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Restaurant Chantecler - Parkdale

  • y

Anyone been to this place?

Walked by it tonight, looked busy, checked out the menu tonight at home. Not very extensive but looks like some interesting dishes.

So many new places in Toronto, hard for me to keep up! I tried searching for reviews on here but didn't see anything. Seems generally positive on Urbanspoon -

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  1. Been hearing good things, haven't been yet

    They just started taking reservations

    1. It's good stuff! I've been and been meaning to post.

      1. Had a chance to finally check this place out on Friday night with two friends. We didn't have a reso and it was 830 on a Friday night yet they made room for us at the bar.

        The service was friendly and well informed. The drinks were tasty and average in terms of price point. We had a total of six dishes between the three of us and all were rather lovely but IMO the zucchini blossoms and corn dish was AMAZING. I would go back just for that dish again. It was balanced, a beautiful, seasoned well and had a great variety of texture and mouth feel. IIRC it was $12 and it was worth every penny.

        With two dishes and three dished each our bill was $75 pp including tax and tip.

        As we were leaving the server called us back to give a wee digestif.

        This is a lovely local spot and I wish them all the best. I'm sure I'll be back soon.

        1. Finally!

          I enjoyed the smoked duck (top dish), especially with those delicious marinated mushrooms and the creaminess & crunchy texture from the toasted hazelnuts. The chicken consomme (bottom two photos) with poached hen egg, smoked hen, & confit mushroom had a very strong broth. The intensity reminded me of my mother’s chicken soup. Very yummy and rich, with smoky elements and lovely green freshness from the cilantro.

          The halibut cheek (left) was good and I enjoyed the melding of flavours. I thought it a shade over-cooked, but I’m nit-picking. Though I could do without the grapefruit, I thought the curls of ramps(?) went really well with the cheek. The gnocchi (right) was so good. So. Good. Great creamy mushroom flavours on the tongue. Another favourite was the agnolotti (not pictured). It was really nice with the pine nuts and the sweetness of the carrots and creamy spinach filling. We had also ordered their titular chicken, and the smells when it was being cooked were phenomenal.

          Another favourite: the polenta. It ate almost like congee and had a delicious mushroom ragu on top. The flavour on the ragu somehow reminded me of pork flosss. This is a future re-order.
          For dessert, the panna Cotta, with bitter almond, tapioca, & osmanthus syrup. Done up very much like the Chinese almond jello dessert, but trading the canned fruit for rhubarb. Really lovely and light and refreshing.

          Lettuce Sundays at Chantecler are pretty awesome. For $19 you get a pile of delicious meat sided with lettuce, rice, house-made pickles, and condiments. Not to mention the interesting sides that you can supplement your meal with. Like that phenomenal cold fried chicken. Worth a visit some Sunday soon.

          Many of Chef Poon’s palate-pleasing dishes have a familiar Cantonese thread woven through them, yet I wouldn’t call anything truly Cantonese – or even Asian. And more importantly, it’s been done well. To me, Chantecler is one of those really comfortable places to have a meal. I don’t mean plush seating and smoking jackets, but the space exudes the feeling of someone’s home, albeit a really nice one. And the delicious foods match that sensibility.

          Intro babble and photos: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2012/10/10/ch...

          18 Replies
          1. re: jlunar

            I need to go there soon and stuff my fridge. (stomach)

            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

              Oh my, are you angling to get quoted again? You're on a roll.

            2. re: jlunar

              love this! It seems most of these dishes are no longer on the menu though. Wish I could try the halibut cheeks, love their texture. Almost like chicken and scallops combined. I'm definitely making a visit this week. Will also try daisho so I can compare with lettuce wrap sunday.

              1. re: brushfire

                Yes, I'm back-posting pretty hard these days. So much to catch up on!

                1. re: jlunar

                  i ate here last night and had a phenomenal meal. we had everything on the current menu, and i was basically floored the whole way through. highlights included the fish and mushrooms dish, the potato apple egg dish, and the sea buckthorn dessert, although honestly everything on the menu was executed really, really well. the beef tartare with nori and wasabi-y sauce was an unexpected hit with a couple guys who don't usually like tartare. oh yeah and the tuna/bean salad dish absolutely killed it. fish done in an immersion circulator and cooked perfectly. literally the only shortcoming was, i thought, the pork dish, but only when the pork was tasted on its own - it was a bit flavourless, but combined with the rest of the elements in that dish (lettuce/xo sauce/oyster i think?) it was actually a knockout. portions were perfect for sharing amongst the 3 of us and with a couple beers (and $3 shots of soju for some reason) by the end i was definitely feeling a little hazy. also worth noting is the service, everybody knew what they were talking about and were happy to answer questions about ingredients and preparations (although one of the benefits of our table was being able to watch everything in action), and plates were gone in an appropriate time and water was never low. dude even crumbed the table at one point, i was impressed haha. it's also one of the most comfortable rooms i've ever eaten it, just really warm and inviting, although we were there for like 2 1/2 hours and my ass was kinda sore by the end thanks to the not entirely comfortable chairs haha.

