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Does Splendido only have multi-course fixed menus now?

jjmellon Feb 21, 2014 01:54 PM

I was just looking at the dinner menu on the Splendido web site, and all I see is a 5-course fixed menu for $75 and a longer "Winter Tasting Menu" for $125. These are followed by the sentence "Take note that our menu changes daily". The PDF version of the menu (which is the same) is dated January 15, 2014.

Has anyone been lately who can confirm or deny?

  1. TorontoJo Feb 22, 2014 05:23 AM

    Yes, this is one of the changes Victor made after the (amicable) split from Carlo.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo
      Wino In Training Feb 22, 2014 08:55 AM

      What is Carlo doing now?

      1. re: Wino In Training
        estufarian Feb 22, 2014 09:00 AM

        He took on County General, leaving Splendido to Victor.
        The County General approach is being extended to a couple of other spaces 'opening soon'.

    2. justxpete Feb 22, 2014 09:44 AM

      They posted a few minutes ago on their FB page that they're offering 25% off their tasting menu and wine pairings this Tuesday. I'm assuming that you only get the deal if you order both.

      Victor plans to be much more ambitious with Splendido, and is slowly gearing towards being a candidate for a Michelin star.

      32 Replies
      1. re: justxpete
        BlackMambaSommelier Feb 22, 2014 10:29 AM

        The closest Splendido ever came to getting a Michelin star was when it was run under David Lee and Yannick Bigourdan (pre Victor days). In my opinion the food (or service) was never the same after they left. But good luck to him nonetheless. It's great he has the drive and ambition to go for it.

        1. re: BlackMambaSommelier
          estufarian Feb 22, 2014 10:38 AM

          Quite part from Michelin not being in Canada, so it's hypothetical, then it was also worthy under Arpi Magyar.
          And although David Lee was fantastic, there have been spells with Victor when it was equally good (e.g. 2011).

          1. re: estufarian
            Charles Yu Feb 22, 2014 11:18 AM

            Ref: Michelin
            Previously, with not enough good hotels to support a guide, their focus is on the States instead. However, now that the 4 'deluxe hotels' are all up and occupied. Rumor has it they are working on one for Toronto and Montreal area combined?!!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              LexiFirefly Feb 22, 2014 06:46 PM

              You have no idea how much stress this is causing in our house!!! Argh!

              1. re: LexiFirefly
                justxpete Feb 23, 2014 09:37 AM

                Explain, please?

                1. re: justxpete
                  LexiFirefly Feb 23, 2014 03:10 PM

                  My SO is a chef at a place that they would definitely go to. So if true his workplace is going to get a bit more stressed, which creates more stress at home on general.

                  1. re: LexiFirefly
                    estufarian Feb 23, 2014 05:05 PM

                    While I wish him well - as a 'patron' I would be disappointed if a restaurant turned out different (? better) food for a Michelin inspector that I would receive.
                    Accordingly, don't see why any 'extra' stress wold apply - being a chef on a regular basis is stressful enough - and I don't want to minimize that.

                    1. re: estufarian
                      LexiFirefly Feb 23, 2014 05:07 PM

                      It's more that management in places this size put more pressure on their employees. Also they're still fairly new so they are just looking for another excuse for people to only put out the best.

                      1. re: LexiFirefly
                        estufarian Feb 23, 2014 05:22 PM

                        Yes - that reflects on the quality of management - and probably results in higher eventual turnover.

                        1. re: estufarian
                          LexiFirefly Feb 24, 2014 04:04 AM

                          Yup. Quite high turnover.

                    2. re: LexiFirefly
                      JennaBean Feb 24, 2014 08:32 AM

                      You and me both LexiFly. I'm rather hopeful (selfishly) that this won't happen.

                      1. re: JennaBean
                        aser Feb 24, 2014 08:48 AM

                        Won't happen. At the end of the day Michelin is trying to sell books, it's not trying to promote tourism or goodwill for Toronto/Montreal.

                        A guide with no 2/3 star restaurants is not marketable at all.

                        I would love to be wrong on this as having a guide here would make Toronto attractive to talented cooks. Not many resume building restos in Toronto if you're talking about a global level. Cooks are resume collectors.

                        1. re: aser
                          justsayn Feb 24, 2014 08:52 AM

                          Watch them lower the bar.

                          1. re: justsayn
                            aser Feb 24, 2014 08:59 AM

                            It also says a lot about the appetite for michelin style tasting menu when one of the best in the city has to offer 25% off to lure customers.

                            Won't be seeing that in SF, Chicago or NYC.

                            It's not Splendido's fault, it's the culture here. Especially in the dead of winter, people stop going out to eat. Then in the summer the rush to cottage country does the same. All restos no matter how hip/hot face these challenges on weekdays.

