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Feb 13, 2008 01:34 PM

Chef's Table, Tasting Menu?

Can anyone recommend a fine dining experience where I can have a tasting menu with a chef's table in the kitchen.

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  1. Colborne Lane!!! I haven't tried their chef's table, but we were impressed by our recent visit to the resto and I'd loooovve an opportunity to eat in the kitchen.

    We did have a good time at Trevor's chef's table, but really only because being at the chef's table is kinda fun and special. Otherwise (and even considering, I'd have to say the food is pretty mediocre). Still worth the experience, but because the experience is kinda cool, not because the food is stellar.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      Just curious, Rabbit, how long ago did you have the Chef's Table experience at Trevor? They had change of chefs a while back.

      1. re: estragon

        It was shortly after they first opened... I think it was last March-ish 2007... so perhaps my experience is out-of date.

        When did they switch chefs... and are you suggesting that you think the food is better now?


        1. re: Rabbit

          I can only speak for myself but I definitely like the food better since Jesse took over the kitchen. I had a tasting menu at Trevor last month and it was very nice. My mini-revue is here:

          1. re: Rabbit

            Josh Wolfe decamped for Vancouver last summer. I haven't been since Jesse Vallins took over (Idnas, contrary to what some of the early reviews said, Trevor W was never in charge of the kitchen - Wolfe was the opening chef).

            I did have Josh's tasting menu earlier last summer, and loved it. It was fresh, flavourful and fun. The fish - a fillet of... pickerel? - was baked in a crust of salt and... something else, shaped like a fish, and left to rest on the table during the previous course. I wish I'd taken pictures!

            1. re: estragon

              Thanks for clarifying, estragon.

              1. re: idnas

                hi peoples

                is it wide spread ? or do only a few restaurants have a chefs table in the kitchen
                do you just ask?
                and how is it cost wise compared to a tradional meal from the menu

                1. re: badpirate

                  I believe Globe Bistro has a chef's table. Have not sat there but I recall hearing Ed speak about it. Might be worth a try. Or what about someplace like Perigee, almost every table is considered to be like a chef's table.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    I heard Perigee renovated recently and closed off the kitchen, so the restaurant no longer has the "kitchen stadium" feel. But I've not been since this change, maybe someone who has could confirm this.

                    1. re: Gary

                      The kitchen is glassed off at perigee now. .you can see in but there is no communication, sound or smell ging in or out..

                      1. re: OnDaGo

                        Also the original chef has now left.

                    2. re: millygirl

                      Globe doesn't have a chef's table. There was talk at one point of seating people at the counter in front of the kitchen -- which would have been brilliant -- but the place is just too busy.

                2. re: estragon

                  Josh Wolfe is now the executive chef at Coast in Vancouver. If you visit try the chef's table for an amazing experience.

          2. Not sure if it's actually right in the kitchen but Reds has a chef's table.

            77 Adelaide W, Toronto, ON M5H1P9, CA

            1. I'm not sure health regulations permit one to be 'actually' in the kitchen. I don't know of any in Toronto.
              Several places have an adjacent private room, which is also glassed in, so you can see the kitchen at work. And many places have open kitchens (e.g. JK Wine Bar, Czehoski) or a Glass Wall (e.g. Splendido, George) where you can see what's happening.
              Those advertising 'chef's table' may not even let you see the kitchen - it's just a small dining area that's private.
              In case I'm wrong - has anyone 'sat in a kitchen'? - I don't think ANY of the responses so far qualify.

              3 Replies
              1. re: estufarian

                The closest thing I've ever experienced to being right in the kitchen was sitting at the counter at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. There are three or four seats that are right opposite the kitchen (the counter extends into the bar area), and it's quite a show. In Toronto, the only place I can think of with such a view is JK Wine Bar (haven't been to Czehoski). The glass wall isn't the same thing -- you'd pretty much have to have your nose pressed against the glass to have the same experience.

                1. re: estragon

                  Coca has the same setup - you can sit at the 'bar' and watch everything. Czehoski has booths across from the kitchen.

                2. re: estufarian

                  Having worked in a number of restaurant and commercial kitchens in my life, I couldn't understand why anybody would WANT to...most restaurant kitchens don't tend to be places to carry on conversation. Not to mention the heat, the humidity, the hustle and bustle and the smells of several different things cooking at once.

                  I do know the chef at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City offers a special night every now and then where they turn a section of their kitchen into a dining area for a special menu (about $150 a person last time I was there). There are a number of restaurants with open kitchens or kitchen bars (too bad Perigee closed theirs off) that give you a glimpse into the kitchen...

                3. Fat Cat Bistro (376 Eglinton W) has a chef's table just outside the open-ish kitchen. I don't recall whether Mathew Sutherland does a tasting menu on a regular basis or whether you should ask when you make your reservations. (I just put myself in his hands.) I think that he's one of the best in the city.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                    Again, Fat Cat table(s) aren't "in" the kitchen (and I haven't seen Matt there either in the past 3 visits) - but obviously I'm still returning as the food hasn't suffered.
                    Maybe the original poster can clarify exactly what (s)he's looking for.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      The closest to "in the kitchen" that I've done in Toronto is the chef's table at Beerbistro, which is a 4-seat counter facing into the kitchen. There's no glass between us and the kitchen team so you can interact with them. But except for special events and private room bookings, Beerbistro doesn't do a tasting menu.

                      1. re: idnas

                        Thanks for the clarification folks. Further off the track, I'd read that Pennisula Ridge has what they refer to as the 'owner's table'. Sounded interesting to me and I had made a mental note to book it some time. Sutton Place in Toronto also had at one time advertised 'kitchen sitting' but not sure if this is still the case.

                  2. I agree that the Sutton place used to do it - yawn. to me it should be a very high-end resto to slum it in the kitchen. I guess the point is that you want to watch some superstar(s) at work and be treated in a special way. i.e. Charlie Trotter's in chicago. Its brush with greatness. I would start at 'whose kitchen do you want to be in'

                    Alternatively - book seats at the food bar at Jamie Kennedy wine bar

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: marcharry

                      I don't know about that, marcharry. It's really two different experiences. Eating in Charlie Trotter's kitchen was great, and a real study in precision and artistry, but being in (or almost in) the kitchen at a more downscale restaurant is also fun. I enjoy watching the teamwork, the little glitches they have to work around... Watching a young chef working on his technique as he works through mundane tasks trying to get the cut or drizzle "just right". It's not for everyone, but for people who like to see what goes into the meal they're eating it's enjoyable to watch kitchen teams at all levels.

                      1. re: idnas

                        Good points idnas, and very well put. I agree with you tenfold.

                        1. re: idnas

                          Yeah, I like watching the level in the first pic, that's really open and downscale, don't think this chef table can be indoor. But the level at the second pic is also interesting ... The old Perigee is ok too I guess.