                  1. re: disgusti

                    LOL, totally agree about the chairs & stools!

                    1. re: brushfire

                      Well I went tonight for lettuce sundays and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to all on this thread for giving me the impetus to finally go!

                      Started off with the salt baked shrimp with szechuan pepper, five spice- very tasty and crispy though was hoping for more of a numbing sensation as advertised. Still a great dish, I'd easily order this one again. Also received the crispy soggy calamari on the house as they initially messed up my order on the shrimp. Savory, sweet tamarind sauce with garlic, but as someone else mentioned above perhaps a touch oversauced. For the main event, I found the portion to be very generous and I would have to agree that while both meats were tender, I preferred the pork. It was smokey and sweet while I found the black beans were rather muted in the beef portion. Finished off with almond tofu dessert, a trucked up version of do fu hwa, nothing too special. Service was helpful and very friendly. I'll be back for more in the future!

                      1. re: deabot

                        I was there as well tonight and had the exact same things! Crazy eh? :D
                        Fun dinner,very tasty good service,dessert was the only low point for me,not terrible just kind of meh..
                        A good time was had by all.

                        1. re: petek

                          Yeah dessert was just ok, was looking forward to the sundae. Ah well. :) Maybe next time.

                          1. re: deabot

                            "was looking forward to the sundae."
                            So was I! hope that wasn't the the $10.00 "sundae funday" that we sampled.

                          2. re: petek

                            tried to go tonight at 6:30, but was told next table for 4 won't be avail till 9:30.

                            didn't know they did resos for lettuce sundays, my fault. Ended up at grand electric, still a good meal.

                            next time....

                            1. re: aser

                              I was suprised(and happy) that they took resos.There was a larger party there that probably killed any chance of a walk in.
                              Grand Electric was rammed solid when we walkd by around 8ish..

                          3. re: deabot

                            What was in the almond tofu dessert? I'm very curious, really want to try it. Another person also mentioned the black bean in the beef but the boys from Chantecler wrote in a post that was deleted by admin saying that it's fermented bean paste and not fermented black bean. I'll have to google that one up to see what that actually means....

                              1. re: brushfire

                                Ahh that makes sense. Thanks for filling in the blank brushfire!

                                1. re: deabot

                                  I've had almond tofu dessert before at chinese restaurants. They came in cubes, slightly sweet in a syrup of what I thought was canned fruits? Is it the same at Chantecler?

                                  1. re: brushfire

                                    Yup. This one wasn't broken up more like a tofu panna cotta with the almond syrup. Refreshing but not exactly wow.

                                    I'm still thinking about those gulf shrimp.

                                    1. re: deabot

                                      Ya, those shrimp were mighty tasty,could have knocked back about a dozen of those fur sure.

                    2. Went on Saturday night for our 8:15 reservation and were greeted and shown to our seats at the bar. I personally really like sitting at the bar but I think its worth mentioning that when I made the reservation, I was not informed or asked about being sat at the bar rather than a table (which are very few, by the way). I know some people may not want a reservation if they knew they couldn't sit at a table, so if you are one of those people, make sure you do request and inquire about where they intend to place you!
                      Service was incredibly friendly, casual, professional, and attentive. Cutlery was promptly positioned and removed between courses, dishes were adequately described, courses arrived promptly and appropriately spaced, and most importantly, sassy smiles were passed around like share-plates. It was just an all around good experience.

                      We started with a couple of cocktails. For him the Buckwheat Julep (Buckwheat infused Bourbon, Mint and Bitters) and for me the Gin and Grapefruit Tonic (Bombay Sapphire, House Tonic, Grapefruit). The Julep had an lovely nutty fragrance livened up by the fresh mint, and the tonic was a perfect balance of bright acidity and mild sweet tonic. Loved this.

                      So the way the food works at Chantecler (for the regular, non-Lettuce Sundays menu) is that the dishes are meant (or at least encouraged) to be shared. They arrive one my one, in an order deemed appropriate by the chef based on flavour progressions, rather than the strict appetizer- main type orientation. We tried:

                      Smoked Duck Breast with Beet, Peanut and Mustard Green- A solid dish. I think we were expending a cooked breast, but regardless it was tasty. I loved the smokiness of the charcuterie against the sweet, mildly acidic flavour of the beet.

                      New Potato with Pork Jowl, Jalapeno, Apple and Quail Egg- Probably the better of the two appetizers. The pork was rich and fatty, but not chewy or unpleasant. The soft poached quail eggs burst effortlessly to produce a rich and decadent sauce. With all of this fattiness on the plate, I was grateful for the kick of heat from the jalapeno, and the sweetness and acidity lent by the crispy apple slices.

                      Pacific Cod with King Oyster, Celeriac, and Matsutake- By far the best savoury dish of the night. It was easily one of the best dishes I have had this year. The mushrooms lent a gorgeous earthy note, lending a satisfying supple texture. In contrast, the celeriac had been pureed and then expelled from an aerator to create a light, mildly sweet and slightly nutty air. The star of the dish, however, was the perfectly cooked cod, garnished with a dusting of buttery salty breadcrumbs reminiscent of crushed potato chips.

