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Tasting Menu

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hungryporker Jun 26, 2010 04:16 PM

I just had the tasting menu at Auberge du Pommier. Great food and lots of variety for $100 pp, $148 with wine pairings (6 drinks). Our only complaint was that the wine was a little heavy on the whites, not enough red for our tastes. Where is your favorite tasting menu in the GTA?

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  1. Charles Yu RE: hungryporker Jun 26, 2010 04:28 PM

    Used to be the 'old' Splendido!!
    Now, George!
    Heard Pat Riley's tasting menu serve at his chef's table at Amuse is pretty good! Might give it a try after the G20 madness!

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    Splendido
    88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu
      s
      shariberri RE: Charles Yu Jun 26, 2010 07:44 PM

      Have to say that Colborne Lane really impressed me a few months ago...I know there has been debate about this- but it was delightful, exciting and delicious....

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      Colborne Lane
      45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

    2. scarberian RE: hungryporker Jun 26, 2010 07:49 PM

      It was Susur (R.I.P.). Amazing food and now it's gone <=(. The best $100 p.p. my wife and I ever spent on a resto. Right now of the existing restos, the omakase at Zen is my favourite.

      23 Replies
      1. re: scarberian
        Charles Yu RE: scarberian Jun 26, 2010 08:03 PM

        Zen is good but a bit 'monotonous' IMO. If decide to go Japanese, might as well go full blown and head out to Kaji instead. More varied, impressive and innovative!

        Colborne Lane has gone down hill after Aprile opened up Origin. Presentation was still pretty and inventive, however, I found most of the food 'short in taste'. Aprile did a much better job when he was at Senses!

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        Colborne Lane
        45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

        1. re: Charles Yu
          scarberian RE: Charles Yu Jun 27, 2010 02:59 AM

          Hey CY what's the difference between the Iki, Waza and Takumi at Kaji? There's like a $20 difference between them. I'll tell the wife and we might give them a try.

          1. re: scarberian
            Charles Yu RE: scarberian Jun 27, 2010 09:23 AM

            I believe its just some pretty name Kaji assigned to his 3 different priced ( $80,100,120 ) tasting menus. Obviously, the more one pays, the more dishes and more exotic ingredients will be served eg., Abalone and lobster sashimi, king crab legs etc. Hopefully someone like our 'Japanese foodie CHer' - skylineR33 can chip in?!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              skylineR33 RE: Charles Yu Jun 27, 2010 09:38 PM

              Yeah, there are just more dishes in the more expensive set. at Kaji.

              1. re: skylineR33
                c
                Chipp RE: skylineR33 Jul 27, 2010 07:39 AM

                I'm headed to Kaji on the weekend with one other person - would it be advisable to for one of us to get the $120 option, and someone else get either the $100 or $80 option. We aren't concerned about the money really, just wanting to try everything we can. Are there different dishes in the cheaper options, and do dishes here even lend themselves at all to sharing (just a bite or two for taste)?

                Thanks!

                1. re: Chipp
                  skylineR33 RE: Chipp Jul 27, 2010 08:09 AM

                  The cooked dishes are not the same in the $120 and the $100 set. If you want to see more dishes, it is better to get the $120 and $100. The size are ok for sharing (at least it is ok for me ). Wish you have a good time there !

                  1. re: Chipp
                    s
                    SMOG RE: Chipp Jul 27, 2010 06:35 PM

                    If there are 2 of you, you can each order different menus and you'll both get different items. One $100 menu and one $120 menu would be perfect. That's what I did last time I was there, but found that we were overly full by the end of the night. That's your best strategy to try the most items though.

                    1. re: Chipp
                      Charles Yu RE: Chipp Jul 27, 2010 06:55 PM

                      I noticed in the past, the 'more expensive' option does not always equate to more dishes but rather 'more exotic' ingredients. I recall, the additional money bought me a ' Masutake mushroom' dish which the cheaper option was not offered. Also, instead of veal, the more expensive option has a piece of nice Wagyu beef instead! Lastly, there was also Awabi in the sashimi for the more expensive option.

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        c
                        Chipp RE: Charles Yu Jul 28, 2010 06:43 AM

                        Thanks for the tips, guys (more are welcome though)! I just registered for this site and and appreciate the help. Any other tips for a first timer to Kaji?

                        Anyways... I think based on both of your opinions, I'll get a 120 and a 100 menu, and just sample off the dishes that are served to the other person I'm going with. Should be fun...

