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Splendido- No!

r
recamier Sep 4, 2010 07:52 AM

Returned to Splendido last night- first time since the new management. Still looks like a poorly lit basement. Overall lumination is adequate, but no feeling of life or sparkle. Met in an unpleasantly breezy fashion at the door. The reception area doubles as a common computer station for the waitstaff so a hurried work atmosphere greets you on arrival and a delay while the greeter waits for the waitstaff to clear. Questions begin within a microsecond of being seated, what kind of water, what food allergies etc. Might seem solicitous but perhaps a moment to settle before the barrage might be better. But then again there's two seatings as we've been informed and it's clear throughout that we're on the clock. The menu is clear enough but the waiter assumes we can't read. There's only six oysters he tells us . Later, would we like vegetables for the table? No, otherwise we would have ordered them. But he does ask us to "pardon my reach", a phrase which grates in a diner, and is unacceptable in a place with pretensions. The food? Marginally acceptable. Greasy pappardelle, gluey risotto with the lobster. Overall, no better than most undistinguished Toronto restaurants can produce at a third less cost. Finally the bill arrives unasked moments after we've finished dessert. No opportunity for digestif. Time to go. Amateurish throughout.

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

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  1. l
    lamaranthe RE: recamier Sep 4, 2010 12:29 PM

    Thanks for the warning. You are not - unfortunately - the only one to be unsatisfied.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lamaranthe
      j
      jjmellon RE: lamaranthe Sep 5, 2010 06:05 AM

      In fact, I wrote a similarly titled review "Splendido -- No longer the top" in October, 2009:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662344

      I'm sorry to read the same types of complaints I had ten months ago (strange, amateurish service; ordinary food; reduced ambience after the renovations). I also cited the inaccuracy of the menu descriptions. How can they still be getting these things wrong?

      My review received only one response, which agreed with me. I think the new Splendido is drowning in a sea of indifference, and without significant improvements it is entirely deserved.

      1. re: jjmellon
        f
        froglegs RE: jjmellon Sep 5, 2010 08:31 AM

        When I was there a few months ago I was not blown away. I guess we set our expectations so high when critics rave about a place. The critics are often wrong. At Splendido, I found my server to be a tadd condescending at times. He hovered too. The food was good, not an overly generous portion . That's all. I am not rushing back!

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

    2. s
      swissmissy RE: recamier Sep 4, 2010 01:41 PM

      So disappointing - Splendido was at the top of my list for my birthday dinner this year. I'll definitely reconsider now. Thanks for the warning.

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

      1. T Long RE: recamier Sep 5, 2010 08:21 AM

        For an establishment that so recently was acclaimed to be one of the best in Toronto, there have been few, if any positive reviews lately. Although I've never been there, its always been on my radar. For the prices they are charging, I will not be going until I see almost 100% positives reviews across the board.

        1. p
          phoenikia RE: recamier Sep 5, 2010 09:53 AM

          How was the lobster that came with your gluey risotto?
          http://splendido.ca/menus/dinner/

          Could you let me know where I can find butter poached lobster, BC wild mushrooms and gluey marscarpone risotto for $12.67? I'd really appreciate it. I've had trouble finding butter poached lobster at that price point in Toronto.

          Unlike T Long, I'm not waiting for almost 100% positive reviews across this Board. There's more chance I'll have strong feelings (+ve or -ve) towards a restaurant, menu or dish if there's a handful of Chowhounds who don't like it.

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

          3 Replies
          1. re: phoenikia
            m
            millygirl RE: phoenikia Sep 5, 2010 02:37 PM

            $12.67 - where did that come from? Clearly I'm missing something.

            1. re: millygirl
              p
              phoenikia RE: millygirl Sep 5, 2010 02:53 PM

              The OP writes:
              Overall, no better than most undistinguished Toronto restaurants can produce at a third less cost.

              Since Splendido's butter poached lobster costs $38, I was hoping the OP could let me know where I could find butter poached lobster for $12.67, which is 1/3 of $38. I now realize I missed the word "less" in the OP's sentence.

              This is what I should have asked the OP:
              Where can I find some butter poached lobster for $25.34=1/3 less of the cost of Splendido's $38 butter poached lobster= 2/3 of the cost of the Splendido's $38 butter poached lobster?

              Auberge de Pommier's butter poached lobster costs $40: http://oliverbonacini.com/OliverBonac...

