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Bestellen

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LexiFirefly Mar 3, 2012 05:11 AM

Bestellen opened (finally) last night. Anyone got plans to go? Was anyone else there? They didn't even announce it and it was RAMMED! Great cocktails that made the opening night jitters ok in my book!

  1. hal2010 Dec 29, 2013 08:52 PM

    We went tonight and had a very good meal and service. Asked the waiter to pair wine and beer with the dishes we ordered and his selections were excellent.

    Good charcuterie board with a duck rllette, shredded spanish ham with chilis, a dry sliced beef and really good pickles.
    The burger was juicy, cooked the way we asked and came with nice frites.
    Lamb shank was fall-off-the bone with Yorkshire pudding and a rich gravy.
    Excellent top sirloin, very well aged.

    Small but intense deserts. Homemade ice cream and a chocolate pudding with creme fraiche, crumbled macarons and salted caramel.

    The menu is small but well thought out. Everything is beautifully seasoned and the flavours are intense.

    $200 for 4 with wine and beer, tax and tip.

    14 Replies
    1. re: hal2010
      1sweetpea Jan 28, 2014 09:25 AM

      Four of us went Friday night and enjoyed the food and service. Moroccan charred octopus, brown butter and walnut scallops, pasta with pig tail ragu, duck breast and butcher's cut (rib steak served with the bone, 2 bone marrow pieces and 2 sides) were all delicious. The only missteps for me were the 2 sides, which were honeyed parsnips and onions and cider braised cabbage. Both were candy sweet, which was not unexpected. Our issue was simply that the only way to have 2 vegetable sides (to atone for the meat fest) other than a green salad was to opt for the parsnips and cabbage. We love both vegetables, but it would have been better if one was more savoury.

      Another quibble was the $20 charge for fizzy Qwater. I don't mind paying for the water, but 2 1L bottles at $10ea.? Guess I should have asked the price before agreeing to it. We spent plenty, especially with 5 individual drinks and a bottle of wine. I kinda feel like a single $10 charge for the water would have been adequate, with the refill comped.

      1. re: 1sweetpea
        l
        LexiFirefly Jan 28, 2014 10:19 AM

        That Q water charge is brutal. I thought the $2.50 per person was weird but $10 a bottle is ridiculous.

        1. re: LexiFirefly
          b
          bytepusher Jan 28, 2014 11:03 AM

          Have they changed the pricing for Q water? It used to say $2.50 per person on the brunch menu but but now it just says $2.50. If they are charging for $2.50 for every 250ml glass of Q water now, then my response to that can't be repeated on a family website.

          1. re: bytepusher
            l
            LexiFirefly Jan 28, 2014 11:40 AM

            I haven't been in a while, so I'm not sure. But to charge $10 a bottle for fancy tap water is ridiculous.

            1. re: LexiFirefly
              1sweetpea Jan 28, 2014 12:06 PM

              I guess they're technically charging $2.50 per person, per glass. 2L equals 2 glasses per person, based on a table for 4. I realize that it's a large investment to implement the Qwater program, but come on!!!

              I'd like to see establishments either make the charge more nominal OR charge the full amount only if a table orders just snacks or desserts. With apps, drinks, wine with the entrees and even a dessert, our bill was plenty high without the $20 Q-charge. Guess I should have stuck with tap water.

              1. re: 1sweetpea
                b
                bytepusher Jan 28, 2014 12:15 PM

                The policy everywhere (including past visits to Bestellen) I've been to date has been $2.50 (or $3.50) per person with unlimited refills. Nucking futs for still water but not unreasonable for sparkling.

                $2.50 per person without any refills I've never seen before and it seems excessive....

                1. re: bytepusher
                  1sweetpea Jan 29, 2014 06:21 AM

                  I don't live in Toronto at the moment, but visit regularly. I really don't mind a nominal water charge, especially for sparkling filtered tap, but I hate asking, in front of table mates, how much that charge will be. I think restaurants are aware of the awkwardness surrounding water charges and bank on a customer's reluctance to ask in advance. It's tacky. I'm positive that the Qwater system is a moneymaker for many restaurants, when it should really just be a nominally priced element of service and care that elevates one restaurant beyond another. Why not simply post the restaurant's Qwater prices in small print somewhere on the menu?

