Origin - Lives up the hype
I was most impressed with Origin this weekend, paying my first visit to Toronto Life's #1 with a group of friends. The vibe is great with a few different seating areas, ranging from more quite in the dining area to a little more vibrant (e.g., loud) near the bar/DJ. Despite the noise, we adapted and have a blast and most importantly some really outstanding food.
My days of needing 7 course tasting menus are officially over. Perhaps the economic downturn changed my habits, but with options like Origin, I'm really not missing anything. The whole gourmet comfort food experience is really fun and fulfilling - lots of variety and you don't leave hungry!
For starters/mains for some:
- Marinated Olives (good - unremarkable)
- Tostones + guacamole (awesome - remarkable!). Better than any Mexican place in the city including Milagro. I've never had a Tostones, but, wow, they are incredible!
- Spanish Fries - amazing - lots of great toppings - prefer this over Poutine
- Bufala mozzarella + pear + rosemary oil + pinenuts + honey - WOW, WOW, WOW.. This is really excellent. I would have never imagined this combination of things being this excellent. But kudos to the Origin team for delivering.
- Sugar snap peas - decent - funny enough we didn't order these, but they came and we mentioned it to the server - she said to keep them!! Now, that's service that I can respect. I hate when places serve an extra side and take it away...especially at high end restos.
- Chinois duck wrap + pickled cucumber + hoisin + sriracha + sour cream - not my favourite dish, but really good and worth trying. I found the duck to be a little tough, but otherwise a tasty treat.
- Scallops - not that good - but they're scallops - kind of taste like nothing at best of times! Not really my thing so don't take my word for it.
- Origin Burger - what can I say...this is as good as any burger I've had lately. I've been to all the burger places - Note Bene, Harbord Room, Burger Priest etc - this is right up there if not better. In future, I would have got the combo - with fries and cream soda.
- Can't remember what it was called, but it was a martini glass full of creamy, caramel dolce deleche with lots of chocolate crumble on top - perfectly cooled and delicious. This really blew me away - didn't think it would be as good as it was. Highly recommend.
- Great, professional, friendly (even though it's kind of alternative/hipster). Totally impressed with the Sugar Snap Pea incident resolution. We spent about 180 a couple - for all that food, bottle of wine and about 6 martinis. Now, that's really good value IMHO. Next time, I would not order that much food however....way too much...the burger alone is huge and filling.
I'll be going back very soon - finally Toronto Life gets it right!!
89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA