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Elle m'a dit on Baldwin

I love Baldwin street, but it does seem a little stagnant. Elle m'a dit is fresh face which fits perfectly on the street. The restaurant is Alsatian and offers many traditional dishes at low prices. None of the mains are over $20. Everything we ate was good and felt like care was put into it,. We had the fish plate, which consisted of various smoked fish, the traditional tarte flambe, stuffed pork hocks, sweetbreads, bison tartar, apple tarte flambe and chocolate mousse. They also have a french cider on the wine list for $22. I can totally see myself sitting on the patio drinking cider, lazily snacking on various dishes and watching the summer roll by.

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  1. Wow that sounds lovely. Thanks for the post! Like you I adore Baldwin Street but don't necessarily adore the food at the restos along that strip. Sounds like there's a reason to go back.

    1. I've been meaning to get here after someone mentioned it on twitter... ! Thanks for the report!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jlunar

        The food is pretty good. Went with some Frenchies and they all enjoyed it as well. The tartes flambées/flammenkueche were nice; I don't think I've had better ones since I've been back from France. The sandwiches were nicely done, but nothing mindblowing. Would definitely go back for dinner.

      2. I've been once with a friend who's been several times and we both love it, prices are pretty reasonable and food is well done.
        http://ellemadit.com/ is the website but the menu changes pretty regularly, was a bit different than what is shown from when I went about two weeks ago. Nothing drastic mind you but some of the dishes were mixed and a couple different ones. None over the $20 price point mentioned above though. I really enjoyed the tarte flambée, and could of eaten a couple of them. For one of the first time ever I actually enjoyed a dish with sauerkraut in it, mind you the various pork products certainly help. My group also had the fish plate and the meat plate, both good. They also have a few specials every night.
        Also wanted to add this as well
        http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/...

        1. I've only been for lunch, and it seems like a pleasant addition to the Baldwin strip. It's a nice niche with decent food at a more attractive price point than some of the other places there. The tartes are simple and tasty for a light lunch, but I would have walked away hungry without a shared app/dessert.

          I completely agree with the comment about a patio and cider though. Other than the steak frites we saw, the menu is really well designed for lazy snacking. I don't think I'll be in too much of a rush to return for lunch, unfortunately, but I think it's perfect for a late Friday afternoon/early dinner lounging opportunity. I'd also love to come back for dinner where I'd have time to work my way through multiple courses.

          1. Just tried it out for lunch and was a little underwhelmed, actually. First of all, really small menu, second of all, they ran out of the only soup they had. I ended up having a traditonal tarte flambee and a smoked trout salad instead of the soup. Food was delicious and well prepared but rather small portions and rather pricey for what you get. I'd like to go back to try the dinner menu, but I'm not in a rush. I'd rather head up to Patisserie La Cigogne on Bayview for my flammekuche. At least I can order that alone and be full.

            -----
            Cigogne
            1626 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: currycue

              Slight disconnect here - is La Cigogne open for dinner now? I thought it was for lunch only.

              1. re: estufarian

                No. As far as I know, it's lunch only and the tarte flambee is only available Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Shame really, that's why I was so excited about this place. Maybe their dinner flammekuechen are larger?

              2. re: currycue

                I agree the portions are small and pricey but the food tastes good. I was going to order a tart flambe for lunch but realised I 'd need two or three!

              3. I shared the meat platter (smoked duck breast, some sort of pork rillettes, some kind of salami, a pressed pork terrine, cornichons, bread), cheese platter (St. Agur, brie, a Tomme of some sort, some apple chutney, sliced apples, nuts, bread sticks and bread), the pesto/portobello tarte flambee and the chocolate terrine with salt caramel ice cream and cherries on the patio tonight.

                While the protein portion sizes are on the light side compared to some places, the prices were reasonable. The Cheese Platter with 3 or 4 cheeses was around $15, when the cheese platters at Caren's with similar amounts of cheese, and less bread, often run $25-$35. The desserts were all under $10.

                The Cheese Platter, Meat Platter, Tarte Flambee, Chocolate Terrine, 2 glasses of wine and 2 coffees came to around $85 before tax and tip.

                The server we had was professional and down-to-earth, and he certainly added to our experience. I'm sure I'll return to Elle M'A Dit when I'm looking for casual French food and/or a patio near the AGO.

                3 Replies
                1. re: prima

                  You mentioned the prices and portions, but how was the food itself? If I was to guess based on your review, you seem to be saying it's not worth going out of your way for?

                  1. re: justpete

                    The restaurant seems a bit confused. Was there for the first time on a Sunday night dinner a week ago - the server informed us that the plates are for "sharing", and recommended ordering approximately 2 per person. While it makes sense to share things like the Flammenkuche (the "original" was tasty but tiny), it makes no sense to share an Alsatian beef and potato casserole served with a green side salad ( the casserole, by the way, was pretty bland). The choucroute garnie was good, with good portion sizes, and at 20-some $, would be a reasonable main. The seared tuna on a lentil salad was delicious, and was ok to share (in a large appetizer size kind of way). The food comes out of the kitchen as its ready, which is why they recommend sharing plates, apparently, but some dishes on the menu definitely seem like mains and others like appetizers (surely it makes no sense to have a hot mean'n'potato casserole with a side green salad before a dainty and flabourful bison tartare???) Overall, the food is tasty, but the place needs to figure out a plan, and redesign it's concept/ menu.