                      Pork Neck with Kusshi Oyster, Lettuce and XO Sauce- We deemed this dish "The Ultimate Kosher Feast". All jokes aside, it was pretty damn good. The oyster lent an interesting textural juxtaposition against the super crispy skin of the pork, and the XO sauce (a Chinese sauce traditionally made of dried seafood, chili, garlic, sometimes ham etc) offered a nice salty hit. My only criticism was that the wilted lettuce kind of threw me off my enjoyment-game. While I normally love cooked lettuce, the texture (kind of like chewing on a rubber band) kind of masked the tenderness of the pork, and made it taste a little overcooked. When eaten separately (as I quickly learned to do), the dish was spot on.

                      Sea Buckthorn Parfait with Meringue and Almond Praline- Well, let me just say that Chantecler knows how to do dessert. When I read their menu online, I honestly wasn't too enthused by the dessert offerings, and ordinarily, that's enough to deter me from a restaurant. Am I ever glad I gave it a shot because this dish was absolutely killer. Sea Buckthorn (so I learned) is a sour berry that the chef pureed into a thick sauce, mixed it with a few tiny droplets of orange blossom puree, topped with a silky and fluffy soft meringue, and dusted it with crushed almond praline. The result was a masterpiece of texture and flavour. The smoothness of the puree was pleasantly interrupted with little pops of fragrant jelly. Both of these components offered a satisfying tart base note, tempered by the mildly sweet meringue and the nutty crunchy candy garnish. My partner (who actually dislikes desserts) actually licked the bowl- like tongue in goblet- I wish I got a picture.

                      Ice Cream with Buckwheat, Plum and Shortbread- Another flawless offering. Just looking at the picture is making me weep. Served very cold, the ice cream had a distinct savoury element that I can only describe as a less sweet, more refined version of peanut butter. The shortbread cookie crumbs held their shape, and along with a generous garnish of candy shards, provided the sweet to complement the Buckwheat's earthy undertones. The plum, cooked sous vide in nothing more than a little sugar brought a refreshing element of acidity to the plate. While we refrained from using tongue, this plate also got cleaned pretty good.

                      So following dinner, the bartender graciously offered us up a complementary dessert shot, featuring Amaro, Bourbon and Bitters. I was a bit apprehensive (I never bring a shot glass to my lips without at least a little reflection), but it proved to be delicious. Like the bartender said, just sweet enough for the lady.

                      So after 2 apps, 2 mains, 2 desserts, sparkling water, 3 cocktails, 2 cappuccinos, I think the bill was about $160 including tax and tip. An excellent meal considering the quality. I would however say, that if you arrive hungry (like we did), then you may want to order another dish, as we both left a wee-bit peckish. Regardless, it was one of the better meals I've had lately, making me incredibly interested in checking out their Lettuce Sundays before it's popularity explodes.
                      Thanks for the heads up CH!

                      Pictures here http://abbeyskitchenblog.blogspot.ca/...

                      1. does anyone know if they can accomodate a group of 10+ people? saturday night? does anyone have experience with large groups? do they offer something like lettuce sundays on "regular" nights? a big group of us really want to go and don't mind sharing family style.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: msprnt

                          They're not really that big and 10 would fit in their front window.

                          However, I would give them a call with your other questions since we could speculate, but you'd have to call to book anyway. Might as well get it from the horse's mouth!

                          1. re: jlunar

                            you're spot on with the 10 in the front window! we got in contact with the restaurant and they said they can fit 10 there along with 6 at a table nearby.

                            they offered prix fixe in the $45-$65 range, which seems reasonable ..... but i'm not sure if everyone in the group is up for that. we'll have to find out what's on offer and discuss.

                            1. re: msprnt

                              oh my...just got back from an amazing lettuce wrap dinner. we had two lettuce dinners and all the sides except the oysters (just didn't seem to fit with everything else) for four of us. all the braised meats were tender to perfection with a great balance from the pickled veg and sriracha etc. 2 drinks each (mix of great cocktails, wine and beer) and the bill came to just over $200 with tip included. tough to beat that. the place was a bit of food celebrity haunt tonight due to soupstock (chefs from charcut, parts and labour, stone road grill along with some other industry personnel)

                              1. re: downtownfoodie

                                I also tried the lettuce wrap dinner with some friends last night, at another table. Sounds like we were in the restaurant at the same time, downtownfoodie.

                                My favourite dish was the crispy soggy calamari, which I thought was an amped-up squid answer to Alberta-style ginger beef. Some of my friends thought it was too sour, or too close to sweet & sour, but I like most forms of sweet & sour, so it worked for me.

                                The braised meats were tender- I preferred the beef to the pork. I wish they offered their Sunday Funday sundae, topped with Fruit Loops, Captain Crunch, Amarena cherries, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, banana. I would've been more heavy-handed with the toppings, especially the sauces.

