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Origin Question

I'm going to Origin this weekend and have a few questions.

How many dishes are good for two people?
Any stand out dishes I should go for?
Anything I should avoid?

Any tips you have would be great! I'm really looking forward to it! I have been trying to get a reservation for ever, but have had a hard time planning far enough in advance ha.

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  1. Share: deviled eggs, spicy spanish fries, and tostones
    Order each 2 more dishes like: shrimp ceviche, oysters, rock hen, scallops, or calamari (maybe some of the best in the city).
    Leave room for dessert.
    I liked the samosas and burger but I wouldn't say the are must orders.
    Have fun and tell us what you thought.

    1. Try to get a table with a view of the cooking action, it's a like a mini live show.

      1. Love the guacamole and tostones - great for sharing
        The burger is HUGE, so it is a sharing type dish, IMO
        I found the duck breast on a pancacke to be very disappointing and overly salted
        The mozzarella/tomato/preserved lemon bruschetta style dish is fabulous
        I really like the calamari as well

        When Mr. Vuitton and I go, we usually order 4 or 5 dishes for the two of us. We don't/have not ordered dessert.

        1. If you go - then Underdog Rally (:))) hi!!) made a good rec
          However - I am really not a fan of the food. The only thing that I tried when I went that I enjoyed was the Bangkok Salad. I personally found the Origin Burger to be quite terrible (the server agreed that the fries were very badly done so they took those off the bill) and the "float" that came with it was awful.
          That being said - I'm part of the boo-on-Origin minority :-)


          4 Replies
          1. re: ekim256

            I don't think you're the only one.

            1. re: ekim256

              I'm in the boo-camp. Nice space though.

              1. re: jlunar

                nice space indeed. There are some spots that I'll go to just for the space, even though the food isn't fantastic, such as Woodlot, and even Brasaii
                Origin's space isn't enough to justify the boo-factor though, imo

              2. re: ekim256

                total boo camp here too... nice patio :-)

              3. from the mozerella bar the firo de latte+mushroom +spinach, bangkok salad, calamri with peanut sauce! they have a fantastic dessert- I cant recall the name its their most popular one and its both sweet and salty they should be able to help you with it!

                1. OP "Any tips you have would be great! I'm really looking forward to it! I have been trying to get a reservation for ever, but have had a hard time planning far enough in advance ha."

                  chowhounders response - "Boooooo" - honestly, why even post? Not trying to defend Origin, the negativity on this board just sucks sometimes. Can we let hungryabbey be excited without raining on the parade?

                  I only went for lunch but the Burrata+eggplant+pesto+roasted red peppers, and the spanish fries were both excellent dishes. Don't do the origin burger.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mlukan

                    Thanks mlukan! I started to feel a bit of doubt but I'm going to go regardless..

                    1. re: hungryabbey

                      No No No. Don't have doubts! Ignore the squawkers. You've been on this site for how long? You know not everybody likes every restaurant and some people make it their mission to pop up every time the restaurant they don't like, is mentioned as if they have a personal vendetta.

                      Origin is a place that most people enjoy and some of the dishes are very memorable as you have read. Without adding my own bias, I can safely say the odds that you will enjoy your experience are greatly in your favour.

                  2. I always get the Ribeye (I can't help it, I love meat and would eat the whole thing by myself, though luckily I'm usually with other people to decrease the caloric intake), something from the Mozzarella Bar and the Devilled Eggs. I love watching the kitchen and any drama that goes down so prefer sitting at the open kitchen bar area. But the patio is great too.

                    1. I'm in the "really like Origin" camp. Things I've enjoyed:

                      - deviled eggs
                      - tostones
                      - bufala mozzerella with pear and honey
                      - wok fried calamari
                      - miso glazed black cod (yes, it's cliche, but it's really good -- though it was overly salty on one visit)

                      I've liked most of the desserts, as well.

                      Personally, I would skip the spanish fries.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        I like Origin, nice vibe, great room, good food for the most part- I vote for the burrata and the ceviche :)

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          This is true, I didn't hate it all. I did like the devilled eggs, tostones, and black cod. I just didn't think they were awesome.

                          I truly hated the hand-rolls. Soggy. falling apart. eww... I'd never been that grossed out eating something in Toronto...

                          1. re: jlunar

                            That does sound pretty gross. In general, I've enjoyed the "little nibbles" like the tostones and deviled eggs more than some of the mains (e.g., I didn't really care for the curried shrimp when they had them on the menu and I would have loved the bangkok salad, except it was too sweet). So I can usually make a good meal out of the appetizer-style items and desserts. And wine, of course.

                        2. So, we headed down on last night and the first thing I noticed was that the place was only about 3/4 full, so I'm not sure why its always so hard to get a reservation..It seems like whenever i call they tell me they're booked (at least during the prime hours like when I went). Regardless, i thought it was a nice room, very modern, dark (which is not my preference), with an open kitchen. As per your advice, I got a table that overlooked the kitchen, which was fun but kind of distracting because it took me like 45 minutes of staring to figure out where I knew the chef de cuisine from (David Dimoglou), until I remembered that he was my instructor at George Brown.