              The lobster on saffron risotto at Chiado costs $45: http://chiadorestaurant.com/

              Scaramouche's current lobster offering (not currently butter poached, although it has been in the fairly recent past) costs $48. http://www.scaramoucherestaurant.com/...

              The $38 lobster at Splendido is beginning to look like a good deal.

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

              1. re: phoenikia
                r
                recamier RE: phoenikia Sep 5, 2010 04:58 PM

                As I think is clear I used the word overall referring to our experience in its entirety that evening and I maintain that overall the average $25/main undistinguished Toronto restaurant matches what and how we were served. I hope it is also clear that I was not complaining about the cost but merely providing a point of reference.

          2. Charles Yu RE: recamier Sep 5, 2010 07:44 PM

            Owner, Carlo Catello, working in the front of the house is one of the most professional restauranteur and sommelier in town. Victor Barry the chef/owner used to be David Lee's sous for years. Whilst David Lee was busy opening up Nota Bene, it was Barry who was holding the fort at the 'old Splendido' and quality of the food did not diminished at all! Still top notch! Therefore, after investing so much money on the new Splendido, I doubt they would see their combined ownership and effort resulting in 'Amateurish throughout?! In fact, my daughter's meal there a while back was great and she raved about both the food and service. And she too is as much a foodie as I am!
            Also, I would actually give crudo to the wait staff for asking the patrons about 'food allergies'!. Isn't it a reflection of 'they actually care'??!! How many restaurants in town actually asked that question? Based on my dining experience, not Scaramouche, not Canoe, not Chiado, not George and not N44!!!!

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

            Chiado
            864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

            Nota Bene
            180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

            14 Replies
            1. re: Charles Yu
              j
              JPJ RE: Charles Yu Sep 5, 2010 08:54 PM

              Rest assured, there is nothing wrong with Splendido. I dined there regularly before the 'change over' and have continued to dine there regularly since. The quality of the food and service is as exceptional as ever.

              Anyone who decides not to go because someone posts a negative and vague review on chowhound is missing out.

              J

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

              1. re: Charles Yu
                j
                jjmellon RE: Charles Yu Sep 6, 2010 05:27 AM

                Charles Yu, I take from your posting that you have not personally eaten at the new Splendido. I have great respect for your opinions about food but I think it is wrong to rely entirely on reputation and hearsay to contradict another poster's first hand review.

                I would have thought that your recent hearsay review of "Shanghai Dim Sum" as " the BEST Shanghainese food and Northern Dim Sum outside of HK, Taiwan and China!! " shows the pitfalls of that approach. It appears that someone else's opinion, no matter how trusted and credentialed, does not match your own opinion when you finally went there, nor does it match anyone else who has reviewed the place.

                I have eaten at old Splendido and new Splendido, and I generally agree with the OP. I do not claim that there are no individual dishes that are delicious and worth the price. I do not claim that there are no good servers, or that the chef is bad. The old Splendido had impeccable service, but my server was bad ten months ago, and the OP's server was bad this month. The food my party ordered was nowhere near the level of the old Splendido, and the OP says the same.

                In spite of having the same front of house and chef, and in spite of reportedly having good lobster at a reasonable price, I think the new Splendido has taken a big step down from the old. At best, it has become inconsistent.

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

                1. re: jjmellon
                  c
                  childofthestorm RE: jjmellon Sep 6, 2010 12:54 PM

                  I ate at both the old and new incarnation and think it's still great, one of the better restaurants in town for sure.

                  1. re: childofthestorm
                    aser RE: childofthestorm Sep 6, 2010 12:56 PM

                    Me too, but that is my experience. In fact I feel I've read way more positive reviews on Splendido than negative, on here, in the papers, and other boards.

                    In terms of service, one of their best servers left to be GM at Paramour on Ossington. Good guy, was served by him at Splendido before, but haven't been to Paramour yet.

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

                  2. re: jjmellon
                    Charles Yu RE: jjmellon Sep 6, 2010 02:57 PM

                    ' not personally eaten in the new Splendido' - where in my posting did I say that.?

                    FYI, I do not ALWAYS post EVERY single meal I had on this board, otherwise I will have no time!! This spring, I spend over 3 weeks in Hong Kong, eating in over a dozen Michelin restaurants. I did not make a single posting on chowhound!! Besides, there are other places like Facebook which allows me to post tons of pictures with less restrictions.

