NYOOD - opening tonite?
- Recyclor Feb 9, 2008 05:35 PM
I have barely heard a peep about this place, a friend of a friend is working there as a server and the word is they are opening for a few private parties tonite, anyone going? Not sure what to expect, Kutura and Colborne Lane do quite well and I would go to them, but the vibe might just be a bit much combined with the Queen W location...I hear to room is stunning though...anyone got the scoop?
went last night .... roger's a great chef so no doubt the food will be good (i didnt get there in time to try any) .... room was a bit strange though .... still felt very much like a gallery space ... some of the lighting was kinda bad in spots as well ... but im sure it will do well - it will give the 905ers somewhere cool to eat before they walk down the street to the social
Similar but smaller. We tried a couple of the ceviches, which were both fantastic but TINY...much smaller than the shrimp ceviche that's on the seemingly updated menu at Kultura. Ribs were good but not out of this world and I'd stay away from the mushroom flatbread type dish - while the largest thing we ordered by far. I seem to remember it being doughy and overly garlicy tasting but with the wine flowing I can't be sure. In any case, it was the only thing on the table that didn't get eaten up in a flash. I think it's definitely worth a try but I won't be rushing back...
Bumping this. Planning to go there for dinner this Thursday night BUT not if it has become more of a bar scene than focussed on the food (although given it's pedigree, I certainly hope that isn't what has happened!). Not that I mind if people come only for cocktails and the scene, as long as the food is still the restaurant's focus.
Anyone have recent experiences re food and atmosphere? Particularly on a Thursday?
I've been there several times for dinner - each on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night; Saturday I have only been for drinks
Thursday (and most nights actually) gets busy at the bar after about 9/9.30. They have 2 seatings for dinner - 6pm and 9pm; the 6pm seating on any day is obvioulsy quieter.
I quite enjoy the food there. By far my favourites are the lamb tagine and short ribs .The tagine is nicely spiced, veggies (onion and carrots) are not mushy and there is a fair amount of tender lamb. I have yet to find a fatty piece of lamb in the tagine. It is covered with a puff pastry
As for the short ribs - lots of meat, tender and a sweet/smoky sauce on them with a very spicy "crunch" type topping on it. I absolutely love these
The smoked salmon flatbread is ok - it is a bit bland - I guess I like my salmon "smokier" than they use. There is also a lamb flatbread -- others have quite liked it; I personally find the mix of flavours doesn't work for me. I think it is the general nice spiciness of the dish, but it is thrown off (for me) with the cherry tomatoes
The actic char tartare is wonderul (very small) - very refreshing flavours with a tomato base. Take a pass on the arctic char ceviche.
The cheese tray is ok. There is a pistachio dessert which is quite tasty (a friend made me try it as I don't typically like pistachio), but I would order this again.
Anyway, I find for 2 people, 4-5 dishes is lots. With a bottle of wine and 4-5 dishes, the bill is usually around $200
re: mac n cheeze
Absolutely support the short ribs and lamb tagine offerings. Both great. I also liked the octopus - both flavourful and tender.
I usually go early in the week. But both Tues and Wed get pretty busy around 9-9:30 (although Monday is quieter). You can be near the bar for the 'scene' - or further away if the food is your main objective. And good selecction of wines by-the-glass too.
But on Thurs will definitely be noisy.
re: mac n cheeze
Thanks so much everyone for the feedback.
We went on Thursday as planned and had a great time. We enjoyed every dish except, surprisingly, the Kobe beef and the rare beef (was not called carpaccio, name has escaped me). Loved both flatbreads (the mushroom/gorgonzola and the tomato basil) and yes, they were quite large. The table loved the succotash, the bean salad, the mushroom/rapini and the chicken dish. I'm forgetting some dishes but they were all great (subject to the beef exceptions). If you get flatbread, then 3 dishes per two people on top of that should be sufficient for most people.
