Fiance's B-Day Dinner
Typically she craves Scaramouche for her special dinners, but our last few excursions to "The 'Mouche" have been less than enjoyable, from receiving pieces of artichoke 'husks' in our goat cheese plate, all the way to getting their porcini pasta with all but 0 sauce, being told 'that's the way it is'....I will not be going back there.
So the question now is - where to?
On my short list -
Canoe (Never been, heard great things...)
Splendido (Always loved it there, she has never been)
Mistura (Something a bit different for her)
Any other suggestions would be more than welcome as well.
estufarian - I appreciate the feedback. I have been looking at both tasting menus (although that somewhat ruins the surprise factor) and they both look great. There are also some items on the menu's themselves that look interesting. I am always torn whether to order 3-4 appetizers and 1-2 main's and we share them, or go for the tasting menu. Maybe it's a lack of desire (dare I say fear) to relinquish control of what I eat?
Can you tell me about Blacktree?
Miranda - Been to Nota Bene, while I enjoyed everything but the service, I am looking for something a bit more special for this occasion.
Wow, sorry to hear about your last visit to Scaramouche. Each time we go it has been nothing short of stellar!! Esp. our last visit. Scaramouche and Mistura our my top 2 restos in TO. I say give them a try. They serve an amazing lamb ribs appetizer, that and the beet risotto are fantastic.
At Splendido I usually go with their tasting menu. At Canoe I 'do it myself'' (all of their tasting menu items are also available a la carte - so it's easy to adjust). The wines by the glass at Canoe aren't as exciting (they're very strong on Canadian and those tend to be a little cheaper). But at Splendido (currently) they have a 'no corkage' promotion (except Sat) so I do that option (of course I tip much better than the nominal bill would warrant). At Splendido, I find the tasting menu contains the more exciting items - the reverse at Canoe.
If you are 'more adventurous' Blacktree (only open wed-sat) is definitely worth a visit - especially if you want to be 'Leading Edge'. It's definitely 'Fine Dining - but all 3 times I've been, the 'daily features' have been more exciting than the web-menu. It's relatively small (maybe 30 seating) - sort of an upscale version of Amuse Bouche (the old Lotus space on Tecumseh) - but FAR better! Concentrates on Game - but always with a twist.
Their current web menu at
shows, for example, a dessert of
Truffle Honey Chocolate Ganache Tart with Earl Grey Ice Cream.
Not your average dish!
And I HATE their website - no way of turning off that annoying music!
But this is a place where the chef has passion - it could become one of the best around - or the chef may flame out - but right now it's one of the most exciting places around - the tightrope being walked is usually traversed successfully.
And I'm being deliberately vague as there are a few things that will be spoiled if I say too much. The main thing that keeps me away is the drive from Toronto at rush-hour times - makes it difficult to plan a reservation time - and it's ALWAYS packed on Saturday night.
If it is indeed special then the safe choice is Splendido - it never disappoints. Canoe is a notch below (food and service) but has the view, And Blacktree will be 'love it or hate it' - but the conversation afterwards will be far more interesting during the drive home! Prices shouldn't enter into the decision here. None are cheap. All are eminently suitable.
I'm a devotee of Canoe for special occasions. Can't beat the location, especially when you can dine as the sun sets over the lake. Far more options near by if you're looking to do something after dinner as well - but I did spend a fair bit of time in the Annex, so Splendido seems less special to me.
Being able to get everything a la carte is a major issue for me, probably a control issue and hardly ever having the time to devote to a full tasting menu.
Splendido's Tasting menu is currently under $100 (+ tax etc). There may never be a better time to go there. Around 5 courses plus amuses.
Also tried Canoe recently - also very good - but a bit pricier than Splendido right now ($100 for 4 courses + amuses).
Both have excellent service - Canoe is more 'Canadian' and if you go besure to ask for a window table - the sunset is definitely romantic - so make sure you sit the 'wrong' side of the table so she gets the view.
I still think Splendido 'wins' on several points - but you can't go wrong with either.
I haven't been to Mistura, but AmuseGirl was there recently and wasn't knocked out.
And if you're more experimental - trust me and try Blacktree in Burlington. I've tried not to spoil the 'surprise' factor - I'l just say it was my 'big discovery' of 2008. And others I've sent there have already re-visited.