                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                    y
                    ylsf Jan 29, 2014 06:39 AM

                    Agree 100% . Stuff like this makes me not want to go to certain places when they "hide" water charges. For example, Stock at the Trump Hotel.

                    I expect free water if it doesn't say on the menu what the charge is and I am asked if I would like water. I usually will say specifically "tap" water but still if I place offers it and it isn't on the menu I would say they shouldn't charge such a huge premium.

                    1. re: ylsf
                      s
                      sufficientlybuttered Jan 30, 2014 02:41 PM

                      If you read the qwater.ca website it advertises:

                      Benefits to Consumers: Less costs(than local or imported bottles), Great taste and a Healthier Product.

                      I'm pretty sure 2 litres of Perrier, Gerolsteiner, or San Pellegrino runs about $3.00 wholesale and with standard markup, usually runs about $13.00 taxes in.

                      1. re: sufficientlybuttered
                        b
                        bytepusher Jan 30, 2014 07:22 PM

                        Q water is a great alternative to bottled water, especially imported stuff, still or sparkling, cheaper (usually) and greener.

                        Q water is a lousy alternative to good old Toronto tap, costly, wasteful and annoying,

                        1. re: bytepusher
                          hal2010 Jan 30, 2014 08:08 PM

                          Sounds like beer is cheaper, and more fun!

                          1. re: bytepusher
                            s
                            sufficientlybuttered Jan 31, 2014 07:00 AM

                            Yes, Toronto tap water is "award winningly" pure.

                            http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/04/...

                            1. re: sufficientlybuttered
                              hal2010 Jan 31, 2014 07:39 AM

                              Perhaps, but in August it starts to taste like dead fish when all the algae blooms in Lake Ontario.

                              1. re: hal2010
                                justxpete Feb 3, 2014 10:29 AM

                                I'll take the bottle of spring water, thank you very much.

                                http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115883/drugs-drinking-water-new-epa-study-finds-more-we-knew

                                http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/emerging/info_sheet_pharmaceuticals/en/

                                http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/drugs-in-our-drinking-water

                                http://www.ec.gc.ca/inre-nwri/default...