Very nice server and competent (the busboys were a bit weak, but that was OK). The room was quite loud even at a 6:30 seating and one thing to watch out for - we were seated at the front and there was quite a cold draft entering from the street and the entrance. Can't imagine what that would be like in the winter!
They were good about spacing the plates, rather than bringing them all out at once (this happened at Maro - quite hard to fit 16 plates on one table at the same time!). However, there was at one point quite a long lull between sets. We ended up still at the table and eating when the next seating had likely arrived. Had they started pushing us out to make room for the next group, I would have been quite annoyed given that any lateness on our part was due primarily to this delay, but we were not faced with that problem. The staff remained friendly and did not rush us.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this restaurant to others.
P.S. to the person who ate tapas in Spain for 3 weeks. We were just there ourselves. The portions were generally quite large, yes, but then, potatoes, peppers, tuna, tortilla and chorizo (among other things, to name some of the most common) are not exactly gourmet or expensive to make...I'm not sure I agree that it's fair to compare restaurants like Jamie Kennedy, Colborne Lane, Kultura or Nyood etc. to authentic Spanish tapas, which I don't think any local would attempt to describe as gourmet by any stretch. Here, the small plates are, I think, intended to allow you to appreciate the mix of flavours and textures the chef has created, as well as allow you more opportunities to try different dishes, instead of committing to one main. BTW, Casa Barcelona on the Kingsway has some interesting tapas, but I think you'll find the servings VERY small in comparison to those in Spain itself.
only one visit so far and i can see this as a snacks and drinks but i may avoid to try to do a full dinner here just to keep the costs to a minimum.
noticed a pretty hefty amount of choice of whites by the glass with good variation and was very happy with a 2005 from alsace that kim cyr picked out for me.... perfectly what i asked for with very juicy pear notes and thick honey flavour at 12$/glass. also went fantastically with the red meats we consumed.
the champagne cocktail list was certainly lux in contents and price but not flavour. very bland and one note. not worth the $18 for that kir canadian... at all!
found the ceviches to be more of a miss with good elements but poor overall composition. the shrimp and lychee wasn't even raw with a cooked glazed shrimp (though delicious on it's own) and a far too fluid "fennel milk" that added very little.
octopus salad a total winner with very well rounded distinct flavours that combined beautifully.
arctic char tartare was overwhelmed with the sauce and tomato dice that the fish was unrecognizable.
arctic char ceviche was tasty but basic in flavour combinations and could do with less mayo/cheese whatever on top because again it was a bit much.
succotash was absolutely dull! refreshing at least but nothing really interesting to the palate with a basic combo of beans and corn with spicy peppers.
mushroom flatbread was not doughy as mentioned by someone else but overloaded with cheese and had a nice selection and quantity of firm mushrooms. still not very impressive and took effort to eat.
lamb flatbread was fantastic with minty leaves and some fresh slices of tomato. mild but appropriate enough spicing.
really loved the short ribs with the garlic chips on top. slow subtle burning heat that will get you in the end, wine was very good for this ;)
white bean flatbread was delicious. homey, comfortable, delicious. it felt rustic in a space that appears to be trying just a touch too hard. really good earthy and bright flavours.
souffle looked lovely and server kept referring to it as molten cake, confusing the whole table. didn't try a bite.
the pistachio cake with sabayon was fantastically delicious that i will have to order it every time though a little on the dry side. the pear chips were meh with little flavour and just lots of sweet chewiness. the crisp tuile thing on top of the pistachio cake is probably what won me over the most.
got a side of the orange caradmom ice cream at $3 for a tiny scoop!! great cardamom and orange flavour but lacking in the ice cream aspect.
most dishes were insanely small and sent instant shock through me once set on the table. the flatbreads were massive though and more than made up for the other dishes. i was stuffed at the end!
incredibly loud room. still lots of suits in personality and physical appearance. service was neither here nor there at times though mostly helpful when we could catch one..... i tried to stare down the manager at one point while he was wiping down the table for 8 but even with all his looking up and around the restaurant... still managed to not make eye contact with me at all!
so there are a few good dishes (didn't even notice the tagine) that would bring me back but it's mostly the wine list i'm interested in. love the increasing number of wines by the glass, since i'm a single glass girl most of the time.