                                I thought the music was ridiculously loud for a Sunday evening, while people are eating dinner. The DJ wasn't supposed to start until 10 pm, according to Twitter, but the music was very loud by 8 pm. Maybe the DJ was eager and started early? I'm getting too old for not being able to converse with the person sitting 18 inches away from me. It actually detracts from my experience, if I have to get up from my seat, to walk over to my friend who is sitting across from me, so I can hear what she said.


                                1. re: prima

                                  There's a DJ that plays!? I must have went way too early last time then...! Or maybe a new development...

                                  1. re: jlunar

                                    Maybe the DJ was just for last night, since some people were tweeting about Chantecler being the after-after-party for Soupstock? I don't know.

                                    Looks like they're gunning to be the industry night "it spot", keeping their kitchen open until 1 am on Sundays, when they close their kitchen at 12 am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 11 pm on Wednesdays.

                        2. Tried the lettuce wrap sunday yesterday with a bunch of friends, accomodated 10 of us on the table by the front window.

                          Lots of fun - the meats are moist and excellent, I do prefer the pork there to Momofuku Daishos version. The shrimp with numbing salt was delicious as was the crispy, soggy calamari (although that cant hold a candle to Grand Electrics Spicy Squid.)

                          They were very quick with the lettuce refills, unlike Momofuku, which is much appreciated. Overall an incredibly fun night filled with great food, labatt 50 and good friends. Loving the large format dining right now.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: themiguel

                            Were you dining with a Labatts rep?

                            1. re: prima

                              Hah no, I just genuinely like that beer.

                              1. re: themiguel


                                Chantecler also makes some tasty cocktails. The bartender made me a custom-order mocktail that was delicious.

                                Looks like I'll have to try Grand Electric's spicy squid one of these days.

                                1. re: prima

                                  I liked grand electric's squid but preferred chantecler's tamarind squid

                              2. re: prima

                                ha, funniest comment I have seen all day... :)

                              3. re: themiguel

                                how much was your meal (food only) roughly for 10? Just trying to compare price vs momofuku

                                1. re: szw

                                  Sorry as it was my birthday, I was treated to the dinner so I barely looked at the price. I do know that one order of $19.95 is enough for two people, and all the added specials we ordered were around $10. There was a lot of wine and cocktails being consumed (my manhattan was pretty decent) so the bill came out to around $80 per person all in but I actually had 9 people not ten.

                                  1. re: themiguel

                                    Haha I was sitting next to you guys on the communal table.

                                    My god were they packed! Went in at 10:30 for two of us and we waited half an hour before we could get a table. After we got a table at 11 people still kept coming in and the restaurant was completely packed on a Sunday night!!

                                    We had the noodle special, which was from their guest chef Neil, and the noodle was a "dam dam" noodle: thick wheat noodle smothered in ground pork oyster and peanut sauce. Very delicious although the noodles were a bit undercooked. Then we had one order of the lettuce wrap, a side of XO sauce and pork neck. The XO sauce was amazing, even at $5 for a tiny saucer it was well worth it. Pork neck was really tender, most places cook it rather tough. And the lettuce wrap combo is A LOT of food for $19, the two of us couldn't even touch the bowl of rice. But then again this was dinner #2.

                              4. apparently, there will be a series of tasting menus instead of the a la carte meny starting in the new year? http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

                                1. went for dinner last Friday - we made the reso on the day of and they were able to accommodate two of us between 7:30-9. we didn't think we would be there past 9 but ended up staying till 9:30. we weren't rushed by the servers and they kindly offered us another glass of wine and dessert past 9pm.

                                  we started with fish wrap, veg noodle salad and spicy shrimp. the cod for fish wrap was so moist and delicious, although i didn't particularly think that it had a very unique flavour. perhaps i thought so because i had it without cilantro (personal preference). we were gonna go for something else then saw someone havnig veg noodle salad so we had to try. the potato noodle looks like glass noodle parpadelle, and had good flavours, so that was a nice surprise. spicy shrimp was crispy and peppery. wish i also tried the squid... well, next time.

                                  then we moved onto the main course which was the lettuce meal. the portion was great - we ran out of lettuce / other leafy things towards 2/3 of the way and they refilled our basket without us having to chase down someone for it. the meats... super moist, melt in your mouth. the marinade is really great. i was surprised by their kimchi - i'm korean and picky with kimchi. well executed, authentic flavours yet not that sour so that most people could try and not feel appauled.

                                  we finished with an ice cream dessert which was not super special per se, but kept us content.

                                  not sure what the bill came up to because SO grabbed it, but in general i felt that it was quite well priced for the scrumptious food. i think the beer that my SO had and the 3 glasses of wine that i had (oops) probably cost almost the same as all the food we had...

                                  i'll definitely go back to try calamari, beef tartar and spicy popcorn chicken (the table next to us had a basket and looked popcorn-y). good stuff!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: exquisite

                                    This may have been mentioned already, sorry if it has, but what meats do they use for the lettuce wraps?

