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Globe Bistro Review - Long

Hi all,
Here's another long review (I can't help it;-).

In search of a resto for my mother-in-law's 85th birthday, and on the recommendation of several CHs who's opinions I respect, we went to The Globe Bistro on Friday night.

We had an interesting evening which I would characterize as a bit of a mixed bag. The resto is the former Cafe Brussels, though there are no vestiges of it's former life. The room is really lovely and elegant with soaring ceilings, wonderful lighting and contemporary art, white linens. One of the things that struck me was as soon as we arrived and were being escorted to our table was that every server we passed made eye contact and said hello, as did several in the open kitchen. We were seated at an OK table in front of the walk-in wine cellar. I think the banquets against the wall are more desirable and more comfortable. One of our dining companions had forgotten his reading glasses and asked the maitre d' if he had a spare set. A box was presented with five or six strengths of magnifying glasses and the comment, "Courtesy of Josephson's Optical". Nice touch. In addition, our friend was presented with a small battery operated light with which to better see the menu. The lighting wasn't particularly dim to us, but he found it helpful (and fun to play with).

Our waiter Jordan (we asked...he didn't say "Hi my name is Jordan and I'll be your server"), was fantastic and made the night. More on this later. The menu is lengthy, adventurous and interesting http://www.globebistro.com/menu.php, but certainly not what I'd term bistro fare, not that it mattered. Just an observation given the resto name. In addition to the main menu was the Summerlicious menu, which we summarily ignored. The wine list was simply excellent. Notable were seven (!) champagne/sparkling wines by the glass, as well as 17 whites and 10 reds by the glass, including some interesting and unusual choices. Prices were very good for both glasses and bottles.

Starters
Organic Tottenham Speckled Trout Tartare - served with warm blinis, lemon creme fraiche, whitefish caviar, fleur de sel (two of us had this) - Fresh, light, delicious and beautifully presented but tartare needed seasoning to hav any flavour since the fish is so mild and delicate.

Vidalia onion soup in a broth - sounded lousy to me. But our friend, who stated he's not a big soup eater raved about this soup.

Mains
Cumbrae's Naturally Raised Rib-Eye Steak served with fois gras and bone marrow butter stuffed back into the marrow bone and presented vertically, truffled yukon gold puree and glazed pearl onions. - The plate looked great and my husband enjoyed the perfectly cooked steak. The potatoes were delicious, redolent with roasted garlic. The pearl onions were a caramelized joy.

Two of us ordered the main special which was a pork chop that was rapturously described and highly recommended. I cannot remember the accompaniments other than the fingerling potatoes, baby squash, spinach, I think, in a pool of something unidentifiable but referenced as being leek based. The pork chop was very fatty and served very rare, not a way I like to eat pork. The vegetables were delicious. Our friend sent his back and instead asked for another bowl of the soup he so enjoyed. I picked at mine, eating around the rare centre.

Dinner was accompanied by a 2005 McManis Family Viognier - very nice, and a 2004 Torbreck "The Struie" Shiraz - delicious and complex.

Dessert
Husband enjoyed a chocolate dessert which he said was good, not memorable.
Friend ordered the chocolate ice cream sandwiches with a sauce (sorry, can't recall). The presentation was teeny, tiny. The sandwich cookies were hard as rocks and inedible and there was little sauce.

I ordered the sour cherry cobbler, also a teeny presentation of one hard, inedible biscuit and a smattering of what tasted to be canned squishy cherries (though I was told they were cooked sous vide - an utter failure in this instance).

Both of these desserts were sent back and replaced with a cheese plate with four of the very best cheeses I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, served at the correct temperature with warm toasted baguette rounds and lovingly described by "Ed", the maitre d' who told us he's in charge of cheese. Each cheese had a small matched accompaniment (candied nuts, fig jam etc). Bravo Ed!

Service
Despite a few glitches at dinner, Jordan made the evening lovely. No the service wasn't perfect (spilled red wine while decanting; wine and water glasses not topped; I wasn't asked about my pork chop even after our friend sent his back and I voiced my agreement). Clearly we were a demanding table. But Jordan dealt with every twist and turn beautifully and with very good humor and a lovely personality. He even told us the dessert menu is in review and will be redone very soon. Neither pork chop was removed from our bill. I think one should have been, since it was sent back. But that wasn't a dinner-killer for us.

Overall we really enjoyed the experience and will return to try it again. Globe Bistro has lots of potential.

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  1. Thanks for the detailed review. "Ed" is likely Ed Ho, the owner, whose labours were detailed on Opening Soon a few months back.

    1. Glad you enjoyed your experience at Globe, I been a couple of times and alway found it adventurous yet skillfully prepared food.

      My question is about your trout appetizer. Considering it was tartare, I assume it was raw and since it since it was named Tottenham and Globe tends to rely on local ingredients I'm assuming it was local and not ocean trout. Did you have any issues about parasites that are normally found in fresh water fish?

      I'm a raw fish lover and if Globe could say that their tartare was parasite free I would love to try it.