                          Our server was very pleasant, I also recognized her, maybe from her time at Grace, as she predicted. She was young, knowledgeable, very friendly, and attentive without being intruding. She let us sample a few different wines before settling on an Austrian white.
                          With regards to the menu, it is extensive and it was super hard to choose so I was happy I had your suggestions.. I just wish that they would label how many X each serving comes with so that you can plan accordingly. We tried 6 dishes in total, and I ranked it in terms of our favourites from most (1) to least (6):

                          Bufala Mozzarella + Pear + Rosemary Oil + Pinenuts + Honey (2)
                          So delicious. We are regular caprese salad eaters, but I wanted to try this semi-sweeter application for the mozzarella and it was really delicious. The mildness of the cheese paired perfectly with the sweetness from the honey and pear, without being cloying. I just wish that this was the last dish we got before the dessert (it was actually our first dish of the night) since it did have a sweet component.

                          Chinois duck wrap + pickled cucumber + hoisin +sriracha +sour cream (3)
                          Even though the duck was a bit dry, I really still loved this dish. The cucumber was not only pickled, but it seemed to be covered in some type of very light crispy batter or breading (it was hard to discern in the dark) that was then fried. So the combination of the rich duck with the soft flour tortilla and the sweet/spicy sauce was really good. I would have liked to make a meal of this.

                          Spicy Spanish Fries + Chorizo + Manchego (4)
                          Absolutely delicious. Very good fries, very crispy chorizo bits, and I loved the spicy aoli type sauce.

                          Bangkok beef salad + peanut +mint +mango +fried shallot + nam jim dressing (5)
                          The beef was tender and cooked nicely, and I loved the fried peanuts and shallots, but I didn't love this dish all together. I think it had something to do with the temperature, which was like luke-warm, and that is always off-putting to me for some reason.

                          Wokked and fried calamari +caramelized peanut sauce +pineapple (6)
                          Even though this was the favourite among ppl on this board, this was my least favourite. Maybe it was an off night. The dish seemed to have sit a bit too long, as it was luke-warm as well, not very crispy, and the calamari itself was a bit chewy. But I did like the flavours in the sauce and the sweet pineapple bits.

                          Dulce de leche + lemon sponge + raspberry ice +caramel + sea salt (1)
                          Not surprisingly, dessert earned the number one spot in my favourite dish list. This was based on my servers recommendation, and after reading the description (I love anything caramelized), it was a no-brainer. However, I really didn't know how raspberry or even the lemon was going to work with the dulce de leche, but it ended up being an amazing dessert. The dulce de leche was like a very smooth custard type texture, to which the raspberry and salt liquid-nitrogen ice cream balls added a really interesting contrast.I didn't think there was enough of the lemon sponge (which was on the bottom), as I only really got one spoonfull in which I tasted anything citrusy. The only other criticism I have of the dessert is that they need to serve it with smaller, skinnier spoons because the honkin' ones they gave us hardly fit into the bottom of the glass. But in conclusion, this dessert was worth coming for alone, as it was the perfect balance of sweet (dulce de leche, caramel), sour (raspberry, lemon), and savory (salt). Good portion too.

                          So for the above food, a bottle of sparkling and an $80 bottle of wine, the total came to about $180 before tip, after tax. Not cheap (though it may seem that way when you look at some of the prices for the dishes), but not outrageous given that a good chunk of that bill came from the wine. So, in conclusion, while I definitely enjoyed my meal at Colbourne Lane more, I would return to Origin to sample some of the other items on the extensive menu. It might be a good place to come for a drink and a light meal/snack/dessert at the bar, if I were ever specifically in the mood. Thank you so much everyone for your help!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            I'm glad u enjoyed the dessert it was my favourite as well! I couldnt recall the name :)

                            1. re: hungryabbey

                              Thanks for the review. I think you've picked up on the same way some of us (or at least I) feel about Origin. For me, the fusion dishes tend to be pretty bad, especially the Asian ones (additionally, most of the Asian fusion dishes at CL are pretty unsuccessful). There are some tasty dishes as well (though nothing that will really blow you away), but if you aren't really aware and order incorrectly, you're in for a pretty underwhelming meal.

                              Add to that the poor plating and consistency issues, and you have a completely hit-or-miss dining experience. That being said, it's a pretty nice place to have some drinks and snacks (if you order carefully) or dessert.

                                1. re: iMarilyn

                                  Pretty loud.. and thats not my style, personally.. But yes tjr, the plating was very MEH. Actually, looking back at the photos... it was sloppy. Hm, too bad because thats a pretty easy thing to fix.

                              1. My Origin question is, has anyone sucessfully opened their website without it crashing your computer? Worst website ever. But I do adore that patio.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Googs

                                  No problem with the website for me. And yes, that patio is most excellent.

                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    At home or at work, crashy-crash-crash-crash for me.

                                  2. re: Googs

                                    I've had no website issues. Maybe get a different browser?
                                    I love Origin. Yes, it can be inconsistent. It can be noisy and over-crowded. But all in all, the atmosphere inside, the patio outside, and the better than average tapas make it worthwhile.