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Richmond Station - Yonge and Richmond

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Write ups starting to come in... Any CHers been yet?


For those that don't know, this is Carl Heinrich's (Top Chef Canada Season 2 winner) new place.


No menu online, and, as someone mentioned in the "opening 2012" thread, they are only open for dinner which seems odd for the area with the "bay street" crowd.

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  1. The Richmond Station website posted above leads to a Richmond Station in the UK. Here is the website for the Toronto resto: http://www.richmondstation.ca/ The resto has a twitter account as well as both chefs but alas they are not even tweeting their menus. And I agree it is odd they are not open for lunch service. Hopefully they will start posting menus soon...

    6 Replies
    1. re: ottawaoperadiva

      i thought it was going in across the street on the NE side in that nice old building that had the pharmacy on the main floor --- but
      based on the map it appears it's going to be in the same building as the sunset grill?
      looking forward to this place as it's 10 seconds from my office : )

      1. re: dannyboy

        Just west of the Grill, on the other side of the underground parking lane. From the website: Ph. 647•748•1444 Monday to Saturday: 5pm-10pm Sunday: Closed

      2. re: ottawaoperadiva

        Maybe it's a soft opening to get the kitchen in-gear for how busy they'll be when they open for lunch.


        1. re: justxpete

          Successful restaurants don't need to be open for lunch or brunch. It's their prerogative. Perhaps that's the plan. Success right out of the gate.

          1. re: Googs

            on bay street? why pay for expensive real estate where 90% of your patrons are gone before dinner and not open for lunch? i would have to agree with the guess that they are testing that way to start...otherwise I question the logic

            1. re: downtownfoodie

              I read in Toronto Life that they plan to be open for lunch sometime later in year -- November, I think.

        1. This restaurant was hard to find in the dark. Most of the building is occupied by a larger restaurant called Sunset Grill. There is a large parkade filling the other end of the block. Richmond Station occupies a narrower street presence in between. Over the door is a lighted sign which only says “restaurant” with an arrow and closer up, I could also see a tram car, while the name, Richmond Station, is in silver on glass. It was too subtle for us out-of-towners as we walked past on the other side of the street and had to double back when we realized that we had left Richmond Street West and were on Richmond Street East.

          Another complaint is the front door. The restaurant has a ground level dining area and an upper level next to the open kitchen. We were seated in the lower level, five tables away from the door, but could feel the cold November evening air rush over our feet and legs whenever someone went in or out the single front door or worse yet, held the door open. The restaurant needs a second door or drapery to stop the draft because it isn’t going to get any warmer for the next number of months.

          For the good part, the restaurant had only been open three weeks when we went but it seems to be running smoothly with very helpful and knowledgeable servers. We understood the place is meant to be casual and fun and it certainly looks the part with high ceilings, no linen table cloths and relatively unadorned walls. Wines are on display along one wall and the other stock for the small bar sits on open shelving. Some black and white photos of Richmond Station as a tram station hang on the wall. Upstairs, the main show appears to be the open kitchen. There’s a small semi-private dining area which looks like a pantry as its decorated with shelves filled with jars of pickles and preserves.

          The menu has a modest range of offerings—there are sharing plates, appetizers and mains each with four or five items-- supplemented by a chalkboard listing the day’s specials, about six items total. The emphasis is on seasonal produce. The wine list is not extensive but the prices were quite reasonable. There were also beers which I’m guessing included some local breweries because there were names I’d never seen before. The drinks menu also feature a few cocktails. Cosmopolitans appeared to be popular amongst the diner near us. A lot of diners were having the station burger with a very thick beef patty and some delicious smelling rosemary fries.

