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Winterlicious at Thuet

Went to Winterlicious at Thuet earlier tonight. Very disappointing, so I'll be quick. The lowlights:

Campbell's Sweet Potato Soup with Drowned Jerusalem Artichoke Slices
Skate, Cold Gifilte Fish Dumplings, and Salted, Brined, Cabbage Preserve (I love saurkraut, and I love salt, but this was way too much)
Gristle Bourgignon
Ile "Flottante" - A meringue patty with a custard drizzle
Profiterole - Note the singular!

The themes of the night were tiny portions (especially the desserts), poor service (food before wine?), and a crowded, noisy atmosphere. Overall, terrible value. At half the price of what it would have cost for a dinner ordered a la carte, we received less than half of the food. Only their steak frites actually looked great. Avoid this one.

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  1. Hmmm... Almost exactly what they served last summer. Put me off going there for their regular menu. Too bad for Thuet. Plenty of other restaurants in town.

    1. I was at Thuet last night as well. Showed up for our reservation and had to wait as the tables weren't turning fast enough. We had the same experience with the wine as Kasumeat. They brought my companion a glass of wine, but not me, then came back after she took a sip and said it was the wrong wine and took it away. That was the only slip in service, otherwise very pleasant. Food was good but app and main were only lukewarm by the time they reached us. The regular menu did look better than the Winterlicious offerings.

      1. We went last night - a total waste of time and money. Huge line, then we were told that 'throughput was 1 1/2 hours' i.e. hurry up and eat.

        The food was disappointing, cured salmon dried up at the edges, a tiny portion of beef bourguignon (as in, three forks) that were tasty but extremely fatty, not properly trimmed. Tiny dessert portions too.

        The only highlight was our waitress, who was extremely friendly and professional.

        Not only will we not return for summer or winterlicious, we also won't return for the regular menu if that's the best the kitchen can do. $35 was a joke for what was on offer.

        11 Replies
        1. re: andreas

          I really don't get some people. After all of the negative comments about Winterlicious year after year, people still go to these places expecting the moon. What do you really think you will get for $25 to $35 for a three course meal?

          1. re: pumpkin1

            Thank you pumpkin. SARS is over - good restaurants are no longer on the verge of bankruptcy. Winterlicious is past its usefulness.

            1. re: pumpkin1

              I expect a meal worth $35. Thuet's offering was truly a disgrace, and I will not ever return.

              1. re: Kasumeat

                From Thuets menu on thier website:
                Avocado compote, citrus fruit, maple glazed smoked salmon 16$
                Beef Bourguignon 28$
                Profiteroles with warm Soma chocolate sauce 12$

                Total: $56

                Winterlicious:

                Red beet marinated organic salmon, yuzu infused Napa cabbage, sashimi essence
                Beef Bourguignon à l’Alsacienne
                Profiteroles with warm Soma chocolate sauce

                Total: $35

                Difference= $21

                But this is a fine dining restuarant. Even at full price you are not getting a "Keg" sized dinner. Portions are on the small side.. (look at the food pictures on his website)

                1. re: OnDaGo

                  My job involves taking clients for lunch and/or dinner frequently, and not at the "Keg". I consider myself as being pretty knowledgeable when it comes to good restaurants and food.

                  Winterlicious, in my opinion, is an opportunity for restaurants to show off what they can do. It's about getting people through the door who would otherwise maybe not ever come and visit. It should be a sampling of the best and most creative food that we have access to. I use it to check out restaurants for future reference, to find places to add to my roster of regular haunts.

                  Thuet, in my opinion, got it completely wrong. Serving what I perceived to be mediocre food in tiny (and I mean tiny) portions at high prices does not want me to come back with a group of people and eat from the regular menu.

                  1. re: OnDaGo

                    Hi OnDaGo, judging from picture may not be accurate sometime. Not sure if you have actually order from the regular menu at Thuet, but last time the steak I ordered from their regular menu has a pretty big portion.

                    In general, portion of food during winterlicious is always smaller than their regular time. This is from the my experience and my friend's experience.
                    But of course this is not always true for some participated restaurants.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Yes his steaks are large, and he is more then generous with the frites as he is with the other french "classics". But if you order the fish or other fancier dishes on the first page of the menu I find the portions smaller (as I would expect because they are very rich and complex constructions).