                                    1. re: kwass

                                      the night i went, they gave me braised beef loin and pork shoulder

                                      1. re: meatnveg

                                        Ok. Thanks. I was just wondering if it was all meat or if there was a chicken or duck option.

                                        1. re: kwass

                                          Duck is Monday. Might be more than $21?

                                          1. re: MissBingBing

                                            Mmmm...that's wonderful!! Thanks MissBingBing :)

                                  2. Worth the hype.

                                    We went the other night and ordered from the regular menu. Given the overall quality, I would like to do their tasting menu at some point.

                                    Not much new to say. Service was engaging, passionate and flawless. Interesting cocktail list made with care, a well chosen draught and cask beer, and a larger wine list than one would expect for a restaurant this size.

                                    The room is small but warm and inviting. All the seats are either at large tables or bar seats. The two best seats, in my mind, are right in front of the chefs. The food is inventive and well executed, enough to make it difficult to replicate at home. Flavours from five spice, smoke, or with pickles were complex and deep without being in your face. Attention was paid to various textures and all food came out piping hot.

                                    We ordered too much food, had two beer and two cocktails, and the bill was $60 pp before tip. An absolute gift considering this was better than most Michelin one stars I've been to. Highly recommended.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: kwass

                                        Fish wrap, popcorn chicken, noodle salad, lettuce meal, duck leg, and sundae. This was shared by the two of us. We liked everything, no duds.

                                    1. So, after having posted this thread more than a year ago I am finally going on Friday for the tasting menu.

                                      An offer for CHers, I booked a table for 4 but turns out only another friend wants to join based on budget/etc. So, before I change my reservation to two people tomorrow if there is a couple that wants to join and you are a regular poster on CH or I have met before you can contact me via my e-mail in my profile. Please don't post about it here because I think it might be against the CH rules. You need to be 100% sure you can come though because they charge a 50% amount per person for no shows. Reservation at 6:30pm. I was told the meal cost would be from $85 to $90 ish per person. If you want more details use my e-mail. This offer stands until tonight, otherwise I am calling tomorrow to change the reservation.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: ylsf

                                        just to sweeten your pot:
                                        there's usually a month wait for the tasting menu. seats are limited.
                                        and i STRONGLY suggest you do the wine tasting menu along with it. and do not drive. they will give you a ridiculous amount of hard-to-get wines.

                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                          Thanks for the wine tasting menu info.

                                          Anyone know approximately how much time should figure in for the tasting menu? 2 hours enough? Making some plans for later in the evening.


                                          1. re: ylsf

                                            I was told to allow 2.5 hours for the tasting menu.

                                            I have a reservation at Chantecler this Friday as well, but after you at 9pm. I was offered 6:30 or 9 when I booked - I think they do 2 seatings a night.

                                            Hope that helps. Excited about the meal :)

                                            1. re: ylsf

                                              Yeah ,so jealous of both of you. I tried to get a reservation for tasting this month but had no luck, going to check out actinolite instead...Wished I could make it this friday. Hope you enjoy your meal and do report back!

                                              Anyone else check out their lunch yet? It's wonderful! I cant wait to go back ASAP!

                                          2. re: ylsf

                                            Hope you found some CHs to join you. I'm jealous of your pending dinner. Chantecler was one of my favourite meals this year.

                                          3. Has anyone been to the tasting lately? What are they serving these days? Any photos?

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: brushfire

                                              We went for our anniversary celebration tonight but they completely forgot about it. We were made to sit at the bar for 2.5 hours, not the most comfortable or romantic experience. The place was really loud which made it difficult to hear what our server had to say about each course. The food did not wow us at all neither was it riding high on creativity. Perhaps I had the wrong expectations after having a fantastic experience with asian fusion tasting at Shoto. We paid 85 CAD per person plus the bar bill for 2 cocktails. The cocktails were sub-par as well. Overall, a very disappointing experience for what it's worth and so overhyped. Spend your money somewhere else !!!

                                              1. re: amolpan

                                                you're in the minority and likely chose the wrong place.

                                                i've been there for my anniversary as well and was thrilled to sit at the bar (or in front of the prep station).

                                                the music is never THAT loud. and trust me, since i eat there once a month, it really isn't loud. the last time i was there, i took my parents, who are in their 70. they didn't complain about the music.

                                                cocktails: i'll give you that. other than 1 cocktail i love, i find their cocktails to be good, not great. but their wine list is excellent and the fact that they have 1 beer on cask is also remarkable.

                                                i think that you miss the boat on calling their food asian fusion. fusion is such a broad (and dirty) term for food. i would call Foxley more asian fusion, since it is food from all styles done asian style. Chantecler is an Asian take on food, period. Ssam is asian, but their steak tartare is done asian style and wouldn't be confused with traditional french tartare. Popcorn chicken or shrimp is a playful take on KFC's popcorn chicken, and their fish and pork "taco" are a poke at their western neighbour's huge success. so fusion? not really.

