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Sep 14, 2009 07:58 AM

Scaramouche - slightly disappointed

For some reason, I never got around to this place after many years in Toronto. So went to Scaramouche Saturday night for a date with the wife and have to say it was a bit disappointing.

The good:

service was excellent. We had a last minute change in schedule and had to change reservation time. They were very accommodating. Requested a window table. No problem there. The waiter was very attentive and knowledgable. The wife was very happy with the wine he suggested. I don't drink at all so can't really comment.

The view was beautiful. We got there at 7pm and stayed until 8:40. So pretty much caught view of day, sunset and night.

Dessert was great. The coconut cream pie alone is worth going back for.

The bad/lackluster:

The main course were at once over salted and bland. We ordered the scallop with duck confit and pan seared halibut. Neither were good enough for a high end restaurant in our opinion. The scallop and the halibut both tasted like the time I went snokelling the red sea to be honest. I could barely taste the sweetness of fresh scallop but the salt was overpowering. I noticed a lot of the senior crowd there and was privately wondering if this was more to their taste because I overheard an elderly gentleman remark how amazing the scallop was to his friend. Duck confit was also surprisingly dry.

We also ordered the cheese platter and frankly don't remember any of the cheese being interesting or good.

We might go back for the view and the dessert and see if that was just a bad night but overall it was a bit disappointing. I often hear Scaramouche being compared to Canoe and George. Was hoping for something similar to either but have to say George in particular has never disappointed me like this.

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  1. Hype is a terrible thing sometimes for a restaurant. Set perceptions going into a restaurant can sometimes kill the actual experience. I remember when I took my now wife to Scaramouche on a serious romantic date because is was touted as one of Toronto's top romantic spots. I even requested a table with a view by the window.

    Well we got our table, along with a lot of noise and a lot of people. The place was packed tight and the noise at times made conversation difficult. Not my idea of romance. I didn't go back for a while because my expectations were not met, had I just gone to eat unconcerned with the romantic qualities of the restaurant I probably would have gone back sooner.

    As for the food, I had less of a set view going in on how it would be (expect for the coconut cream pie which was touted highly). The only real disappointed I had is when they badly overcooked my calamari app. I was not wowed by anything, but everything else was very good with the clear winner that night being my outstanding venison main. The pie, perhaps due to expectations was left unfinished, it lacked the wow factor I expected from the hype and I wasn't going to shove it into my already full stomach on my finding that it was "good".

    BTW, I hate it when restaurants over salt food, you can always put more on, but you can never take it off. Makes no sense not to use a conservative hand.

    1. 5+ years ago, I would have had blinked twice when I read your post, today not being the same case.

      My last 3 meals there were nothing special, with serious 'flaws' in each.

      Did you send the dish back? When dining at a top end restaurant, I do not hesitate to return a product if it is not on point - you are spending $200+ for a meal, it damn well be worth it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sadistick

        Yes I sent it back, by that time however my then however my girlfriend and I had already shared most of her oysters so I opted not to get it redone or replaced. It was removed from the bill and our desserts were comped.

        The service has always been very good there, never an issue with that.

      2. orick, that's too bad. You might have told the server that your food was overly salty; I have sent dishes back before for just that reason (though not at Scaramouche). I recall once at Hillebrand receiving an overly salted pasta; after sending it back, they prepared me a new one that didn't have such a flaw.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Full tummy

          Sadistick and Fully tummy, I am the picky yet tolerant type so really not in the habit of sending food back. Plus I don't want anyone to spit in my food. :) I only ever did it once when a steak was so burnt on the outside and raw on the inside it was literally a mouthful of charcoal and blood. The friend I was dining was jokingly said it was "philly" style.

          JPJ, I totally agree over salting food is a shame. It always makes me feel like they are trying to cover up the fact the ingredient wasn't fresh, which definitely is not the case here.

          I think if it was just one dish was over salty and the other one being amazing, we would have told the waiter/chef. Since both were done similarly, we figure that's just the chef's style so we won't be regulars there.

          1. re: orick

            Old post but as I went to Scaramouche last night and had a similar experience as the OP, figured I would add my comments.

            Overall the experience was good but not outstanding. We were seated at the window, view was wonderful, service was very good but not excellent (dishes not removed quickly, dessert served before we had completed our wine, etc). Not what I would call a romantic spot as it was noisy. And the food was salty.

            Not so salty that one couldn't eat it but salty enough that my hubby who normally oversalts imho said he was glad that there were no shakers on table as he would have salted an already salty dish! And not just one dish but all of them! Same chef that night as OP's a year ago?

            So definitely worth going for the coconut cream pie if in the neighbourhood but not worth making effort to get there. We live right downtown so many other restaurants that would be as good or better.

            1. re: fastfox

              Sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your dinner at Scarmouche fastfox but your post begs the question.....

              You mention "that your hubby was glad there were no salt shakers on the table as he would have salted an already salty dish". Does your husband automatically reach for the salt just because it's available? Doesn't he taste his food first to make that determination? Might be a good policy to adopt going forward to avoid these kind of mistakes. Just a thought.

              Again, sorry to hear you were disappointed. We, on the other hand, as recent as last month, enjoyed a perfect evening at Scaramouche. Everything was as usual, spot on, including the food and service. I realize it's not for everyone but we've never walked away disappointed.

              1. re: millygirl

                Did not say didn't enjoy, just it wasn't as fantastic as it could have been and expected. Restaurant is highly recommended by site so thought as it was our anniversary we would trek uptown.

                Yes I have told hubby a 'million times' that he should taste first but what can I say.....It was me who was surprised to have all the dishes more salty than I would like and have never (as far as I remember) experienced this before especially at a restaurant of this calibre.

                1. re: fastfox

                  We dined at Scaramouche a week ago and none of the dishes we ordered were salty, and I don't usually add salt so would notice if they were.

                  I'm not sure why your husband would add salt before tasting his food, but if he does that, it's hard to complain to the restaurant that the food is oversalted.