Richmond Station - Yonge and Richmond
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.
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...
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 : )
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.
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!
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.