                                                it's unfortunate that you didn't enjoy your meal, but i suggest that you research your places a bit more before dedicating an anniversary meal to a particular restaurant. when you eat in Parkdale, it's going to be busy and "loud". plain and simple.

                                                1. re: atomeyes

                                                  agree completely with you, atomeyes.

                                                  we live in the area and go around once a month as well. wife and I really like the place and have gone for birthdays.
                                                  would easily place it among our favorite places in the city.

                                                  but you're right, it's definitely a Parkdale place and not a Momofuku.

                                                  1. re: igk


                                                    Looks like the same night, possibly even the same seating. Different strokes for different folks.

                                            2. So, I really enjoyed the tasting menu experience on the weekend.

                                              I thought the service was excellent. Really knowledgeable and friendly. The price was $90 this time around and price has definitely increased significantly from when they first started doing it but I was told they are using higher cost ingredients. In reality, I think the demand is just there so I don't blame them for the higher price and I was fine with the cost based on my experiences. We opted for the wine pairing (thanks to atomeyes for the rec!). I really enjoyed the wine pairings and I hadn't ever had any of them before.

                                              Some of the food highlights

                                              The sea urchin in a carrot panna cotta, the scallop, the tartare (perfectly spiced!) and the smoked duck breast.

                                              21 Replies
                                              1. re: ylsf

                                                I was a bit surprised by the cost too as I thought the range was $40-$60. We were fine w/ the cost as we thought the meal was worth it, but I'd have liked to know that maybe when they called to confirm the reso or even when we sat down and were told about the tasting menu. The bill came out to about $305 before tip.

                                                We opted for the wine pairing at $45 each as well and really enjoyed it. We were given 7 different pairings altogether - 4 white wines (cava, chardonnay, riesling, altesse), 1 dessert wine, 1 rioja and 1 bourbon cocktail w/ dessert. Overall we enjoyed them all - they paired well w/ the dishes - and our waiter gave pretty generous pours and kept topping up our glasses so we were pretty happy and tipsy by the end of the meal :)

                                                The meal skewed very seafood-heavy and we only had 1 meat dish and red wine pairing. I would have liked at least one more, but I'm a big carnivore

                                                To the best of my recollection we had:

                                                - Tartare w/ shrimp crackers
                                                - Clams casino (I think they called it - a big clam each in sauce)
                                                - Lobster thermadore w/ a small puff pastry
                                                - Poached oyster w/ tagliatelle and caviar
                                                - Sea urchin w/ carrot panna cotta
                                                - Fish taco lettuce wrap
                                                - Turnip cake w/ xo sauce
                                                - Barely poached scallop w/ pork belly
                                                - Smoked duck w/ 3 types of kale in a honey (?) sauce
                                                - Ice cream w/ feuilletine and thinly sliced apples
                                                - Milk truffle w/ the bill

                                                Standouts for me were the turnip cake, scallop, oyster and duck. The smoked duck was really fantastic and my boyfriend went crazy for it - we were really ready for a meat dish at this point, and this one was so so good.

                                                When we first came in, we were left waiting and standing awkwardly at the front door for over 10 minutes before being acknowledged. The service once we were seated was very friendly. The power went out about half way through, and they were quick to light up some candles and top off our glasses.

                                                Overall it was an enjoyable experience and a good birthday dinner for my bf. I'd definitely go again, but at that price point, probably just for a more special occasion

                                                1. re: tygrr_lily

                                                  Ha, I think I maybe saw you two standing there when we were leaving around 9:10pm?? I was almost tempted to say "tiger lilly" just to see if someone would turn around :)

                                                  Thanks for the summary of the dishes, saved me from typing it out. Our ice cream was served with feuilletine and not corn flakes. And, I think it was a toasted barley flavour ice cream. Also, we had a pork based lettuce wrap from what I recall.

                                                  I had asked them about the pricing when they called me originally back in November and they told me $80 to $90 range. I think instead of the person having to ask they really should inform people though so there aren't surprises especially since most of the reviews indicate it in the $50 to $60 range.

                                                  1. re: ylsf

                                                    Haha yes, we were waiting awkwardly at the front door for a while so I'm sure that was us.

                                                    Ah feuilletine - that probably makes a lot more sense than corn flakes. We were several glasses in at this point so that was my best guess. And I had no idea what feuilletine are - will edit my earlier description :)

                                                    1. re: tygrr_lily

                                                      That's a pretty luxurious menu! Tartare, oyster, clam, uni, lobster, scallop and duck?!?!?

                                                      Sounds like heaven. Just dying of jealousy over here.

                                                      And the turnip cake? With XO sauce? Maybe same as the one they serve at sunday lunch? Phenomenal!

                                                      1. re: brushfire

                                                        and caviar....

                                                        Does seem seafood heavy but i guess the pork wrap (although you got the fish version), the turnip cake and beef tartare are also meat dishes.

                                                        I can't stop reading this menu over and over again. I'm drooling.