      2. h
        hungryabbey Aug 1, 2012 06:43 PM

        Went last night with 3 others.
        The room is much larger than it appears from outside. There is a fair bit of seating in the front, a large bar, and another large dining room towards the kitchen. I liked the meat aging refrigerator, as it helped break up the massive space and was interesting enough to view.
        Service was a little blasé . Our server was kind, but didn't really have much personality. He also forget to either order or bring the oysters we had ordered (I may have been the only one who noticed this, and I think after apps we were already getting full, so I didn't bother bringing it up).
        But onto food + drink... Bestellen has an extensive list of Bourbons, and a pretty delicious looking cocktail list. We enjoyed a few glasses of wine, a Mint Julep and for me, a cucumber and lime flavoured cocktail called the Scarlet (very good).
        We decided to start with a variety of small plates and then move on from there. We tried:
        Fried Zucchini Blossoms- These were super crispy and tasted like biting into crispy air (in the best way possible). Even though I do tend to like salty foods, I did find them to be a bit oversalted after the Parmesan got factored into the mix, to the point that if I closed by eyes I might mistake the flower for a super salty potato chip (a good one, though).
        Farinata, Rosemary, and Sea Salt- Farinata is like an unleavened pancake made out of chickpea flour, and this one was seasoned with Mediterranean flavours. It kind of reminded me of polenta, but with a more eggy-custardly consistency. It was interesting, but I probably wouldn't order it again as I found it to be a little bland and underseasoned (in contrast to the aforementioned blossoms).
        Arancini, Ontario Corn, and Taleggio- These too were good but not great. The menu listed corn, but I couldn't detect the flavour or texture anywhere. Even aside from the corn issue, while the risotto (and cheesy filling) was delicious and well seasoned, the exterior of the ball wasn't crispy. It was kind of disappointing because what I love so much about arancini is the juxtaposition of the super creamy soft center and the crunch attack going on outside. It just didn't quite come together for me on this one.
        Romano Beans, Tomatoes and Basil- These were simple, rustic and delicious. The beans were cooked and seasoned perfectly, sweetened with delicious tomatoes, and refreshed with the nice bright flavour of basil. Definitely a favourite dish, and something I might try to whip up at home.
        Heirloom Carrots and Walnuts- This one was just okay for me. The carrots were perfectly cooked (which I find a lot of restaurants can't achieve), but the dish lacked flavour. It could have really benefited from some acid, or sugar, or chili or even some salt.
        Charcuterie, Pickles, Mustard and Grilled Bread- A nice simple charcuterie board, but nothing I haven't tasted elsewhere. I did like the sweet and sour pickles, though, especially the radish.
        Grilled Ontario Peaches, Mache Lettuce, Mascarpone, Almond, Basil- Now this was a stand out dish. The sweet mascarpone provided a lusciously smooth foundation for anchoring the rest of the dish. It's inherent buttery texture was perfectly complemented by the delicate mache greens and the tender grilled peach. All of those dainty textures and mildly sweet flavours were nicely balanced by a dusting of savoury ground almond, and the herbacious element of basil. A really delicious summer salad, and definitely something I would try again.
        Smoked Bratwurst, Yukon Potato Dumpling, Mustard, Apple- Another excellent dish. The sausage was impossibly juicy and had big bold flavours, as its fat was nicely tempered by the acidic and sweet apple. Although I found that the sausage was maybe a bit too abrasive for the delicate dumplings, their flavour and texture were superb. They were soft, and cushiony and perfectly seasoned. I was pleased that the mustard was not too pungent and excessive in portion, as it would have otherwise overwhelmed the dumplings. And I really enjoyed the mild peppery bite of the mustard greens.
        Bestellen Burger, Caramelized Onions, Raclette, House-made Brioche, Frites- Definitely a great burger. It was juicy and meaty, with a perfect amount of sweet and tangy onions to cut the richness. The frites were also great- super crispy, well seasoned and served with a spicy tomato ketchup.
        Seared Branzino, Smoked Potato Puree, Shishito Pepper Caponata x 2- I thought that this was pretty small portion considering the size of the burger (and the fact that the Bratwurst was probably bigger and was listed as an appetizer). And while we all agreed that they went a little heavy handed on the salt, the fish was cooked nicely, the potatoes were smooth and hearty, and the sweet and tangy caponata was big on flavour.
        Funnel Cake with Pistachio Crumble, Whipped Cream, Stewed Plums and Raspberries- For something as inherently delicious as funnel cake, I was semi disappointed. The cake itself didn't have any of those really delicious crispy bits, and the batter tasted a little bit bland. The whipped cream and pistachio crumble were both on the savoury side, and I felt that the few plums and berries were not really sweet enough to leverage the rest of the flavours. While it may not have been as elegant, I think this definitely could have benefited from some type of couli, sweet sauce, or even some dusted powdered sugar.
        Upside Down Peach Cake- Peach Half on Vanilla Cake, with Browned Butter Caramel, Elderflower Berry Couli, and Cream Anglaise- This dessert was probably better, but could have still used a bit of work. I loved the browned butter caramel, but could have maybe used more of it to balance the slightly bitter, herbacious quality of the elderflower berries. And while the peach was gorgeously tender, juicy and sweet, I found the cake below to be a little dry. In general, a good dessert but not great.
        So I never got my hands on the bill to see what all went down. However, from looking at menu prices, I think it's all pretty fair. While Bestellen is not really close to home for me, I would consider returning as the menu evolves and the kitchen and staff continue to work out some consistency kinks.

        www.abbeyskitchen.com

        1. atomeyes Jun 23, 2012 07:12 AM

          we went last night.

          strip loin aged for 40 days? sign me up.
          the steak was by far one of the best steaks I've had. ever.
          there was a beautiful ribbon of fat on the side of the steak. it melted in my mouth like salted butter.

          i had the roman gnocchi as my side. its pretty much polenta, but it was an amazing side dish to the steak.