                            1. re: aser
                              BlackMambaSommelier Feb 24, 2014 10:10 AM

                              YUP. Will take YEARS and CONSISTENCY before Michelin arrives in Canada...

                              1. re: BlackMambaSommelier
                                justxpete Feb 24, 2014 10:44 AM


                          2. re: aser
                            Charles Yu Feb 24, 2014 08:56 AM

                            The LA guide was first published without a 3* and only three 2* - Melisse, Spago and Urasawa. And Spago, IMO is more like a 1* or less!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              aser Feb 24, 2014 09:05 AM

                              Right, but how many more did print after they didn't sell?

                              I think that answers the question. They've learned from their mistake.

                              1. re: aser
                                justsayn Feb 24, 2014 11:59 AM

                                "Michelin is losing $24 million a year on its guides, and while that number is expected to reach $30 million by 2015, Michelin-starred restaurants are doing just fine—business spikes upwards of 25 per cent upon receiving the ultimate culinary honour. " Toronto Life 2011


                              2. re: Charles Yu
                                estufarian Feb 24, 2014 09:05 AM

                                Spago is easily my favourite of the 3!!!
                                Melisse has gone way downhill and Urasawa was not a pleasant experience for me - he told me which wines (sakes) were the best match without even asking my tastes.

                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                  prima Feb 24, 2014 09:09 AM

                                  I had an amazing tasting menu at Spago in 2008, before the revamp. That meal was better than any contemporary continental tasting menus I've had in Ontario. I can't compare that meal to a Splendido tasting menu, since I haven't ordered a Splendido tasting menu.

                                2. re: aser
                                  Blueicus Feb 24, 2014 11:52 PM

                                  Australia doesn't have the Michelin seal of approval, but their top chefs are recognized internationally. Also plenty of chefs were chomping at the bit to stage/work at places like TFL and Alinea before The Michelin Guide ever graced their cities

                                  1. re: Blueicus
                                    Charles Yu Feb 25, 2014 12:26 PM

                                    Very good point, Blueicus!! In fact I have had a few 'non-Michelin star' but Michelin caliber meals in Hong Kong cooked by Aussie chefs! Private clubs including the Hong Kong Jockey club loves hiring them!!

                                    1. re: Blueicus
                                      aser Feb 25, 2014 05:49 PM

                                      True and true, but are there any restaurants in Toronto equivalent in stature to TFL, Alinea, Tetsuyas, Quay?

                                      I guess the only one would be Susur's reverse tasting menu days.

                                      The final nail in the coffin has to be ingredient sourcing. Toronto is very lacking in this department.

                                      To tie it all back, I hope somebody took here took advantage of this 25% off deal and report back.

                                      1. re: aser
                                        Blueicus Feb 25, 2014 07:39 PM

                                        My post wasn't really answering that point of the discussion, but allow me to take a stab at it:

                                        Does Toronto currently have a restaurant(s) that are world-renown with swarms of international stagiaires? It's been a few years since I've worked in the city, but unfortunately I would say no.

                                        Does Toronto have access to local ingredients that can be used to create 'world class cuisine'? Some people may disagree, but I say yes.

                                        Does Toronto have chefs and cooks with as much international experience as any other major city? Undoubtedly, yes.

                                        I've been a member of this board long enough to have heard every argument regarding why Toronto doesn't have such a place, and though Shoto was hailed as the panacea to Toronto's fine dining shortcomings, it clearly wasn't.

                                        With regards to the above esteemed restaurants, the tasting menus at TFL, Alinea, Tetsuyas, Quay, and for the sake of fun let's add Noma and Arpege are 327, 232, 219, 224, 326, and 640 CDN (within rounding and exchange rate fluctuations) respectively. Apart from Hashimoto and Chinese restaurants where you can stuff your face with abalone, shark fin and sea cucumber for a thousand dollars a head, that is far in excess of Toronto prices, which top out at around 150 dollars Canadian for a similar number of courses. So, even before you consider any other factors, these chefs are already working with a budgetary constraint (assuming the restaurant isn't being subsidized by someone who really likes to throw money away) that is at best 2/3rds of their Australian and American competitors.

                                        If somebody decided to open a restaurant that charged on average 200 dollars a head for an elaborate tasting menu in Toronto would they get any customers? I wouldn't care to guess, perhaps some of you guys would like to finance this venture?

                                        1. re: Blueicus
                                          aser Feb 25, 2014 09:37 PM

                                          I work in the industry, I don't claim to know all. This is merely what I see.