                      1. re: OnDaGo

                        I think you do not understand the meaning of the word "tiny"

                        1. re: OnDaGo

                          So you mean the 'classic' section is a bigger portion that the 'Menu de Saison' section ? hmmm...
                          Just take a look at their on-line menu. I almost forgot that they have two section on their menu.

                          BTW, FYI, The steak that I ordered is not frites and it is from their 'fancier' section. But it is no longer there. Their menu has been changed.

                          But I guess it may be just the fish that got a particular small portion like you said because it sounds like you have probably order from all sections from what you said.

                          1. re: skylineR33

                            Mostly I think it is the ingredients. A steak while a prime cut and aged. still would not include foi gras or truffles, while many of their fancier dishes do, causing the price to increase for a smaller portion.

                            ie I would expect the portion size of: Pavé of flounder and foie gras en feuille de brick, royal malpêque foam 40$

                            or:

                            Mama Scopazzi hand rolled gnocchi, braised elk civet, slivers of fresh truffles 40$

                            to be smaller then their:

                            "tenderloin and rib eye specials are selected and aged through chef Thuet’s Ontario meat program" which is just the seasoned meat and maybe some veg...

                            1. re: OnDaGo

                              well, ok..
                              But I think the point here is portion in 'Licious is tiny (items on appertizer, main and dessert) to the extent that there is not much value at Thuet.

              2. Some posts about the general economics/value of Winterlicious and other similar events have been moved over to the Not About Food Board (a few were removed since we couldn't move them all in the same thread. If yours was one of them and you'd like a copy of your text to repost, please email us at moderators@chowhound.com). If you'd like to follow that part of the conversation, please see this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369031

                1 Reply
                1. We went last week for Winterlicious at Thuet as well. I had their Sunday brunch before - fantastic and huge portions - so I had some 'high' expectations going there (number one - stomach being full).
                  I was disapointed to say the least. Huge wait at the door, felt like we were waiting to get into a club. It was freezing cold and snowing outside, and the host was very slow and inefficient in terms of bringing people to their table, taking coats (the coat room is in an awful location beside the entrance and on the way to the washrooms - major traffic cloggage!)

                  Funny my boyfriend has similar tasting reaction to Kasumeat on the soup - he described it as 'Chef Boyardee' -- and the main Beef Bourguignon dish was basically a very small and simple beef stew that was easily stewed a few days before. We steered clear from the saurkraut and fish (we thought it would be a strange combination!) The dessert was teeny. We ended up going to Hero burger to fill our stomachs.

                  Thuet definitely copped out for Winterlicious, it was boring and uneventful.

                  1. I've been to Thuet twice (not during Summerlicious or Winterlicious) since it opened way back when and the food was very underwhelming at best and if you consider the high end prices, it's simply not worth it. So I don't think this has anything to do with it being Winterlicious. I remember we had the surprise tasting menu which was about $90/person and most everything was bland at best. The portions were fine though. The dessert was a very ordinary creme brulee that you could find at the Keg or something and we didn't even finish it because it wasn't good. And then I read all these bad reviews from friends, on this and other Toronto food forums. Has anyone had any good experiences at Thuet??

                    1. Cannot believe the absolutely sub-standard and over-priced dinner at Thuet a week or so ago. Wine list ridiculously over-priced. The only positive was the wait-staff. Will never, and I mean, never go back. Thought we could have at least decent beef bourgignon and other bistro staples but it was not to be.

                      1. Yes the wine mark-ups are a true insult to the consumer. However, I've never had a problem with the food. The portions are very filling and ingredient driven. I would never take part in the wintericious nightmare though, unfortunately restaurants don't really shine under those circumstances. $35.00 for three cources has to be small portions,many places in this city charge $35.00 for a main course. But Thuet does the best brunch in the city, and the best bistro fare.IMO

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: phisherking

                          I totally agree with you, phisherking. I've gone out to Winterlicious twice and will never go again because it is such a crowded nightmare, and to be honest, I would not expect to get the best food a restaurant has to offer under those extremely stressed circumstances.
                          My SO and I went to Thuet for brunch last Sunday and enjoyed every minute of it. Our waiter was super nice, knowledgable about the menu and quick with coffee refills etc. even when the dining room got packed. All of the food we ordered was very good to excellent (pain thuet, steak tartar, croque madame, eggs benedict/norvegian). I also really wanted to try their chocolate croissants, so I asked for one at the end of the meal and was brought 3 of them (super yummy!) and only charged for one. Based on this experience anyway, I would be happy to go back for dinner sometime (...some un-licious time:)