Interesting that the flatbreads were massive. Seems to be a formula Nyood and Kultura are using. Tiny and expensive servings of protein paired with massive portions of economically priced starch to fill you up, so you won't leave hungry.
When I went to Kultura, the server was a naan pusher, insisting we must order naan to eat with the ravioli. I think it was a ploy to fill us up, in the hope that we wouldn't notice there were only 4 ravioli on the plate.
I guess so.
I just don't remember a basket of bread in Spain being 10 times larger than the plate of manchego, patatas bravas, croquetas, etc. I don't really remember having bread in Spain, even though I ate tapas almost every night for the 3 weeks I was there.
The tapas I've had in Spain or Spanish restaurants in Toronto, NYC & London have always been considerably larger servings than what I found at Kultura. It always seemed like they were giving a fair amount of protein for the price that they were charging (although the dishes did tend to add up), whereas I can't really say I had that feeling at Kultura.
I recall a discussion somewhere on the whole 'tapas craze' (although I'm pretty sure it wasn't about Kultura).
In essence the 'vendors' noticed a 'price-point effect' - people wouldn't order above a certain level. So the restos adjusted the size of the portion to meet that request (even Senhor Antonio only serves a single shrimp (albeit huge) on their bar menu). However the flatbread/coca/coque is perceived as a 'pizza substitute' (which it probably is) and so is amenable to a different price point.
I like to think the restos are fairly 'honest' so give a larger portion as the ingredient cost is less. And IIRC, the tapas bars in Spain also charge separately for bread (which hasn't been acceptable here).
i can't speak to kultura as it never really tempted me enough to throw down the cash... but one of the flatbreads/cocas/essentially is a pizza had lamb and the ample portion of lamb covering nearly every inch of the top ensured that i had quite a bit of protein. unfortunately i don't recall the price but assuming it was similar to the other breads, i would eat it again at $14/15.
also... it seemed like my teen tiny bowl of navy beans and corn that amounted to barely a few spoonfuls was the big price gouge at $9.
re: mac n cheeze
mind you, i only said that about the lamb flat bread. i didn't find the ribs to necessarily be a good size though it was just a couple ounces shy of what i would have appreciated.
the seafood was significantly under portioned as it appeared i was paying approximately $13 for nearly 3 pieces of small shrimp cut up into bits.
re: mac n cheeze
When Nyood first opened earlier this year I had the good luck to get two different invites from the charming Hanif Harji to come by and experience the new spot and so with many months having elapsed and one friend suggesting it was so, so, I was pleasantly surprised with my experience last evening.
Having said that, my caveat is that it would be "rood" (hahahahah sorry I am writing this in the cab on the way home with decent booze in me) not to mention some of my objections, that I was more than happy to share with anyone that was willing to listen. In this case one of the Maitre'd from Kultura and another young gentleman (maybe the Manager) that also impressed me with their willingness to listen to my assertions of what would take for certain of the dishes to move up a notch.
Let me start with my objections which are relatively speaking, small against the fabulous service from the bar where we initially sat, with truly generous service from a handsome young chap, to our seat for two near the open front that allowed me to observe life and be sometimes engaged by our wonderful and always attentive server Erin !
The first dish was the lychee shrimp ceviche, which was somewhat different from what I had imagined as I didn't know or believe that there was sufficient astringent/acidic content to cure anything in lychees, so was surprised at the wonderful texture of the shrimp and the delicate flavouring of the sauce with slices of lychee and I believe cucumber.