                                          There is a serious talent drain in Toronto. There just aren't enough quality cooks for all these restos. It is hard to hire good staff nowadays. A lot of ambitious kids are cooking abroad = talent drain. Trust me when I say there aren't that many cooks w/ international experience in the city. Especially in comparison to NYC/SFC/CHi.

                                          There're a lot of lazy cooks in the city with poor hygiene, and.......dull knives!

                                          What foreign coworkers & I see from suppliers........Let's agree to disagree on ingredients.

                                          We're pretty low on the totem pole even w/i Canada. BC has the seafood, east coast also. QC has foie/cheese. What do we have? Um some overpriced beets from Cookstown Greens, red fife.........I'm embellishing a bit, but you get the point. Granted, we do have good beef (Cumbrae's) and pork (Perth), but it's not to the point of exceptional where it's worth shipping across the country to.

                                          As for the other parts, that's exactly the reason why talk of Michelin printing a guide is very far removed from reality. There isn't an appetite for posh food here. You're spot on.

                                          Nothing wrong with that, I've come to accept that about Toronto.

                                          1. re: aser
                                            Blueicus Feb 25, 2014 10:16 PM

                                            I dunno, if you have come to accept that about Toronto then I feel that you should write off the entirety of Canada (including Montreal). I know enough chefs over here that bemoan the lack of talented cooks and the mediocre products (I can literally count the number of local 'sustainable' species of seafood everybody puts on their menu with my fingers and still have digits left over for picking my ears) to the conservative dining public with their sometimes Portlandia-like list of dietary restrictions. Heck, we don't even have a restaurant that offers a standard tasting menu that breaks even the $100 CDN mark!

                                            The Okanagan peaches are generally inferior to Niagara peaches and I've heard enough people here say the same about the tomatoes. I could go on and on about what chefs complain about here but I think we can all agree that we believe the grass is greener on the other side, perhaps even with some pretty wildflowers and teeming with good wild venison.

                                            (Also added one more thing because I feel it's particularly important): Chefs (myself included) can complain that we can't find talent and no one's willing to put in the work in whatever city we're living in or that they don't want to pay their dues, or even the farmers are growing crap for us to cook with, but at the end of the day it's up to us to make sure these people want to be working for us or producing food that we are all proud of serving and to want to do it well. We can say Canada doesn't have the same culinary heritage as Scandinavia, or France, or Japan, or even the US, but these excuses sound hollow when countries that are either smaller than us and/or younger than us are eclipsing us in influence

                      2. re: BlackMambaSommelier
                        justxpete Feb 22, 2014 12:08 PM

                        Victor was cooking at Splendido for the better part of a year prior to Yannick and David's departure.

                        I've been a frequent regular under both 'groups' of proprietors. While the old Splendido was more formal, Victor's cooking often equals David at his best, and for a few periods, surpassed the former iteration at it's best.

                        The new menu is a work in progress, so we'll see where it ends up.

                        1. re: BlackMambaSommelier
                          Apprentice Feb 22, 2014 02:13 PM

                          Splendido would almost IMMEDIATELY receive ONE star if Michelin reviewed Canada. Having dined at one stars in France, Italy and Belgium Splendido has been on par or superior to most. 3 stars, I'm willing to concede they might need some work on (though I can't really point my finger on what - and many chefs have no idea as well how they received their 3rd star). The emphasis some cliental (and chefs) put on Michelin ratings is silly.

                          As for fixed menus - they look great!

                        2. re: justxpete
                          asagiri Feb 23, 2014 11:56 AM

                          Can someone confirm if the promotion is applicable only if you order both the tasting menu with wine pairings together? Or can you just try the tasting menu and still receive the discount?


                          1. re: asagiri
                            Charles Yu Feb 23, 2014 12:59 PM

                            Give them a phone call at 416-929-7788 and get the answer directly from the horse's mouth!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              foodyDudey Feb 24, 2014 08:36 AM

                              The horse is probably on the plate, so may not have much to say! :-)

                        3. prima Feb 24, 2014 04:34 AM

                          Does anyone know if, in practice, the 5 course is fairly flexible or allows substitutions, if a diner doesn't want a dessert course?

                          While I can see it's easier for a restaurant to keep things simple by offering the choice of 5 course and tasting, as someone who often order a few first courses and no dessert, I don't see why a 2 or 3 course option (allowing for a selection of 2 or 3 courses off the 5 course menu) for diners with less time and/or less appetite isn't offered/posted on the online menu.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: prima
                            The Chowhound Team Feb 24, 2014 05:47 PM

                            We removed a bunch of replies here. The debate over whether doctoring your dinner with condiments is disrespectful or okay isn't really local to Ontario (there are lots of threads on this on General Topics and Not About Food, though, if anyone wants to keep having this conversation) and this version of it is getting pretty unfriendly.

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