          I tried the ploughboard appetizer from the chalkboard which consisted of a home made sausage of duck liver, stilton and pear, accompanied by home made beetroot chutney, slices of Tuscan sheep cheese, a boiled egg, home made mayonaise, apples slices, micro greens and mustard seed crackers. The best part was the sausage which was flavourful and rich. To balance the protein heavy appetizer, I had the menu entree mushroom ravioli with swiss chard, vinaigrette, mushrooms and parsnip chips. The mushrooms were a bit too salty for me, making the entire dish rather salty and not balanced out by the vinaigrette. My companion had the lobster cocktail, which was four tempura lobster chunks on a lettuce leaf with cocktail sauce and aioli, and coq au vin which he found flavourful and satisfying especially on a cold evening. For dessert, we had the cranberry bread pudding special which came with an almond ice cream and a creamy buttery absolutely delicious butterscotch sauce.

          The chef, Carl Heinrich, did a walk around greeting diners. He had shaved and was growing a moustache for Movember. Beardless he looks like a teenager.

          I wasn’t blown away by the meal but parts were very good and I would certainly recommend the place. I hope they do something about the front door soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Watson

            My view was similar to yours - good food but nothing that isn't available elsewhere.
            The layout of the restaurant taught me that restaurant design has a long way to go. If people are at the bar and also seated on the street level part- it's extremely difficult to walk through the restaurant - impossible if someone is serving. Also the downstairs is frigid (as you say), with a blast of cold air every time the door opens. So we moved upstairs where one has a great view of the open kitchen - except it's so hot up there that we had the opposite problem. The only temperate place is at the top of the stairs - and that's where the cooks escaped to when the heat upstairs became oppressive.
            Worst layout of any restaurant I can think of!

          2. Just had dinner there on the weekend. Started with the steak tartare, which was excellent: good seasoning, nice texture, loved the runny egg. Wish they offered a larger portion, because I could've eaten three plates of the stuff. Main was the burger - juicy, pink, with beet (?) chutney which was quite sweet. Wish there was some mustard to offset the sweetness. At $21, the burger was the cheapest main on the menu.

            Overall, a good solid meal, but not something I'd go to regularly due to cost. If I I had to pick a place that would satisfy picky and non-picky eaters, I'd go here (which is why the location is actually perfect - it's a good office alternative to the usual suspects in that area).

            Lastly, the service was fantastic- super friendly and efficient. Probably the best service I've had in a while.

            1. As of tomorrow, November 7th, it is opening for lunch from what I hear.

              1 Reply
              1. Finally got to Richmond station - didn't find any of the temperature issues that other speak of - I was seated at the bar, 5-6 seats from the door.

                We had the coq au vin, the lobster cocktail, and the lamb ragu. We found all dishes were seasoned well and cooked properly. The food was quite good, and reasonable for the prices being asked. Dinner for two with tax, a couple of drinks and two deserts was about $114. I loved the modern decor, and I found the layout quite pleasing. The place was packed for a Monday, with almost every table save for two not occupied.

                We'll definitely be back.

                1. Went for lunch the other day, and they're doing a prix fixe at $22. I feel like that's a great value.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: graydyn

                    that sounds great. So nice to see young chefs making a go for. This chef is so passionate. The prix fixe also probably the best deal in town although i've yet to try.

                    1. re: graydyn

                      What exactly are the dishes being offered in the prix fixe anyway?

                      1. re: PhilH

                        It's written up on the specials board, so I think it changes daily. When I went it was, if I'm remembering correctly, ((quinoa salad or mussels), and (chicken sandwich or veggie pasta) and cookies)

                    2. Just had a great medium rare burger there for lunch. Served with rosemary frites and a little salad with radish. Also a great fresh quinoa salad as an app. The room is nice and open, the servers are quite friendly as well. I think the burger was $20 which wasn't cheap. There was that fixed price meal as well with pot roast or lobster roll. salad, burger and one pint came to $41 --- $50 with a tip so not really a cheap lunch.

                      1. So, to follow up on this thread I started a while back, managed to get there last night. We did the chef's tasting menu. It is basically a family style meal with a lot of the menu presented. Overall it was an enjoyable meal and definitely worth it at $50 a head. I don't know what the minimum group size is to do it but worth while inquiring if you want to get a taste of the restaurant.
                        I would say the weakest part was the desserts. Not much of a "wow" factor presentation or taste wise.

                        Favourite dish was the tartare. The burger was tasty as well. The fish dishes were also enjoyable but too me they tasted even richer than the meat dishes!

