One night/morning of eating - Thanks Hounders
Was in town last Saturday just for an overnight. Got some input from this board on where to eat, so just wanted to quickly report back.
Began with oysters @ Starfish. Great place. The oysters were as delicious as promised, and included varieties I had never tried before, which was great. Had never had freshly grated horseradish served as an offering alongside oysters, and that's something I may now offer as well when I get oysters to shuck/serve at my house. Was almost tempted to stay for dinner after watching several people have massive lobsters delivered to them, but we were able to resist the lure of the lobster.
From Starfish, we cabbed it to Black Hoof. VERY glad we did.
The restaurant was, surprisingly, not busy at all, even at 7:00 or so on a Saturday. We started with the charcuterie board and a cheese board. Both were fantastic. The matching of different "jams" with the 3 cheese offerings was a really nice touch. The cheese from somewhere in Ottawa, I believe, was our favorite. An aged, hard cheese, I could eat that everyday for the rest of my life and be happy.
The charcuterie was also excellent, but a little much for two people. Again, it was all excellent. Least favorite was probably the mortadella, which has never been a favorite of mine and, for me, isn't a great stand alone offering. But, overall, delicious.
We then split the perogies, stuffed with braised pork shoulder, cheddar, and something else, with a lemon butter sauce underneath. Very good. Could have been a bit more stuffing, and the perogie itself could have been cooked a bit more, browned in a pan, so there were some little crisp spots. Overall, though, again, delicious.
Finally, we finished with "desert," as it was simply listed on the menu board. For a place that focuses on snout-to-tail cooking, the desert was, perhaps, the best -- and most surprising - part of the meal. Blackberries tossed in creme d cassis, some dollops of vanilla ice cream, little squares of shortcake, fennel pollen, microbasil, lemon custard underneath it all (I may have missed something - think there was another herb in there somewhere). My wife, who is far less prone than me to be overly effusive about food, was raving. It was about as close to a perfect desert as you can get, IMO.
If you are a Black Hoof fan and a seafood fan, then, if you're ever in San Francisco, I highly recommend Bar Crudo. They are very similar in their approach to food and the layout of the restaurant.
From there we went to Massey Hall to laugh for an hour or so during Daniel Tosh's tour on ice and then called it a night.
The next morning, we went to Le Petit Dejuenes for breakfast. We both got some form of eggs benedict. Both were excellent. After seeing the waffles, I did regret not getting a waffle of some kind. But it's always hard for me to pass up eggs benedict, particularly with house smoked salmon.
That was a nice way to start off what would be a terrible drive back to Pittsburgh. First, trying to leave Toronto on the QEW (405?) was so slow going, apparently due almost strictly to volume. Then came the border entry back to the U.S., where we sat for 1 hr 45 min! Not sure why I was surprised by that, though. The U.S. can't do much right these days.
Next time I would not stay at a hotel near Massey during the Caribana Festival, if that's what it was called. Made for a hotel environment that was a bit more crazy than we were looking for.
But, overall, a very nice, too short trip. Toronto seems like a great city, and we hope to come back.
The Black Hoof
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA
Thanks for posting your detailed report.
Happy to hear Le Petit Dejeuner was a pleasant experience for you. Le Petit Dejeuner has been one of the restaurants where I often take visitors for breakfast, but I was disappointed with the service, slowness and lack of air conditioning when I brought a visitor there for a midweek breakfast during the heat wave 2 weeks ago.
Starfish is one of my favourite restaurants in TO.
Happy to hear you enjoyed Toronto and the restaurants you visited during your short stay.
Glad you enjoyed your trip! Caribana (or whatever the new name is) attracts a lot of people from the USA so there are probably more american's in Toronto than Canadians hence your border wait/traffic on the way back :) I would say that the crowds really change the feel of the city too. Normally that area isn't all that busy/noisy/ etc but like you said for Caribana weekend Yonge street transforms into something else.
Thanks for the report. Always interesting to hear what others think about the city!
This is now the third or fourth report I've heard of excellent desserts at the Hoof, used to be the single dessert was basically an afterthought, I'm glad that it appears they've stepped it up.