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So I won a few bets... (help needed re Globe and Kaji!)

I won two wagers during 2009 and am very much looking forward to collecting my prizes: two killer meals from kind friends. One will be at Kaji, and the other will be at Globe.

I know choices are limited at Kaji, but any helpful tips or suggestions are welcome.

As for Globe, any recent experiences, must-trys, must-avoids or the like are definitely appreciated!

Happy new year, all!

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  1. Kaji is simple, it's just a matter of how many courses in the Omakase and slight differences in the selection at each of the three levels (Kaji will allow substitutions, we went once with someone in the party who wouldn't eat raw fish and they got a very nice set of alternatives to the sushi and sashimi but I recommend against it, the man knows what he's doing) . The thing to do is make sure you reserve to sit at the sushi bar.

    Haven't been to Globe in 2 months so the menu has no doubt changed, I've never had anything there I didn't like.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bytepusher

      We're going to Kaji for our 2nd anniversary in three weeks. We look forward to our "special occasion" meal at Kaji every year.

      1. re: bytepusher

        Thanks for these tips, bytepusher - I'll be sure to reserve at the sushi bar and will definitely not veto raw fish. Enjoy your dinner, acd123, and happy anniversary!!

        Keep 'em coming please - I don't often get to eat out at this level of fine dining and your thoughts are appreciated, hounds!

        1. re: bytepusher

          you don't have to sit at the sushi bar, there's plenty of other seats in the restaurant

          1. re: Bobby Wham

            Yes and there are 30,000 seats at the ACC so why does anyone go to extra effort to get seats close to the players bench?

        2. Dined at Kaji a couple weeks ago and had the most elaborate omakase on offer ($120 per person).

          One word: Amazing.

          We started with a delicious fried tofu / bamboo shoot dish in a luscious miso sauce/broth. The textures were so interesting and the accompaniment of "Japanese mint" was so perfect. Then came a crab sunomonu - probably my least favourite dish of the evening but delicious nonetheless, fresh, ample crab meat and subtle vinegar tang. A wonderfully varied appetizer platter, including chicken cake (a haute mcnugget, if you'll pardon the comparison) and a fish cake, and a lotus root filled with pork pate (delicious!! so creamy). Sushi and sashimi are now blended in my memory, but included the most amazing grouper, lobster sashimi, uni (so rich, just like foie gras except more light in flavour), toro, and much more.
          The miso glazed black cod was perfectly caramelized, and a more luscious piece of fish I can't recall. There was also a perfectly seared scallop (I'm over-using the word "perfect", I realize), soba in a lovely broth and finally, green tea creme brulee and another dessert that has now escaped me...

          Service was friendly, helpful and professional. I had a seat at the sushi bar (thanks for the suggestion bytepusher!) so I could watch Kaji in action.

          In sum, the preparation, quality and freshness of ingredients were spectacular, which was what I expected, given the reviews on this board (and quite frankly, the price). What went beyond my expectations were the innovative and surprising flavour combinations. This is a level of cooking I haven't encountered in Toronto, with maybe one exception (the old Susur).

          I'm off to Globe Bistro tomorrow. Anyone who has been recently, I'd really appreciate your recommendations. Millygirl, and others who have raved in particular about this place, I'd love to hear from you!

          Thanks!

          -----
          Globe
          124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

          Sushi Kaji
          860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

          Susur
          601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

          24 Replies
          1. re: Yum2MyTum

            Sounds great Yum2MyTum. Thanks for the review.

            1. re: BokChoi

              It was so great, BokChoi. (Not my) money well spent. Once I confer with my dining companion, I'll post again about the other dessert which was actually better than the Creme Brulee...

            2. re: Yum2MyTum

              Yum2MyTum, is it possible you've confused me with someone else? I haven't been to Globe in some time. I did recently go to their sister restaurant, Earth, for brunch so maybe that is the confusion?

              I live off the Danforth and Globe is a convienent spot for us but I must admit it's not one of our Top 10. We've found the food and service to be very inconsisent the last year or two. When it first opened it was great though. Having said that, I do like the atmosphere there and we have had some good appetizers. I think my last visit the food was good, but not as hot as it should have been and neither one of us felt like complaiing about it. I hope your experience will be a good one.