          we started the evening off with the duck tacos (perfectly smoked, nice and spicy) and the charcuterie board (surprisingly well executed. would have been nice to have some grainy mustard or something with the meat).

          we also had the steak tartare, which was a very nice and subtle take on a classic.

          my wife had the scallops as her "main" (she was pretty full) and she liked them a lot.

          no room for dessert.

          i'd ignore any scathing reviews. we watched the table near us get the whole suckling pig. it looked amazing.
          Bestellen should be a carnivore's delight. if you want a steak, hit it up.

          my only complaint would be our server. it would be nice to have someone that was less a "bro" and more friendly/professional

          1. i
            igk May 6, 2012 01:34 PM

            went last night for the first time - wow, great burger!
            grilled octopus and steak tartare were fantastic.
            really enjoyed our meal and would definitely go again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: igk
              kwass May 6, 2012 01:43 PM

              I'm so glad that you had such a great experience. The Toronto Star just wrote a scathing review of this restaurant, and now I'm reluctant to try it.

              1. re: kwass
                w
                Wino In Training May 7, 2012 11:29 AM

                Bah, ignore the review. I had the tartare and octopus split with a friend, and the 10-oz tenderloin. Very nicely aged, cooked perfectly and the flavour was very intense (the aging!). For 31 bucks with one side dish, THAT is a great steak.

            2. c
              capiscum Apr 11, 2012 04:35 PM

              Went with four people last weekend. The steak was amazing. The atmos was ok. The service was wretched.

              Upon sitting down, we were told by our waiter that the menu was "designed for sharing." He then proceeded to tell us, over and over and over, that everything we ordered wouldn't be enough for four people. All night we had to endure a really pushy, hard sell, as though he was calculating his tip every time one of us opened our mouths with a question or order.

              For apps, we had a fish cake barely the size of a hockey puck. Price aside (it was $13) it was absolutely not designed for sharing. No recollection of the taste, because we split it four ways, kind of to spite the waiter. A half-dozen Malpeques were fresh and good, the hot sauce served with it was meh.

              We decided to share the $98 cote de boeuf, which the waiter informed us would only be enough for three of us. It came with two sides - when we chose the buttermilk coleslaw and rapini with house sausage, he announced that he was ordering us mashed potatoes, as well. We turned him down and said that we'd order more if we wanted it later.

              The beef, which is dry-aged in a glass-walled room that you can check out on your way in, was gorgeous, a generous 32 oz of medium-rare meat heaven. The flesh was soft and toothsome, the rosemary-flecked crust was salty in the best way possible, the bits near the bone were chewy and wonderful. The sides were decently sized and good, too. We spent a good chunk of time enjoying the meal at this point and ended up very, very full. This is when we realized that the problem wasn't so much the menu as the server.

              The cocktails were delicious and right on trend - bourbon, bitters, mezcal, etc. Perhaps $1 or $2 too pricey for the size. Nice beer selection. I didn't really notice the wines, I was in a cocktail mood. We didn't order dessert, because we were full, and also Waiter Boy kept pushing us to get two orders of hot cross buns. The room is loud, which is fine if you know that's what you're getting into. The seating in the back is a bit short for the tables, I felt like a nine-year-old.

              All in all, it's worth a trip for some excellent steak, but the effort of being firm with the up-selly service did reduce our enjoyment quite a bit. Also, whoever's idea it was to say the menu is "designed for sharing" needs to knock it off. IMO, they should kill the fussy appetizers, put a good Caesar salad on the menu and concentrate on being a quality modern steakhouse.

              1. atomeyes Apr 9, 2012 10:57 AM

                hitting it in a few weeks. its steak tartare's on my to-do list.

                1. h
                  hungryabbey Apr 8, 2012 03:53 PM

                  How was the food?
                  anyone else been?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hungryabbey
                    kwass Apr 8, 2012 05:41 PM

                    I'd also be curious to know. It's on my list to of restaurants to try.

                    1. re: hungryabbey
                      l
                      LexiFirefly Apr 9, 2012 05:46 AM

                      The food was good. It was opening night so I just had appies and drinks. I'm going for a full on dinner either tonight or next sunday. I'll report back!

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