                        1. re: Chipp
                          l
                          LTL RE: Chipp Jul 28, 2010 10:56 AM

                          Take your time and enjoy. I absolutely loved the intricacy and subtle flavours especially of the sauces. I have only been once and can't wait to go back to see how my second experience is now that I (sort of) know what to expect. Also, it's great that you're going with another person. I went with three other people and we got two $120 menus, one $100 and one $80 which allowed us to try everything on offer that night. There was significant variation across menus, I found - all of which I loved!

                2. re: scarberian
                  Full tummy RE: scarberian Jun 27, 2010 09:35 AM

                  Sorry to say it this way, but, to me, it's the difference between leaving very hungry and a little bit hungry...

                  1. re: Full tummy
                    Charles Yu RE: Full tummy Jun 27, 2010 02:13 PM

                    Interesting?!! Last meal I had at Kaji, all four of us were 'stuffed'!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      Full tummy RE: Charles Yu Jun 27, 2010 05:35 PM

                      Well, last time I went (over a year ago) three of us ordered the middle-priced omakase, and we all left hungry. And we are not particularly big eaters. Maybe it's important to order the most expensive option if you want to avoid this? Or maybe things have changed...

                    2. re: Full tummy
                      shekamoo RE: Full tummy Jun 27, 2010 02:20 PM

                      my last meal at Kaji ($120 option) I almost could not finish

                  2. re: Charles Yu
                    s
                    Sannie_2 RE: Charles Yu Dec 8, 2010 10:51 AM

                    I have to agree. I was not impressed with the flavours at Colborne Lane. In my opinion, they spent more time on presentation rather than taste. I felt that they could have better enhanced the natural flavours of the food.

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                    Colborne Lane
                    45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                  3. re: scarberian
                    elvisahmed RE: scarberian Jun 26, 2010 09:04 PM

                    I agree with Scarbian Susur was pretty amazing at it sits prime. I would recomend Hashimoto Omakase meal if you can.

                    1. re: elvisahmed
                      Charles Yu RE: elvisahmed Jun 26, 2010 09:40 PM

                      At $300 per person, before tax, tips and beverages, Hashimoto is charging MORE than Tokyo's top Kaiseki restaurant, the Michelin 3 star "Hamadaya"!!! The latter is so refined that each party is assigned its own private dining room with its own tastefully laid out Japanese garden!! Even the doors and flower arrangements change with the seasons! eg., bamboo screen in summer, shoji in winter. As for the food and plate presentation. Wooooow!!
                      Whether Hashimoto is overpriced and/or over-rated, I'll let those of you willing to dish out the mega-bucks decide. As for myself, a few years ago, even the $140 for 9 dishes menu at their Mississauga location was border line acceptable since the meal did not have ALL the required dishes associated with an authentic Kaiseki which Hashimoto claimed he was serving!!.

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        elvisahmed RE: Charles Yu Jun 27, 2010 04:20 AM

                        Oh wow the prices have gone up quite a bit. I have only tried the Mississauga location and didn't realize it now costs $300 PP. At this price it is outrageous.

                        1. re: elvisahmed
                          1sweetpea RE: elvisahmed Jun 27, 2010 07:26 AM

                          Agreed. At $150 pp, Hashimoto was exceptional. The night I dined there, my table for 2 was the only table reserved for that night, so we had a totall private dining experience. Food, service and ambiance were just fantastic. But, would I pay double for essentially the same experience, plus other diners, potentially? No. If I could guarantee another private dining experience, maybe, but the food would have to reflect the price hike. I can't accept the fact that a location change would account for the 100% increase pp. I'd be expecting even more exotic ingredients and more elaborate/intricate tastes in each course.

                          Kaji is way better value, but I felt that the $120 meal was a ton of food, even for my greedy eyes and stomach. I'd have preferred a little less food but a bit more creativity and variation. I was surprised to have both a miso soup and a soup/stew course, only separated by a course or two. One soup was plenty, even though both were delicious.

                          My SO tells me he had a wonderful omakase experience last December at Ame. It was Asian-inspired fusion, but he said pretty much everything was wonderful.

                          My one and only experience with Susur didn't impress me that much. I got the impression that he was trying too hard to be innovative. As a non-dessert eater, I wasn't thrilled to begin my meal with dessert. I found the meal protein heavy and courses repeated ingredients over and over. I realize that continuity may have been Susur's intention, but I was a bit bored by the same ingredients, particularly the same greenery appearing on several of the plates.