              1. re: millygirl

                millygirl, oops! You're right of course. Maybe I recall many of your Danforth related posts. Thanks for your input. I might have to order two appetizers instead of a main...

                Reviewing the board, it's actually JLunar, SWS and bluedog that sing Globe's praises. Any input, fellow Chowhounds? Thanks!

                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                  lol, called out. Hmn... fyi, it's been a while since I'd been for dinner. Their patio was the last time I'd visited.

                  A dish that I particularly remember - parsnip purée, lightly scented with truffle oil. Yum.

                  Their steak is generally really good - nothing crazy, but a solid order. Plus the blue-cheese foam is hilariously poop-shaped. My sister enjoyed the chicken with mushrooms that she'd had. The sous-vide pork was also quite tasty, as was a papardelle they'd offered.

                  Off their current menu, I'd opt for the elk or the pork, and get someone to share the Taglierini with me.

                  flickr photos here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=globe...

                  1. re: jlunar

                    Thanks jlunar! : ) I noticed nothing you mentioned included seafood. I tend to order seafood (was attracted to the halibut dish in particular) ... but if you think the game meats are a better bet, then I'll indulge in the elk.

                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                      hmn.. we tend to lean toward meat vs seafood, so it's likely that I just haven't eaten a lot (any?) or their seafood really. Or it just wasn't that memorable. There's a reason why I shoot everything of note that I eat... I just can't remember it all!

                      1. re: jlunar

                        Thanks jlunar. It seems the consensus is I should go for game meats... nobody has anything super positive to say about Globe's fish!

                      2. re: Yum2MyTum

                        Hi Yum,

                        Globe does get a lot of love on this board but since I've only been once recently, I can't really recommend it per se. I had a quail special the night I was there and while good, certainly did not blow my socks off in any way. The individual elements on the plate were solidly done, but I thought it was a pretty pricey main course for what it was.

                        What I will say is that they have an excellent wine list-extremely well priced with a very reasonable mark up. The service was excellent as well.

                        I really disliked my experience at their sister restaurant, Earth. But again, adding the caveat that I tried it only once, soon after they first opened. The food IMO, ranged from mediocre to actually quite terrible-the elk tartare while good was served with hard boiled quail eggs, the scallops horribly, horribly overcooked, and the apple crumble with "cheddar" ice cream was an assault to my taste buds.

                        Let us know about your dinner at Globe-looking forward to your review as always.

                        SWS

                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                          Hi SWS! thanks for the response. I will definitely enjoy a glass or two of wine with my meal so am looking forward to the selection.

                          Good to know about Earth. I figure I'll wait a couple months before I try it for myself, just as I'm doing with Guu. Cheddar ice cream sounds... horrible...

                          I will report back, definitely.

                          1. re: Yum2MyTum

                            They had a lovely Pinot Noir by the glass-Waterstone from the Carneros in Napa Valley. Less woody than most Pinots I've tried from the new world, beautiful fruit and good acidity.

                            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                              Probably should be a separate thread - But indeed Earth had some teething problems the first week. Tried it again last week and it's much improved. Still doesn't make my top 10 - but 'does show promise'.

                2. re: Yum2MyTum

                  one of the most exceptional parts of a meal at kaji is the sauces, i've found... and through that i can easily see the comparisons to susur. while i was not fond of susur's take on traditional chinese dishes, the sauces of all his other offerings really elevated a dish into another realm of awesome flavour combination.

                  if you're ever looking for the japanese mint, i suspect it was shiso/perilla (sometimes sesame leaves at korean grocers). i enjoy it quite a bit as it really perks up the flavour if used judiciously.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Hi pinstripeprincess, I'd agree with what you said about Susur's and Kaji's sauces. Complex and well executed, and never complicated for the sake of being complicated ...

                    The herb described by our server as japanese mint wasn't shiso; there was ample shiso sprinkled throughout the courses. I'd love to know if you know of any other common japanese herbs so that I can locate this one... it really was amazing and different from anything I've tasted.

