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Oct 7, 2012 09:09 AM

Auberge du Pommier - What Compares?

What's comparable to Auberge du Pommier in Toronto. I would really like to know. I have not experienced any other place that has the elegance, quality and service that puts Auberge into the class of a truly fine dining establishment deserving of a world class restaurant. Other places I've tried in Toronto are either trying too hard with results that are sub-par or contrived, or are successful due to popularity I equate to fad following rather than a focus on producing good food and a superior dining experience.

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  1. I'm confused! I have no idea what you like as typically you only ask questions.
    Until recently (this year), Auberge has been all glitz and relatively little substance. The decor was much finer than the food. HOWEVER, I did try once this year and found the food VASTLY improved, so far above the (relatively few) previous visits that, foodwise, it was an entirely different (improved) dining experience.
    So go back and try again. If you liked it before see how you like it now.

    1. Of all the fine dining experiences I've had in Toronto (George, Canoe, Auberge, high end steakhouses, One, Scaramouche, etc.), the only one that rates above all the rest is Splendido. Admittedly, whenever I go, I have the tasting menu so I'm not if the experience is the same when ordering from the menu. The food and the service there have always been top notch. The food is creative but not too avant garde that they lose sight of the importance of quality ingredients and impeccable technique.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ctl98

        Tried the Splendido tasting menu Dec 2010 and was very disapointed. They tried to be too expermiental, but the food and flavors came up short. Fish way under done as an example. Perhaps a bad night? I've also been to many of the others you mention and again was underwhelmed - I want so badly to have a wider selection of great cuisine when I visit Toronto!

        I tend to agree with ESTUFARIAN above about Auberge as my reference to it is focussed on my experience earlier this year when my wife and I were thrilled with everything they did. Almost feels like they've reached hit their stride and I hope they keep it up - much more so than in previous visits where the food was simply average.

        1. re: imkosmic

          Hmmm, might be worth giving Auberge another try then! The last time I went (several months ago), the food was good but not inspired. Too many dishes with pea shoot as garnish, for instance (my app, my main and dining companion's main had pea shoots).

          1. re: imkosmic

            If you found the food at Splendido to be too experimental, maybe you should consider Scaramouche.

            If you don't mind a less formal restaurant experience, you should consider Ici Bistro and Pastis. Both offer very good bistro food and offer excellent service, The service I experienced at Ici Bistro last month was better than past service I've experienced at Auberge or Splendido. That being said, I'm hoping to revisit both Auberge and Splendido at some point over the next 6 months.

            1. re: prima

              Odd - I've never found the service at Ici Bistro to be anything more than rudimentary, and last we had a tasting menu, 3-4 accoutrements were repeated throughout the meal.

              Agreed, ADP deserves another visit. Have been hearing good things for the last 6 months.

              1. re: justxpete

                It sounds like you and I seem to receive different levels of service at Splendido, and at Ici. I would think the quality of service at any restaurant could vary from table to table, day to day, server to server. ;-)

                Various croquettes showed up on several dishes that we ordered at Ici, so in retrospect, we didn't need to order the basket of mixed croquettes at the start of our meal. That being said, the repetition didn't bother me. I like croquettes, and would want to eat more than one, anyhow.

                1. re: justxpete

                  Just a quick update on ADP - I went on Saturday evening (surprise date night!). While I found the food to be quite good, and everything fairly reasonable, the mains, at $42-45, I found to be about $10 too expensive. Not that I'm one to complain about prices, but I didn't perceive $45 worth of value (I had the suckling pig, my SO, the lamb shank). Everything else was suitably priced.

                  I'll be back, but perhaps for the tasting menu.

                  /edit - I also found the hamachi a little stale, and pretty bland. I think that would be my only other complaint. My SO's potato salad was nothing short of excellent.

          2. I agree with the kids so far - Auberge is doing some really good work lately. Been a few times this past year and have had some really lovely meals. Worth checking out again.

            Chef Marc St. Jacques just won Gold Medal Plates Toronto, actually.

            And they've been putting in some nice touches they previously hadn't had - mignardises, palate cleansers, amuses. Not consistent, but that could also be because of the timing I go and the way I was ordering.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlunar

              Love mignardises. Wish more restos in TO offered mignardises.

            2. I do have to head back to ADP soon, however, I would suggest that Scaramouche (as mentioned above) is the top spot in T.O. at the moment (too many inconsistent and poorly executed meals at Splendido since Lee left).

              8 Replies
              1. re: Sadistick

                On the contrary, I've had nothing but consistent meals at Splendido, and through probably about 400 dishes, we've only sent 4 back. Victor was also said to be at the helm of the previous iteration of Splendido for up to 18 months before they moved to Nota Bene. IMO, it's easily the best restaurant in TO. I am excited about Cafe Bouloud possibly giving it some competition, but I've not been as yet.

                1. re: justxpete

                  I agree with justxpete. For my money, Splendido has been consistently good since the Lee years (actually since the Magyar years). And, from about the end of 2010 has even jumped a notch - with great attention to both aromatics and textures, both of which have seemed more accomplished (for me).
                  And favourably compares to Cafe Boulud as well (both here and in New York).

                  1. re: justxpete

                    I haven't been since Patrick left. Do you know if they replaced him yet?

                    1. re: JennaBean

                      They have, with the fomer Chef de Cuisine from Nota Bene, Geoff O'Connor.

                      1. re: justxpete

                        That does not make me want to run in to give it a whirl. I'm not at all a Nota Bene fan. Too safe. Boring. Almost always underseasoned for my personal taste. I will wait a another month or two and give it a go.

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          I was skeptical too, and agree with you for the most part, but Geoff is doing a great job thus far.

                          1. re: JennaBean

                            They've added a new Sous Chef Nelson who worked at Michael Mina, Gramercy Tavern and Cafe Gray - all Michelin star restaurants!

                        2. re: JennaBean

                          Sorry - I miss-spoke. The new Chef De Cuisine is actually Tommy McHugh, who was a sous chef at Nota Bene from 2008-2011, according to ChefDB. I couldn't remember if his name was Tommy or Geoff, so I apologize for the misinformation. I have a terrible head cold, so I'm using that as an excuse for confusing the two.

                    2. Went to Auberge last night. First time in a long while.

                      What a pleasure, in a town dominated by hipster-trend restaurants, to experience competent, elegant, formal dinner service again. Good food; magnificent service.

                      Well done.