                        One aspect that I didn't like service wise was the pacing of the meal. They brought out all of the apps at once, then all of the salads and then all of the mains, then all of the desserts.

                        The issue was really with all of the mains coming at once. There was a long wait between the salads and the mains coming out. Everyone on the table said they would have preferred if they brought out one of the mains, then another like 5/10 minutes later. Or even two at a time. There was 4 different main dishes and it seemed like a frantic rush to try things while they were still warm. It might have had to do with the size of our group as well. Anyway, the only other time I have had a "family style" multicourse meal was at an Italian wedding or a Chinese restaurant so I have no comparison to how other spots handle pacing. I think it is definitely something that the group would have to be pretty comfortable with each other to do this type of tasting menu.

                        I don't know if anyone mentioned but they added a curtain by the front door. I don't know if that helps with keeping the cold out or not but I could see what people are saying about eating downstairs. If I went again, I probably would request to eat on the 2nd level as it seems like a roomier space. The place is definitely doing a brisk business. Was very full last night which is good to see.

                        1. For the people who've been, what's the noise level like?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ascendance

                            Was there last night around 6 and it was pretty decent at the bar on the first floor. I didn't have any problems hearing my dining companion but we were sitting side by side. It was slightly louder in the upper dining room, the tables are closer together and it was packed.

                          2. I have nothing but good things to say about Richmond Station. Their commitment to making things right when made aware of problems is beyond compare. They are a new restaurant, run by a young staff. But the one thing they are definitely more receptive to than some places in Toronto is accepting feedback and making changes.

                            I had the pleasure of dining at the chef's table with a friend on Friday night. This meal was a kind invitation from Julia as a result of a less-than-perfect experience I had at the restaurant on New Year's Eve.

                            We put ourselves in Carl and Julia's hands and were treated to a fantastic meal with impeccable service. From the oysters and sparkling all the way through to dessert, my friend and I were thrilled.

                            Some of the first samplings of their house-made charcuterie, now that they've been open a few months. Delicately smoked trout on a quinoa salad with soy bean puree. A delicious sous vide halibut with crispy-skinned chicken oysters and house-made chorizo (thanks for the two slices of bread to sop up the remainder of that delicious sauce). A lovely duo of beef with mind-blowingly perfect pommes Kennedy. And that burger. Gorgeous. Big thanks for saving me some of the lemon posset for dessert. Love it.

                            Their generosity showed through all the way to the end.

                            Carl and Julia have a wonderful thing going there. Everywhere and everyone can have an off night or stumble along the way. What makes a place wonderful in my eyes is when they take the effort to make it better and follow through. Looking forward to my next visit.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: emmalee

                              Anyone can comment on their lunch offerings?

                              1. re: szw

                                I think the menu's the same other than specials.

                                1. re: MissBingBing

                                  Uptown - north of St. Clair Ave. - is my beat. It's not often I get from the rarefied air of York Mills to downtown for dinner. But, from what I'd read, Richmond Station sounded like my kind of joint. So when I found myself downtown last night, that's where we headed. The place was jammed - it's clearly a happenin' place (for the nonce) - but we got a table in the back room, which is only slightly less noisy than the front room. Only slightly. But I guess that's a downtown resto for ya. This is a $150 a couple spot, the standard-issue price (with a half-litre of wine) for downtown. I expect, though, it could easily bump up to $200. Dinner was both good and not-so. Lobster bisque: acceptable enough, but served luke-warm, with not much flavourful zing. Forgettable. I've had much better uptown. Sea bream: tasty, though smallish portion. Coq au Vin: the best I've ingested in a long, long time. A home run. The deconstructed carrot cake dessert was a dud at $9. Though I guess the chef feels obliged to show innovation while justifying the price on these things, carrot cake doesn't need deconstruction. In my view, it ruins the melding of flavours. Not a deal-breaker, though. Despite a comment above about there being a reasonable wine list, the wine list is hilariously marked up, but not much more than the outrageous lists in most downtown restos. Charming, if sometimes clueless service - what you get when you throw servers on to the floor in a packed house without much training. Overall, kinda fun. I'll go back if I'm downtown around dinner time, and the hype and attendant noise subsides, if only for that wonderful Coq au Vin. Uptown, our $150 dinner would doubtless cost about $100 or so for similar fare - without the tummel, though, that makes downtown dining so entertaining. Entertaining, however, If taken in small, only occasional doses by an old guy like me.