                    As for 'Shanghai Dim Sum', since it was brand spanking new, I merely, out of courtesy, try to inform fellow chowhounders of its existence. I do not see any thing wrong quoting from someone, as long as I made it clear that the comments are from third party. Besides, I did follow up my posting with a review of my visit! There are members on this board who welcome 'hot, off the press' information.

                    Lastly, no one is trying to compare the old 'fine dining' Splendido with the new 'more bistro like' Splendido. Besides, it will be unfair and unethical for me to do that since I know the owners and chefs of both establishments personally. I merely said in my posting that, based on the relatively stellar credential of both Carlo and Victor that it is highly suspectful that they would allow their establishment to be run in an 'AMATEURISH WAY THROUGHOUT!!

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

                  3. re: Charles Yu
                    Googs RE: Charles Yu Sep 6, 2010 01:09 PM

                    Charles, if you gave crudo to the wait staff, wouldn't they be a little bewildered?

                    1. re: Googs
                      p
                      phoenikia RE: Googs Sep 6, 2010 01:38 PM

                      If they are well-trained staff, I'd hope they'd say grazie to Charles, unless the staff receiving the crudo happened to be allergic to crudo.

                      But I would hazard a guess that Charles would ask about any allergies, before giving anyone crudo.

                      ;-)

                      1. re: phoenikia
                        Googs RE: phoenikia Sep 6, 2010 02:52 PM

                        LOL. We laugh, Charles, because we like you.

                        1. re: phoenikia
                          s
                          Snarf RE: phoenikia Sep 7, 2010 09:54 AM

                          Is this the new tipping currency? If so, how do you distinguish the quality of service/variety of fish scale? Would it have to be canned? Was this dreamt up by David Tsubouchi?

                          1. re: Snarf
                            p
                            phoenikia RE: Snarf Sep 7, 2010 09:58 AM

                            Tilapia crudo for low quality service, sea bream crudo for medium quality service, and genuine red snapper crudo for high quality service.

                            http://www.thestar.com/article/631705

                            1. re: phoenikia
                              Charles Yu RE: phoenikia Sep 7, 2010 05:37 PM

                              OK! Guys!! My mistake! ITS ' KUDOS' ( Very funny though!!! )
                              ! didn't know what I was thinking when I was typing my posting. Must be thinking of Adley of Paramount (ex-Splendido) and their daily Crudos!!

                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                TorontoJo RE: Charles Yu Sep 7, 2010 05:55 PM

                                But we really LIKE the idea of you giving crudos to excellent staff. :)

                                1. re: TorontoJo
                                  jlunar RE: TorontoJo Sep 7, 2010 06:00 PM

                                  In boxes, with individual ice-packs, and bows!

                                  1. re: jlunar
                                    Charles Yu RE: jlunar Sep 7, 2010 08:40 PM

                                    And for BAD service! The really nasty sushi and sashimi from Sakana-Ya ( being discussed in another post currently! ) Ha!!!

                    2. r
                      ragged25 RE: recamier Sep 7, 2010 10:16 AM

                      I dine at Splendido for the first time in June. We sat at the bar and we did not notice any of the poster's problems. We thought the service was more than fine and we had a fun time chatting with the bartender as well as Carlo who was very personable and a joy to chat with. We were easily the youngest couple in the restaurant but were not made to feel out of place and we had a lovely dinner for a very special occasion.

                      We did not feel rushed at all and we found the food to be better than most in the city and the higher than average prices were justifiable. We especially enjoyed the foie gras terrine and the pappardelle with the rabbit. We had strawberry dessert which Carlo himself recommended and we loved it. All in all, it was a very lovely dinner on a special occasion and we would return.

                      It's unfortunate that you had a bad time recamier, so unless they've gone downhill over the past 3 months, that would be a shame!

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

                      1. jlunar RE: recamier Sep 7, 2010 11:01 AM

                        I have been several times since the change-over and I find the new Splendido to be still quite good. Service is still strong, and food-wise, I have enjoyed many dishes there, though I haven't loved everything (and I don't expect to necessarily).

                        Most recently, I very much enjoyed the Chilled Ontario Peaches & Cream Corn Soup. Also went for their heirloom tomato tasting menu recently and I just have the photos up:
                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/s...

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                        http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

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

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