TIFF prix fixe a hit at The Drake
I always love taking advantage of the great eats that surround the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). I caught wind of a prix fixe menu at the Drake Hotel through their e-newsletter (The Ake) and thought I might try it out. I was surprised to actually get a reservation, as I have had difficulty in the past. But it was easy enough to get one online using opentable.com -- a really great option! The price for this meal was so low that I went with somewhat lower expectations.
I sat up on the skyyard, which has been recently tarted-up and looks great. I always love a patio experience, especially with the weather we've had over the past couple of weeks. Service was prompt, attentive and quite knowledgeable. The meal started with a lobster-mushroom ragout that is exquisite. It's topped with a cauliflower mousse and caviar, adding a wonderfully creamy feel, without drowning out the other flavours of the plate. This dish was warm enough, but not hot and could have benefited from this. The main was a delightful beef short rib with beets and potato purée. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and rich, but not overpoweringly so. Hints of lemon zest was a tasty touch. To top it off, it came with a full bone filled with marrow! What a treat, indeed, and tasted great once poked out of the bone and eaten alone or spread on a fork-full of potatoes. Although a lack of greens usually lets me down, the early fall theme and artful presentation this plate provided more than made up for it! The meal was finished with a nice-sized piece of apple brown Betty, like Mom used to make. It had the perfect custard -- not overpowering and an excellent compliment to the plate.
I have to say I was absolutely stuffed at the end, so go hungry! Unfortunately, I did not try the wine pairings offered at an additional cost and imagine they would have complimented the meal nicely, since I know from experience that the Drake's sommelier knows her stuff. The price without pairings is so affordable that this prix fixe is not to be missed!
Good eating and happy TIFF'ing.
Thanks again for the tip and the open table thing. We ended up ditching the prix fixe and just ordering off the regular menu. Had a great meal with highligts being the fall off the bone BBQ pork ribs, mac and cheese, amazing cauliflower puree soup with mushrooms and white wine. Also the bread came with this really tasty rocotta with some chili flakes added, simple and worked really well.
I hadn't been since the new chef started and seems to be pretty much an extention of what the previous chef has done. Speaking of the previous chef, we had a meal at his new place last winter in Banff that's called Bison Mountain Bistro. It was a great meal and similar concept with a foodie twist on comfort food with a focus on local, fresh ingredients. The menu actually lists where most of the ingredients come from.