      BTW - I think medium would be perfect for a pork chop and if the restaurant wished to serve it rarer they should check with the guest.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mila

        Mila, you make a good point about the safety of the fish. Yes it was raw. I assumed (and maybe I should have asked...I'll let you know in a few days, I guess;-) that it was farmed fish and that I would be safe. I agree with you on the pork chop. Medium works for me. But then again, I could have sent it back to cook further so that was my error.

        1. re: GRobin

          I had the tuna tartare at Globe a couple of weeks ago, with no ill effects.

          1. re: edibleTO

            Sure, but the issue is fresh-water fish, which is not normally served as sushi/crudo.

            Godspeed, GRobin! We're all pulling for ya.

            1. re: edibleTO

              I'm a pretty adventurous diner, and I eat sushi very frequently, but I would think twice about speckled trout tartare. Parasites are much more common in fresh water fish than in salt water fish. Perhaps they freeze the fish before serving it as tartare, but then that raises the question about what that would do to the texture of a tartare.

        2. Fresh water fish should be servsd raw as much as pork should be served rare- never!Your report doesn't sound like the best meal since you paid for food that was returned due to kitchen error, and desserts were returned for the same reason. They should never have charged you for the returned pork dish, and probably promo'd the cheese since the desserts were a kitchen mistake. I used to serve, and know that little things like that make all the difference.

          4 Replies
          1. re: phisherking

            Sorry phisherking, but this one is a pet peeve of mine, about the pork doneness. The roundworm trichinosis is actually killed at 137 degrees, previously thought to be 170 degrees. The number of cases in Canada is now so low or non-existant that Health Canada does not even track them.

            From the Canada Pork Council website:
            "Because Canada has been very effective in eliminating trichinosis from the swine herd, Agriculture Canada has proposed that the Canadian swine population be recognized internationally as being "trichinosis free"."

            So if you choose, please indulge in a lovely juicy piece of pork that doesn't need to be cooked to well done. Now, being of a certain age that I cannot quite get my head around rare pork, I would certainly enjoy a medium Berkshire porkchop.

            1. re: Mila

              Agree. Don't think Canada has had a single case of trichinosis from pork in over 15 years.
              Apparently the main source now is from bears (although must admit I haven't seen Bear Tartare that often).

              1. re: estufarian

                Of course, many of us would be tempted to try Bear Tartare if we saw it on a menu, right? So it's good we're having this discussion.

                1. re: childofthestorm

                  I never said that it should be cooked well done, but the poster commented on it being " very rare", BIG difference- a perfect medium is how pork should be cooked. Very rare would be like bubble gum IMHO

          2. Thanks for the report, GRobin! Don't ever be concerned with the "length" of a review. Taking the time to write in such detail is a service to us all, and surely not a burden. Much appreciated!

            1. Thanks for your review, I'm a bit puzzled though, are you really easy to please or are there other positives which you didn't mention? Seems like the service was great and the restaurant looked nice but the food sounds, well, awful. If two of you didn't like your main and also sent back your deserts, and even the tartare was bland, what was so enjoyable about it?

              3 Replies
              1. re: ddelicious

                I smiled when I read your question ddelicious, because in fact we are not at all easy to please and can be quite demanding. In retrospect when I reread my review it doesn't sound that way. I guess there were lots of things right about the evening for us. You know how sometimes you're in a great mood, with people you want to be with; it's the end of a week and you just want to have a good time? That's how we were feeling and we got a good vibe when we walked in and also when we saw the menu and wine list. So maybe that night we were predisposed to make the best of it. Trust me, it doesn't always happen.

                The room was lovely, the server very good, for the most part and very likeable. The wines were great. We liked the menu and wine list. The cheese plate outstanding. The culinary executions could have been better on most fronts, though Michael enjoyed his steak and our friend enjoyed the soup enough to have two bowls and the presentations were lovely.

                I guess my point was that the evening was a mixed bag but not enough of a bad experience to condemn the place outright. More importantly, enough was enjoyable that we would give it another chance.

                1. re: GRobin

                  Ok, so I decided to email Globe Bistro to ask about the raw trout and Ed, the owner sent me a timely and professional reply. He told me that in dealing with the freshwater fish tartare, they had long discussions with the farmers and were told the fish are naturally raised fish on farms that are well fed and maintained. The farmers told them that parasites are more of an issue in warm weather and in conditions where the fish have to bottom feed on whatever may be available. The farmers claim there is not a substantial risk but did admit that there is the possibility of parasites and that they could not rule it out entirely.

                  As a result the restaurant had two options presented to them by the fish supplier: 1) They could "pasteurize" the fish by heating the trout to 175F for at least 3 hours or 2) they could freeze the fish to less than -20C for at least 24 hours.

                  Ed told me they tried both and found that freezing left the fish texture a little more delicate, but substantially unchanged and that this route was a more practical for the kitchen.

                  So to make a long story short, Ed indicated they freeze the fish for the tartare before they use it because food safety is paramount.

                  He also indicated he read my post on CH and was sorry about porkchop and said if I had notified him of the problem he would have taken it off of our bill.

                  1. re: GRobin

                    Bless Ed!. I love this restaurant, and Ed's response to your concerns was brilliant. He found out details and was able to relate them to you. My only concern is that my husband ( I found out later) was smitten with our server!