                                                        1. re: brushfire

                                                          Yes, you're right about all of those. I think I just like meat a lot, so I would have liked maybe some more beef thrown in there... personal preference though :). Some of the ingredients were pretty luxurious, but the portions were all tasting size so it was a good amount

                                                          I've yet to try the Sunday brunch so I'm not sure if the turnip cake is the same version. The texture was really creamy and you could taste bits of Chinese sausage in it too (lap cheong). Really good

                                                          You should definitely try the dinner! The reso is a pain to make though. I tried a couple times before but I don't think I called early enough. So this time, I finally put an alarm on my phone to remember to call exactly at midnight on Halloween

                                                          1. re: tygrr_lily

                                                            Oh trust me i've tried but currently they are booked out until next february. I think the price is determined depending on what is being served and so they aren't really able to tell you in advance and I guess if they told ppl how much it is when they confirm they might cancel? but then they charge your credit card right if you cancel within 24 hours. Most restaurants don't do confirmation until the day of or the day prior so it's just a weird conflict i guess.

                                                            It's already a steal to have the chef personally just cook for a few tables a night. I imagine a lot of labour go into preparing for these two or three tables.

                                                            I think the price for your menu seemed very reasonable. A menu with so much high cost ingredient put together beautifully would cost a lot more if you were dining at a traditional fine dining restaurant. I would love to try it out. Gotta set an alarm like you did.

                                                            And you should try the brunch. I started a thread on it a while ago and i'm surprised people are not really talking about it. The room is beautiful and the food is amazing. And it's affordable too. It's a combination of small sharing plates, some asian some not. It's the modern canto that everyone talks about when they mention chantelcer. The media has been giving rave reviews and they're getting a ton of twitter love for it. Chowhounds are missing out!

                                                            1. re: brushfire

                                                              too busy reviewing McDonalds' poutine.

                                                              1. re: brushfire

                                                                I like the food at Chantecler, and I agree the food is affordable, but I find the room ordinary, not beautiful.

                                                                Enjoyed the popcorn shrimp, fancy wings and calamari on my last dinner visit, but I was a little underwhelmed by their version of clams casino and the pork/beef lettuce meal dinner. http://restaurantchantecler.ca/

                                                                1. re: prima

                                                                  i really, really like the space. it's casual but elegant and having the partially open kitchen makes a big difference in adding some warmth (not physical) over other similar places.

                                                                  that being said, i went a couple weeks ago for the lettuce meal and i don't think i'll go back until i can get in for the tasting menu because after the like 5th time or whatever, i've had all the small plates and the wraps enough that i'd rather go try something new

                                                                  1. re: disgusti

                                                                    i forgot that i do really want to try the brunch though

                                                                  2. re: prima

                                                                    I really enjoyed dinner there but it's been a while now since i've been. The food was fun and tasty and great value. It looks like the menu has changed up a bit and I think they often have specials. I've seen them post on twitter.


                                                                  3. re: brushfire

                                                                    Can you explain why you have to set your alarm to get a reservation?

                                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                                      Reservations open at midnight on the 1st of the month for seating one or two months out (the web site specifies the dates). If you don't get your request in the first few minutes after midnight, you are pretty much out of luck.

                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                        Oh...now I understand. Thanks Jo!

                                                                    2. re: brushfire

                                                                      Hey brushfire not sure what dates you were looking for but I just got a reservation for jan 18. They had seats opened at the 9pm timeslot if you were interested. $ are at 85 for jan.

                                                                      1. re: Gastroworld

                                                                        Some how i missed your message. Will definitely give them a call again! Thanks!

                                                          2. re: tygrr_lily

                                                            I went this saturday as well and absolutely loved it...I was surprised at the $90 pp as when I went last in Feb it was $45....the few things that were different in our menu was that we got this beautiful vermicelli with roasted garlic and steamed shrimps, seaweed gruyere rolls. Absolutely love the service at this place and it continues to be one of my favourite experiences in the city!!

                                                            1. re: akhorasanee

                                                              You've got to check out their brunch if you havn't. I think I like it even better than their dinner menu

                                                              1. re: brushfire

                                                                Thank you so much Brushfire will definitely keep in mind. Just so hard to get up early and downtown on the weekends :) Happy holidays!

                                                        2. Wanted to give this a bump because not much has been said recently about Chantecler. We were there on a Saturday and it wasn't packed. We, as usual, over ordered, I think it is a helpful reminder that the lettuce meal for $21 is a lot of food for two people and if you add a couple of fish wraps or popcorn shrimp and a couple of sundaes, it's still a inexpensive night out for very decent food.
                                                          My only complaint is that playing M.O.P. in any sit down restaurant is at best inappropriate and at worst comical.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: dubchild

                                                            I like the food at Chantecler , but the music was a turn-off on my first visit (guess that's obvious in my replies upstream) Didn't notice the music on my 2nd visit. Not sure the owner/staff knows/cares that the choice in music/noise is an important part of the experience and some choices in music could deter some customers from a return visit. Or maybe that's part of the plan? I know a bar manager who used to play folk dancing music to clear out the bar after last call.