                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                        That's it!!! Thanks so much Notorious P.I.G. It was really refreshing and unique in flavour, as you mention, pinstripeprincess.

                      2. re: Yum2MyTum

                        i'm not up enough on my japanese herbs, but the kinome bud that Notorious PIG mentions i also know as sansho (i'm not clear at the moment on what the difference is between the naming and the plant in various states) and provides a very refreshing and unique flavour.... i also found it's quite "numbing" and would compare it's effects to a szechuan peppercorn but not spicy... just that tongue feeling. sometimes it would be blended into shichimi togarashi and that's a lot of fun to sprinkle on anything and everything.

                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                      Hello Yum,

                      I haven't been to Globe recently but highly recommend their Winemaker's dinners. There is one coming up sometime around the end of Feb. (the date has not yet been announced).
                      I've been to every one that has been held because we find them to be great value, and the food is always very good also.

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        Thanks for the tip foodyDudey! If this Friday goes well, then I will certainly aim to go to a Winemaker's dinner. Fingers crossed!

                      2. re: Yum2MyTum

                        We haven't been in since October but we will be there (with friends) for dinner tomorrow as well. The entire menu appears to have changed (not entirely surprising) so I can't specifically recommend anything in particular but based on past visits.

                        You do realize it's will be the first day of Winterlicious?

                        1. re: bytepusher

                          Hi bytepusher ... do you think Globe does seafood well? Or should I stick to the game meats? Perhaps I'll see you there if you're still around at 8 p.m.! (which is when my reservation is)

                          Yes, first day of Winterlicious. Ugh. What can you do... hopefully the staff will be able to cope. They seem very professional in my brief dealings with them...!

                          1. re: Yum2MyTum

                            We're going early for winterlicious so we'll no doubt miss you.

                            I've had a couple of seafood dishes there and enjoyed them but more from the apps than the mains. My initial reaction would be to get the trout app or the walleye (as much as it pains me to see that name on a Canadian menu)

                            Pay attention to the "Canada's Finest" special, I find it's often the most interesting dish on the menu.

                            1. re: bytepusher

                              It's going to be a game time decision: two seafood apps or game main... or maybe the Canada's Finest special! I do love ordering specials, as a rule, when I feel that I'm in the hands of a capable chef.

                              Enjoy winterlicious, bytepusher, and I'd like to read your review!

                        2. re: Yum2MyTum

                          Now you're making me want to go back to Kaji. My favourite high-end restaurant in Toronto to date.

                        3. No one has mentioned anything about Globe yet, so my suggestion is try the burger; it really stands out.

                          I don't know the value of your winnings, but the burger isn't expensive. Maybe you can ask them to put Foie Gras on it or something.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Jamie Eats Burgers

                            Jamie, I totally would have tried the burger but it's not on offer at dinner. Or at least it's not on the dinner menu. If dinner goes well tomorrow, maybe I'll try them for lunch!

                            1. re: Yum2MyTum

                              We were there recently for dinner and my friend had a burger. It was in the front lounge though so maybe a different menu. Take note he was asked how he wanted it done, said medium rare, but it came well done.

                              If you like cheese for dessert, Globe usually has a good selection.

                              1. re: JamieK

                                If you sit in the front/wine bar section there is a lounge menu you can order from or you can order off the regular dinner menu. The burger is on the lounge menu, I'm fairly certain if you asked they would serve you the burger in the dining room, not that I would recommend that.

                                1. re: JamieK

                                  Thanks JamieK, I'll definitely wait until lunch to order the burger. I doubt I'll be in the mood for cheese (I love cheese, don't get me wrong. I always find it difficult to order after a full meal...) but maybe on a return visit!

                                  1. re: JamieK

                                    I probably ordered mine medium (as I usually do) and it came medium-well. I haven't been there since, but sounds like there are some inconsistencies.

                                    Otherwise, from what I remember it was good in the sense that it offers some interesting yet subtle flavours that make it stand out compared to a "normal" burger.

                              2. Good morning, Chowhounds! So I made it to Globe on Friday with my friend.

                                In sum: VERY hit and miss, and if it weren't the first day of Winterlicious, and the steak I ordered wasn't as great as it was, I'd definitely say that I would never spend my money there again.

