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Feb 2, 2013 08:00 PM

Simple Bistro - A quick update

When chef Tamaru was manning the kitchen, Simple Bistro was my mid-town go to place for good, value for money and consistently reliable French bistro fare. With Chef T gone to the Left Bank on Avenue Road, I haven't been back to Simple for quite a long while!

I was looking for a 'non-Winterlicious' place to eat tonight, when I decided to give my old favorite a try. I was glad I did! The food was still 'simple', un-pretentious and tasty. And at $40 for a three course prix-fixe, still pretty good value for money.

Dishes chosen included:

- A multi-dimensional beet salad
- Salt cod brandade, micro-greens, horseradish Aioli
- Duck duo - Seared duck breast, truffled duck liver Boudin, braised
red cabbage, herbed Parissiene gnocchi, Port wine jus.
- Lemon curd, butter shortcake crust, blueberry compote, cream
- Made to order, Creme patissieri fried mini doughnut beignets with Bailey's hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

The Good:
Nice plate presentation, gorgeous tasting salad dressing, perfectly cooked duck breast, light fluffy liver sausage and 'to die for' Doughnut desserts! The latter - OMG awesome and good!! Amazing textural and temperature interplay!

The Bad:
Slightly bland Brandade......?? That's it?! Just a simple mishap? Wow!!

And the service, professional and ultra-friendly.

Glad I don't have to drive all the way downtown for good French Bistro food!! Sigh!!!

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  1. Thanks, Charles! We have been meaning to try Simple (and Mogette) for a long time, but always end up at our defaults (Zee and Quince). We will definitely put this in our rotation.

    Have you tried Left Bank since Chef T went there? Thoughts?

    1 Reply
    1. re: CocoaChanel

      I ate at Left bank about 3 months ago. Very, very busy place. Food was very good and comparable to Simple.
      My write-up:

    2. Nice to hear things haven't changed. I promised to report back and you beat me to the punch. We are heading there this week, I'm looking forward to dessert.

      1. Loved the food here but couldn't take the noise when it was busy which it always is !!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Helen

          We were seated upstairs. Quiet and cozy! Great for a romantic date. However, my partner was my daughter! Ha!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Didn't know they had an upstairs - thank you.

            1. re: Helen

              Ive always had a good experience at SB. Also didnt know they had an upstairs. i will have to go back i guess to check it out

        2. After reading Charles' review I didn't think there would be much to add, but Simple has changed a little over time.

          The good is that the $40 three course prix fixe is still on offer and the menu prices are still low. The bad is that our last two visits the owner was not there and this time we were told that he has taken a job in banking in order to have similar hours to his wife and child. This isn't to say service was lacking, everything was efficient, but he brought a passion, personal touch, and knowledge especially with seen when pairing food with wine.

          In a competitive market such as Toronto, with new restaurants constantly opening, and young chefs eager to up the ante, Simple feels like it's running on cruise control. I think it will continue to be a popular neighbourhood spot, it was 70% full midweek, and there are hits to be found on the menu if one chooses carefully, but I think someone travelling across town may not see much different from their own local bistro.