                    1. re: justpete

                      It was decent- certainly a good bet on the Baldwin strip.

                      I was dining with friends who were more interested in the pesto/portabello tarte flambee, and weren't as interested in ordering what I'd consider a traditional tarte flambee made with creme fraiche, fromage blanc, onions and bacon, or mushrooms and bacon, or any other TF made of traditional Alsatian ingredients.

                      For a pesto/portabello flatbread, it was tasty. For me, basil pesto, gorgonzola, preserved lemon pulled pork (or goulash as has been offered at the Bohemian Gastropub) on tarte flambee is a little like putting pineapple on my pizza. Might taste good, but kinda becomes something other than pizza.

                      The crust was very, very thin, and a little floppy. At first glance, the flatbread/tarte flambee we ordered seemed to be on the light side, but it's fairly heavy on the cheese in relation to the amount of crust. I wouldn't be able to eat more than one, mostly because the amount of cheese/pesto in more than 1 would be too rich for my system. I don't know what the topping/crust ratio is like on their other versions.

                      I'd like to go back next time I'm in the area, and order the most traditional Tarte Flambee (with creme fraiche, fromage blanc and bacon). I'll report back if I do.

                      The cheeses were fine- not any more interesting or exotic than I'd find in my fridge, but I'm a bit of a cheese nut.

                      The meat platter was decent.

                      In a nutshell, I'd go out of my way (1 subway token for me) for this place if I was looking for a low-key, reasonably-priced bistro food.

                      Apart from the TF, I didn't try the hot food, so I don't really feel like I got a chance to try the kitchen's output. I'll go back to try the coq au vin ( I know, not Alsatian) and some other stuff at some point.

                      What I really liked was the absence of a Too Cool for School attitude at Elle M'a Dit. The servers were welcoming and genuine.

                      After a couple experiences with some rude restaurant owners and servers over the last 6 months, service is becoming almost as important to me as the food, and I'm finding poor service can undo all the hard work in the kitchen. Which is making me appreciate good and friendly service even more.

                  2. We checked Elle M'a dit out on saturday. The space is pretty small, so its a good thing we had a reservation. Service was great, very friendly and paced well.
                    Our server suggested we get a few dishes and then share them.So we shared:
                    Cheese platter 3 kinds of cheese (a blue, a hard parm-type, and a soft, all sheep milk) quince jelly, fruit crostini, apples, nuts and dried fruit- This was a nice way to start. It was very simple, nothing spectacular, but a safe option.
                    Duck tarte flambee with duck confit, potato, onion, fromage blanc, gruyère chees- This was a bit of a disappointment. I wanted more duck, less pungent onion, and more seasoning in general. I found the texture of the tart to be nice, but it was pretty bland.

                    Seared foie gras with ginger bread French toast, sautéed plum, jus- This was also just okay. The foie was a general portion, but was not as crispy as I like, and the gingerbread french toast was very soggy. The flavour of the gingerbread was nice, but it was as if they had dipped it in the french toast batter, and forgotten to fry it- there was no crust at all! A great dish potentially, but meh execution.
                    Rabbit Carbonara Fettuccine (One of the Nightly Specials)- This was amazing. A delicious egg yolk right on top that imparted an incredible creaminess to the dish. The rabbit was tender, and the seasoning was perfect. Very rich, so I am glad I was sharing that.
                    Sticky toffee pudding with Pear crisp, whipped sweet cream cheese, toasted walnut- This was also very delicious. I loved the cream cheese whipped cream, and the toffee pudding itself was lovely (not as good as Beast though). My only complaint would be that the pears were a little too hard (they could have been caramelized and cooked a bit longer), but the granola-like topping gave a much needed layer of texture.

                    So for 2 apps, 2 main, 1 dessert, 2 glasses of wine, 1 cocktail, and 2 bottles of sparkling, the total was $160 with tax and tip. I think thats reasonable, and while there were some mediocre dishes, I would eventually return if the opportunity arose, simply because there were quite a few dishes that sounded and looked delicious (I saw some super crispy lookin' frites go by!)

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    4 Replies
                    1. re: hungryabbey

                      thanks for the write up, and the photos! you seem much more forgiving than me -- if i spent $80 p.p. for what sounds like a generally meh experience, i imagine i'd be plenty pissed. i recently spent roughly that amount for a fabulous meal at enoteca sociale, and was still surprised at the bill.

                      1. re: autopi

                        aw well. we have done much worse. 150 is a typical bill for us.. we spent G-d knows how much at the french laundry and left thinking "hm, nothing bad, but nothing I will remember".. so i guess its all relative. my expectations are unfortunately somewhat lower these days in Toronto. After a few drinks, Im usually just happy if we can get out under 200 and not have had anything offensive. ha.

                        1. re: hungryabbey

                          I can' t remember what I ordered at the French Laundry, either. I don't blame Thomas Keller, I blame his bartender. ha ha. ;-)

                      1. This place is closing down. Last service on April 27th.

                        https://twitter.com/ellemaditoui

                        Never made it myself but would have liked to have tried it at some point.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ylsf

                          That's too bad! Did like. Their tarte flambee was good.