                                First. We arrived 5 minutes late for our reservation. We were seated 30 minutes later. I'm sorry, but what's the point of a reservation again? I noticed other groups being seated before us, as well.

                                The space is very pretty - I loved the warmth of the room. But the glass doors in the washroom stalls were basically translucent. Um... who thought of that exactly? We were seated on the second floor. Great view. Our table had some strange gunk on the corner, a bit of a turnoff but our server (who was very professional throughout) took care of that. Then we got water (both me and DC were on antibiotics and couldn't imbibe. Such a disappointment).

                                After drinking 3/4 of my glass, I noticed brown / blake flakes of some unidentifiable substance floating in the glass. I nearly lost my dinner (as I hadn't eaten anything yet it would have just been the water + brown flakes. We didn't get bread at all during the evening though we noticed other tables getting a nice sized loaf...).

                                Upon informing the server, he apolgized, removed the water and kindly brought our table grape sodas which were sweet and tangy.

                                I ordered the steak (Cumbrae's, dry-aged 25 days, I think) rare. When repeating back to me, our server forgot the prep and said 'medium' but I corrected him.

                                Our mains were delivered to the wrong table first, but our server noticed quickly and it arrived soon after.

                                The steak: it was delicious. The beef was beautiful, so flavourful and tender, and laced with fat (some large-ish, 3 sq. cm. pieces of fat... I happen to love fat so I was okay with this). Part of the steak was definitely rare. I'd say 1/4 of it. The rest was medium-rare. Not sure why this was the case as the steak was pretty evenly thick throughout. The accompaniments were also delicious... a lovely blue cheesy potato puree stood out in particular.

                                Oh but DON'T order the apple pie. I love apple pie. This apple pie was terrible. The crust wasn't done, it was chewy and hard to cut with a fork/spoon being used as a knife... the filling was too limited ... oh dear it was terrible.

                                My dining companion had the following to say about his Winterlicious meal: dont' get the soup. It was small (about a cup ... 250mL) and bland. The duck was deliciously prepared, although he wasn't happy about the size of the portion. And the panna cotta (lemon meringue panna cotta)... well, it was sublime: perfect texture, subtle flavouring... so creamy, and luscious. And the lemon tang and pieces of meringue were a great complement.

                                Anyway, those are my thoughts. I had a wonderful Winterlicious lunch at Auberge du Pommier on the weekend ... I'd definitely recommend Auberge... not so much Globe.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                  Thanks for the interesting review, as I said we were also there and had a completely different experience, I'm not doubting your review at all, just observing that seemingly small things can make a big difference. We were a little worried about how the service would be, when we were last there it had seemed to slip a bit but that was right around the time when they were trying to get earth going so I suspect that was causing distractions.

                                  We were dining with another couple who had never been there before. We all came straight from work so all arrived individually and met up in the bar. The first three of us to arrive had ordered glasses of cava and we're barely into them when the 4th arrived and our table was ready on the mezzanine, the hostess offered to have our drinks carried up for us, we declined but it was a nice touch. When we walked past the kitchen none of the staff in that area stopped to greet us, which was a bit of a shock, I don't think I've ever been there before when we didn't get a hello from someone in the kitchen.

                                  At the table our 4th ordered a cocktail, when the server delivered it he slipped and slopped a tiny bit of it on the table he instantly stepped away with the drink and called the busperson straight over and she cleaned it up swiftly without making too much fuss. If I had one criticism it was that he took the drink to the waiter station and wiped the exterior of the glass with a clean napkin and brought it back, he really should have gone back to the bar for a fresh drink. They brought the house still water and a basket of bread with black bean spread/dip (and no butter).

                                  We ordered our meals and got advice from the Sommelier on a wine, an Australian temprinillo we all quite liked, we ordered the winterlicous and each couple also ordered a pork belly app to split. 3 of us chose the scallop app and it was perfect, scallops lightly seared and nicely put together with the other things on the plate, and generous, three nice medium sized scallops. mrs bytepusher had the salad and liked it. Once finished they delivered the pork belly with extra plates for sharing . By this point we we're finished the first bottle of wine and got the Sommalier to help us pick a different wine for the main courses, an Argentine malbec, good but less successful than the first pick. Three of us had the short ribs which were perfect, and one had the duck which could have been a little rarer, no complaints about the portion size.

                                  For dessert we had two apple tarts and I agree there, they were served fridge cold, just wrong. and two of the puddings which were excellent. We brought a bottle of Sauternes to have with dessert, the waiter offered to waive the corkage because of the earlier cocktail spill.

                                  We had our table for a 2 1/2 hours and felt no time pressure from the staff. I expect we overstayed our expected time and we were probably in part responsible for your late seating...sorry.

                                  In short, excellent service (one small mistake, amply corrected for) and the only miss on the food was the one dessert.

                                  1. re: bytepusher

                                    Thanks for posting your review, bytepusher! I realize that (1) the long delay before being seated and (2) the very gross things floating in my water likely had an impact on my enjoyment of the evening. I tried to keep my review objective, though, and like I said, I very much enjoyed the steak and the pudding! And the service was excellent.

                                    Who knows, if I'm in the area, I wouldn't be against trying Globe again. Probably just not during Winterlicious, but that can be said about many restaurants ...

                                2. One thing I should: the a la carte menu during Winterlicious at Globe has been cut back to include 3 mains, a couple of appetizers and no desserts. There was no game option available in the mains ... otherwise I would have ordered it, per jlunar's and others' helpful suggestions!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                    hi all,

                                    Went there for a walk-in winterlicious lunch today. Service was great and they were not busy. Bread and a green pea (?) spread were free.

                                    For apps we had the soup and the scallops. As described above, the scallops were perfectly prepared and the sauces were bright and complementary. I didn't try the soup.

                                    The mains we ordered were the crispy trout and the veg lasagna. The vegetable lasagna, which was more of layered veg, no pasta, but was deliciously tender and beautiful. The crispy trout was crispy as advertised but overcooked. The potato and cherry tomatoes that finished the dish were ok but nothing wowed.

                                    The dessert of pannacotta was a surprise hit, again, as Yum2mytum described and sticky pudding had a nice caramel sauce but the pudding would have greatly been improved if served warm/ hot or had a moister rather than drier cakier texture.

                                    Overall, the servings were modest but for $20 we weren't surprised. There were other attractive items from the regular menu available a la carte and we wonder if we would have been better off ordering those.

                                    1. re: chocabot

                                      The veg lasanga sounds great chocabot and glad you enjoyed the panna cotta. Thanks for sharing your review!

                                      1. re: chocabot

                                        I had dinner there tonight and thanks to some reviews here ordered the:

                                        Seared Sea Scallops
                                        Sunchoke purée, maple bacon lardons, orange essence, chervil

                                        Wellington County Braised Short Rib
                                        Rye whiskey corn bread, collard greens, citrus molasses foam

                                        Ewenity Yogurt Panna Cotta
                                        Blood orange reduction, meringue crunch

                                        The scallops were a bit on the small side, but quite tender with a nice contrast of sauce and foam. The short rib was delicious. I cooked some lamb shanks at home last weekend and I now wonder why I don't braise meats more often? The panna cotta was very nice and the blood orange reduction was a nice accent. I was very happy with my selections, courtesy of your excellent advice.

                                        My friend ordered the:

                                        Tamworth Pork Creton
                                        House pickles, red fife points, Niagara soya bean oil

                                        Everspring Muscovy Duck Breast
                                        Bee pollen crust, wild rice risotto, haricots verts, The Grange cabernet franc gastrique

                                        Canadian Whiskey Toffee Pudding
                                        Oatmeal stout mousse, ginger carrot foam

                                        The creton was very good, moist and served with pickled red onions and carrots. It is definitely a keeper. The duck seemed dry and not very tender, probably overcooked, although is was still pink. The whiskey sauce had very good flavour and the outmeal stout mousse was good, the toffee pudding just didn't seem to hold up to the mousse. The mousse was too sweet for the pudding. The combination didn't quite work as well as it sounds.

                                        The service was very good and quite attentive. I had a very good meal, my friend, not so good, but the ambiance was enjoyable.