can smile and pay attention as though I do ;-)