Actinolite - One of my best meals in T.O.
Actinolite now offers a chef's pick for $75. This was a seven course tasting menu which the chef came out to the table and discussed with us if we had any preferences. There were 3 dishes we were keen on trying and they were worked into the tasting. The dishes in order were:
-buttermilk soup with hedgehog mushrooms
-italian leafy green salad with grapes, cheese and pine nuts
-seared shrimp with lamb tripe hache and smoked red pepper sauce
-trout with cauliflower and honey mushrooms
-gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and arugula
-ontario lamb chop and saddle with roasted vegetables
These descriptions are brief and many dishes had a few more elements. All dishes were good to very good , and the trout, gnocchi, lamb and pavlova were outstanding. All the dishes came out hot, showcased a variety of textures, were cleaning presented, and offered a substantial portion of the focal ingredient. The dishes were lightly seasoned but never under seasoned and none of the dishes relied on the big flavours of garlic, onion or spices for impact. Overall there was a sense of delicacy without lacking depth.
I can't offer much in the way of criticism, granted some ingredients were repeated and artichoke was used on a couple of dishes, which can be a wine killer, but execution was flawless. Every dish seemed unique and independent of current trends.
Service was efficient and warm without being overly chatty or chummy. The wine pairing were generally good, with no duds, and served at the correct temperature, reds were slightly chilled. The room is beautiful and music was at an appropriate volume. The bill for two with wine pairings was $240 without tip. This meal is up there with the best I've had at George and the time Colborne Lane got things right.
There were some outstanding dishes which were very memorable like the gnocchi or the lamb. But it was the experience as a whole which I enjoyed. Some dishes which at the moment seemed good but not memorable made more sense within the context of the whole meal.
I should have mentioned one other thing. The room was about 80-90% full on a Tuesday in January. This is a good sign, it also means make a reso.
I ate at Actinolite in December and had the same experience - one of the best meals I've ever had in Toronto.