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

                          1. re: 1sweetpea
                            scarberian RE: 1sweetpea Jun 27, 2010 01:11 PM

                            I was surprised by your experience at Susur. I remember getting the dessert at the end. We started with an amuse bouche, then the mains and then it got lighter from there. I also recall that each dish we got was totally different from the next (ie. different proteins, different greens, etc.) My meal was about 4 or 5 years ago. It was that memorable that I still remember it. Was yours more recent than mine, say just before they closed for good?

                            1. re: 1sweetpea
                              skylineR33 RE: 1sweetpea Jun 27, 2010 09:40 PM

                              At $150, Hashimoto is exceptional in Toronto standard, because it is the only kaiseki restaurant in Toronto area. At $300 per person, it is basically a rip off.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                Charles Yu RE: 1sweetpea Jun 28, 2010 06:15 AM

                                Totally agree with you on your Susur comment. I too was not impressed by the meals I had there. In fact we were a bit upset that his 'reversed' approach adopted during his later days really created havoc to our planned wine pairing option.
                                Enough said about this 'controversial love/hate chef'!!

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

                        2. re: scarberian
                          j
                          jnine RE: scarberian Jul 27, 2010 06:45 PM

                          Agree with Susur. That tasting menu was the most innovative and memorable in the city. I went almost 7 years ago. I wrote a personal review and often look back at that menu in amazement. Not sure I'll ever have a better culinary experience in my life!

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

                        3. c
                          childofthestorm RE: hungryporker Jun 27, 2010 08:03 AM

                          Gotta go with Canoe here.

                          1. s
                            stonedtoronto RE: hungryporker Jul 27, 2010 04:20 AM

                            I like the tasting at George, even with the 5 course, it feels heavy, but leaving full is never a bad thing. I think I've done the Colborne Lane tasting a good dozen times now. People keep asking me for interesting places to go, and I keep going there....I wish I could change parts of the menu though, getting pretty sick of that ice cream.

                            IMO, the tasting at Canoe is probably where I would take someone to wow them.

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                            Colborne Lane
                            45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: stonedtoronto
                              c
                              childofthestorm RE: stonedtoronto Jul 28, 2010 09:05 AM

                              I second the Canoe reco.

                            2. k
                              Kooper RE: hungryporker Jul 28, 2010 11:09 AM

                              I recently had the tasting menu at Auberge du Pommier and my wife and I loved it. The pine beer and cider were nice additions.

                              I love reds as well but it was a long menu and a lot of reds would have been heavy over the three hours it took us to eat.

                              It was a great dinner and we had no complaints.

                              1. smudgebee RE: hungryporker Jul 28, 2010 11:42 AM

                                I have just tried Ematei, for $45 each we were stuffed. It was not my favorite tasting menu, but it was a really good sampling to get to know the restaurant. My only real complaint is the waitress did not explain what anything was. She just put it in front of us and walked away. I think there was a language barrier but still, the whole point of a tasting menu is to know what you are tasting. The space is really nice to, very well done for no windows.

                                I also love Zen's Omakase. Sit at the bar, get the real wasabi and enjoy. Jackie is really interesting. If they are not to busy it is fun to get him to bring out some of his knives, amazing. The price is reasonable, @ $50 a person. They always end with this handroll that has the most incredible nori.

                                George was not my thing. Not because the food was not incredible, but because our service was terrible. No one came to our table for the first 20 minutes and it was not busy. Then when I flagged someone down no one acknowledged the wait.

                                I think I will give Auberge a try soon, sounds interesting.

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                                Ematei
                                30 Saint Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T3A3, CA

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: smudgebee
                                  haggisdragon RE: smudgebee Jul 28, 2010 12:25 PM

                                  Funny about George, the two times I've been there our service was flawless, first time was just me and the SO, second time a large party during the busy holiday season.

                                  1. re: haggisdragon
                                    smudgebee RE: haggisdragon Jul 28, 2010 01:47 PM

                                    Yah. I have been told my experience was an anomaly. The thing is, I do not want to give them another chance, but maybe I should reconsider. It was during the holiday season (although so was yours) so maybe they were just confused on who was assigned which tables. I just expected them to be a bit more attentive. Ah well, everyone has bad days.

                                  2. re: smudgebee
                                    Notorious P.I.G. RE: smudgebee Jul 28, 2010 04:34 PM

                                    Yeah, the set course at Ematei is incredible value for what you get. I think it's 7 courses or so and you leave totally stuffed. It's almost too much for me.

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