                                                          2. Keeping up with our usual pace of hitting trendy restaurants years after everyone else, we finally made it to Chantecler this past Saturday. The advantage to our strategy is that we called for a reservation for the tasting menu only a few days before and had no trouble getting a table.

                                                            We arrived slightly early and were shown immediately to our seats. We had a nice view of a prep station, so we could get a sense of how the dishes were assembled before we got them. We sat at one of the high tables and the bar stool seats weren't the most comfy for three hours - bring a cushion! The music wasn't deafening as noted in early reviews - they did turn it up at about 7:30 and then it went up and down afterwards, but we could still talk.

                                                            We started with two cocktails. Diablo al fuego mixed tequila, lime, ginger beer, chili, and cassis. It was lovely to look at and tasted great, with a real kick from the bird chill. Fancy Bubbly included cava, elderflower, yuzu, lime, and grapefruit peel. It was very fresh and citrusy - perfect for summer.

                                                            And those were the last alcoholic drinks we had as no one subsequently asked us further about our inclinations. Since we are not huge drinkers, we weren't particularly put off but this might be a bigger problem for others. The other odd thing was that no one ever spoke to us about having the tasting menu. Although this had already been specified in our reservation, it just seemed a little weird that aside from getting our initial cocktails, no one spoke to us for about 25 minutes while we simply waited.

                                                            We started with the tomato salad (on the menu), which featured red (sweet) and dark (less flavourful) tomato slices with roasted garlic, ricotta, scallion, chili, and sweet soya sauce. It was light and yet also had umami from the soya sauce and garlic.

                                                            Next were deep fried zucchini flowers with spicy mayo and morita pepper dust. They were a bit oily, but nice and crisp. Served at the same time were Colville Bay PEI oysters with fish sauce and pickled carrot and cucumber. The flavour combination was nice, but the saltiness was a bit overwhelming for the delicate flavour of the oysters.

                                                            Also from the regular menu was the beef tartare with fish sauce, peanut, jalapeno, and wasabi, served on a shrimp chip. I really enjoyed the flavours, but Klafouti did not appreciate the sinus-clearing effect of the wasabi.

                                                            What followed was a series of Oriental snacks, starting with BBQ pork buns. A sweet, almost shortbread crust encased cubes of smoky meat and fat, with a rich-flavoured porky gelatin sauce. This was one of the highlights of the evening. Second were mini lettuce wraps with ground pork marinated in dried oyster and roasted seaweed, served with puffed rices, with tangy mayo. These were also delicious. Third were turnip cakes with Chinese sausage, scallion, and homemade hot sauce - sweet, fluffy with more of a seared edge than the typical dim sum version. Last were chicken wing "dumplings" - deboned and stuffed with pork and shitake mushrooms and dusted with Szechuan peppercorn. These were a bit salty, but otherwise crispy and yummy.

                                                            After these richer flavours came a light dish of steamed shrimp on a bed of glass noodles, with garlic-infused oil and fresh scallion. Simple and a nice contrast to the preceding dishes (but we are unsure about the sustainability of the shrimp).

                                                            Our last savoury dish was pan-roasted pork neck, served with ham stock, panko bread crumbs, charred green onion, asparagus, and a housemade XO sauce. The pork was a bit chewy and oily, but had lots of umami and just enough saltiness.

                                                            We finished off with three different desserts. First up was bitter almond panna cotta, pandan and coconut milk sauce, and fresh Ontario strawberries. A slightly quirky combination and lovely all around. Second were fantastic sugar doughnuts with grapefruit curd - light as air, with no oily taste and awesome citrusy curd. Last but not least were black sesame and vanilla ice cream puffs. The choux pastry and ice cream were nice, but it was the thick layer of smooth, silky sesame paste that made the dish.

                                                            All-in-all an enjoyable meal, with tasty Asian overtones throughout. Although we appreciated the tasting menu, we were not blown away for the most part. We were actually more tempted by the other regular menu items, including the chicken wings and the braised beef and pork being served with the lettuce dinner. We'll probably go back for those.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                              1. re: dubchild

                                                                $230 before tip (including tax and two drinks).

                                                              2. re: Dr. John

                                                                The other advantage it seems is that post-hype brings clearer vision. Skip the other items you saw on the menu - the place has always been over-rated.

                                                                1. re: chowfinder

                                                                  It was a more compelling restaurant when it first opened. The a la carte menu seems a bit phoned in at this point. It's good enough, but it's been dumbed down a bit for, I think, financial viability.

                                                                  The alcohol program - from cocktails to wine to cider - is among the best, or at least most interesting, in town right now.

                                                                  1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                                                                    Too bad they didn't offer us anything beyond the opening cocktails! We were going to consider a wine pairing, but then realized after our first course arrived that no one had come to speak to us about it. It wasn't important enough to us to pursue but it was rather shocking.