                                  1. re: juno

                                    I always thought Juno was a woman.... Oops!

                                    1. re: szw

                                      @ SZW
                                      Juno has been a regular of all the chowmeets that I have organized. ( at least 4 ). If you decide to join in our next chowmeet ( an all crab theme tasting menu ), may be you can meet him in person?!!

                                      1. re: MissBingBing

                                        Nonce: it means "for the time being". Old English.

                                        Tummel: Yiddish slang for action, noise, joyful chaos.

                                        Juno: a guy. Just because it's the name of a female movie hero from a few years back doesn't mean a guy can't have it, too. Besides, I had it first - it's my long-time nickname.

                                        1. re: juno

                                          But I'm sure you know the Roman goddess had it first :) Sister-wife of Jupiter.

                                          1. re: randomthoughts

                                            Yes, I'm aware of Juno, the Roman goddess of love, who got her name slightly before I officially obtained sole rights to it as a nickname. Thanks for reminding me. I'd forgotten all about her after all these years.

                              2. Richmond Station was packed last night at 6 pm and it didn't look like an after work crowd. I quite enjoy his style of cooking which is quite different from the restrain of something like Actinolite. If Actinolite is Erik Satie, then Richmond Station is Miles Davis. Something as overplayed as a beet salad with goat cheese is exciting once again in this chef's hands. These are big bold flavours and every ingredient on the plate has a companion flavour. It works because the chef manages to find balance, not overwhelm the main ingredients, and something about his spicing reminds me of childhood flavours.
                                Who cares about the lack of fine dining when mid level bistros are doing a much better job.

                                1 Reply
                                1. My wife took me on my birthday after having watched Carl on Top Chef and became a fan.

                                  The food was well executed and as someone else mentioned, a $150 dinner for two. We had 2 apps, 2 mains, a shared dessert and a couple glasses of wine.

                                  We had the charcuterie and scallop ceviche for apps, duck and venison 2 ways for mains and the "Butter Popcorn" dessert. Dishes were all executed well with the stand out being the venison and scallop. Charcuterie was good, but I prefer the one from Black Hoof and the duck was a tad more cooked than I preferred, but that's a personal preference. Various purees and garnishes and sauces that accompanied the mains were very tasty and all the elements all went together well.

                                  Atmosphere was lively and Carl was doing more walking around directing and socilizing with diners than cooking. Service was attentive and we were well looked after.

                                  It's a good place to just drop by at the bar for a cocktail or two and share some apps if you want to keep the cost down. I would definitely return.

                                  1. Went on a Sat with a gf and we had a nice evening. Overall the food was solid and good value for money but no wow moments to report.

                                    We started with half a dozen oysters and then shared the following items:

                                    CORN & SCALLOP PAKORAS
                                    zucchini, chili, spiced yogurt, coriander chutney

                                    PECORINO FRESCO
                                    truffle-lemon vinaigrette, pine nuts, crostini

                                    RAMP & POTATO PIEROGIES
                                    swiss chard, caramelized onions, mushrooms, horseradish-beet puree

                                    SLOW COOKED HALIBUT
                                    brown butter-lemon sauce, spaetzle, parsley puree

                                    The best dish of the night was the halibut. Perfectly cooked and the spaetzle with brown butter lemon sauce added the perfect zing.

                                    We didn't have room for dessert but we did have two glasses of wine and two cocktails before dinner and out bill with tax but before tip was $150.

                                    Service was good, friendly and knowledgeable. However it was a wee bit more casual than I was expecting. For me this would be a good mid-week dinner or a casual get together with friends but not a special occasion option

                                    Oh and I will pass on the soyabean oil in future. Not my thing at all. Ick.