In fact the shrimp was not really cevicheed (?) but obviously quick fried to retain their plumpness and then cut up and mixed with the lychee and cucumber; very tasty though miniscule in terms of portion. Its even more apparent how miniscule when we received our order of olive oil cured/marinated beef, which was about 5 generous slices of wonderfully tender beautifully marbled beef.
This was followed by beautiful Frito Misto with an airily light very tasty non greasy batter, which illustrated that its only the Japanese that know how to do good tempura. Juicy pieces of courgette, oyster mushroom and aubergine done to perfection with two lovely sauces that beautifully complimented the dish. This was quickly followed by a grilled flatbread topped with a variety of sautéed mushrooms, gorgonzola and sweet roasted garlic, which was quite delicious. Our final savoury dish was the lamb which was quite tasty; but was also the dish I had the most problem with.
Let me explain. Our lovely waitress had pointed out that the menu is based on small plates to share and as such we would probably require 5 or 6, which seems reasonable enough. At around $12-14 for most of the plates it seemed reasonable enough; however you knew silly season was in when you are being charged $28 for three lamb chops described as rack of lamb.
I sunk my teeth into the lamb and had no compunction (or at least didn't feel sheepish) about complaining that not only had they chosen to mislead in their description "rack", but had they expected me and my dinner companion to arm wrestle for the third chop.
This is where sillingness creeps in. For gods sakes put 4 lamb chops on the fricking plate or reduce the price from $28 to $14 and put two on the plate; but not three.
While not a desert or cocktails fan, I was sufficiently impressed with the descriptions of the many champagne cocktails that both my dinner partner and I tried the Chandon Bellini as well as the Jacobian caiparinha. Both fell short on too little alcohol and too much fruitiness/sweetness.
Likewise a desert that came close to being really good, a very good (square) of chocolate mousse, that for some strange reason had another square of what tasted like a squishy tiramisu type sponge base that had no reason to be on the plate. The mousse square/cake and the couple of pieces of flambéed banana might have sufficed, though texturally one might have been better off with maybe pecans sprinkled over the mousse rather than the dreadful dried banana pieces.
I suspect that Nyood is only a couple of steps away from being a consistently really good spot with some longevity, with a little tweaking.
All in all the room is very attractive, open and simple but attractively decorated with a nice bar (great service there too) an open kitchen and some great tunes played all evening long.
I did note some very attractive young ladies in the kitchen, who I was told were Mexican and who were here on some type of exchange program.
All in good stuff and I would give Nyood 8/10 to include service, ambience, quality of food and value for money.
I was so impressed with Nyood that I went twice in one week. Here is my review (listed on my website):
Don’t let the exterior of swank black, with the absence of a sign fool you into thinking Nyood (pronounced nude) is too ritzy for you. Dress in your casual best and you will have no trouble gaining entry…but make reservations for the best tables by the window.
Actually there is no bad seating in this beautifully decorated restaurant. The decor is a combination of old meets new, a Parisian feel with a Grecian ceiling (or is it Roman?) meets nouveau modernism touches of white bookshelves, industrial light fixtures and concrete tables. The space is 2000 square feet, and feels spacious yet cozy with a subtle warmth. The elegant, elongated bar meets a tastefully decorated open concept kitchen.
The delicious food comes as tapas. I visited twice in one week! If you like to share your food, then this is the place to come. An extremely delicious lychee shrimp cerviche was my favorite dish. But then my mates and I also gobbled down the mushroom and shrimp flatbread and whole snapper filleted. Dessert was to die for…the strawberry creme brulee, espresso brownie, and the blueberry ice cream (tasted like fried ice cream) were stand outs.
Owned by Hanif Harji, who also owns the trendy Blowfish and Kultura eating spots, and managed by the enthusiastic “Sacha”.
Nyood is definitely a place where you take your time and graze. It is the hottest restaurant in Toronto right now, so go! Take about $200.00 for a couple including a glass of wine, taxes and tip.