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summerlicious report - still on this week!

j
J Jul 7, 2003 11:39 AM

The "Summerlicious" even continues through Thurs. We had dinner at Edo last night and the place was NOT full... so there is evidently space at some of the venues. I encourage all to take advantage of some great prices at very nice restaurants.

Our EDO dinner did have small portions (about perfect for me, but my husband was left a little hungry) but the food was delicious. An amuse of tofu salad followed by 6 barbecued salmon maki, then our choice of lemongrass chicken (delicious portions of chicken lightly fried in a thin, crisp breading & served with vegetables) or shrimp tempura (2 large shrimp and vegetables in non-greasy, light tempura with sauce) followed by a desert of fried banana with ice cream & chocolate sauce. All very tasty, and the bill for 2 with tax & tip came to $50.

Details of participating restaurants are on the website at www.toronto.com

  1. j
    J Jul 14, 2003 12:33 PM

    Now that the week is wrapped up here is my "report card":

    Epic - B+ - very good food, quiet setting, we were not made to feel "2nd class" although they also offered regular menu. Portions were generous & desert delicious (creme brulee with mango sorbet. $30 dinner. My favourite for the food & atmosphere.

    Pangaea - A - Also very good food & service, noisy, they seemed to offer only Summerlicious so we felt well looked after. Portions generous. Desert was berries so good but not fancy. Salmon especially delicious. $30 dinner. My husband's favourite.

    Indian Rice Factory - B-/C - we went for lunch & it was my first time so I'm not sure of their usual style. Service was slow and very grumpy. Food very good but portions small. Still good value & all very tasty for $10/person lunch.

    Edo - B- - offering usual menu and we had to ask for the summerlicious one. Portions quite small. Service good but were "pushing" extras eg. mineral water, wine. Food delicous but my husband left still hungry. $20 dinner.

    1. e
      estufarian Jul 11, 2003 11:41 AM

      What a surprise.
      The food was excellent - best I've had at Summerlicious - and it was only a $20 menu. Had both the Coq au Vin and the Lamb. Both cooked perfectly.
      Yes, it's trendy (we had to wait for our reservation), but apparently they are going to serve the $20 menu all summer - providing you are there before 7:00pm. After 7 it will be $30 (and still good value).
      If you're over 25 or commit a fashion crime you'll be relegated to the back room - which is a little quieter. Service is best described as 'offhand' - "I'm Justin and I'll get back to you when I feel like it". If there's a line-up (most of the time) don't expect to be offered coffee - the bill will arrive and your table cleared. Incidentally the 'busers' were superb - they really seemed to care.
      And the 'cheap' menu was given to everybody - no attempt to upsell (but we did order better wine and a side order). But still waiting for my coffee.

      1 Reply
      1. re: estufarian
        t
        the_girl Jul 14, 2003 05:59 PM

        I agree with almost all of your review, except: I felt quite honoured to sit in the back room. It's elegant, and it makes dining an event.
        To add to the glowing reviews of the lamb and coq, the salmon was great as well. Soup of the day was vichysoise, and it was superbly done.

      2. e
        estufarian Jul 9, 2003 11:00 AM

        Oh dear!
        Not a good idea.
        I have been a booster of Lai Wah heen for years (but usually go for lunch). This time was (almost) a disaster.
        Ordering from the Summerlicious menu, you feel like a second-class citizen. The menus were dumped on the table, not handed to us. I asked for the wine list - it was put on the table (not handed) next to Chowspouse. No hot towels (regular diners get those). The food is not bad, although bland but was again just dumped down. No word on the accompanying rice which turned up a about a minute after the dish it complemented.
        And the whole meal from being seated to finish (we had to wait - there was nobody at reception, and the first person who came was a server (returning menus) who didn't go and get the receptionist) took 31 minutes!!! But it took another 35 minutes to get out - finding a server then asking for the bill TWICE. And nobody offered coffee (we ordered tea and wine with the meal).
        The ingredients were fresh and cooked well - but the overall experience was very disappointing. And perusing the menu I was still surprised at the prices. High $20's for each course and wine prices about triple retail (and only 1 sake on the list - I know it's Chinese, but surely they can do better than that). And a table of 2 near us tried to order a dish that was on the menu for 4 - they didn't succeed in getting a smaller portion. And several of the more attractive dishes on the menu are for 4 people.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estufarian
          d
          DUH CAR Jul 24, 2003 02:12 PM

          We went for Summerlicious as well to try restaurants that we haven't gotten around to and were disappointed.
          You would think that they would be trying to impress folks, instead it was so-so hot/sour soup and wokked shrimp with a mango pudding for dessert. Nothing special to the presentation.

          Plus the prices on the regular menu seemed a tad too expensive. Maybe they count on hotel guests on expense accounts...........

          Wont't go again.

        2. w
          Wasif Jul 9, 2003 10:33 AM

          called on a whim yesterday morning and was told they were booked all week long; undeterred, stopped by for a late lunch and, wouldn't you know it, a table *was* available.

          Started off with a bit of shrimp, avocado and a halved hard-boiled egg on a bed of lettuce. The chosen entree was a rather nice lemon risotto topped with filet of salmon (all nice and flakey). Dessert was a disappointment; by the time the pineapple sorbet w/ strawberries arrived, the sorbet itself had almost completely melted. Service was attentive and prompt.
          Not bad, all things considered: this hardly qualifies as a top-tier restaurant at the best of times, but Bouchon pulls off the good-food-in-a-casual-setting vibe rather handily.

          - wasif.

          1. j
            J Jul 8, 2003 09:06 PM

            Tried Pangaea last night. It was crowded & in contrast to EDO they seemed to be offering only the Summerlicious menu. Service was pleasant, food was great & the place was packed. Choice of soup (cold canteloupe) or salad (tomato & Bocacini cheese), either chicken with polenta or delicious grilled salmon, and desert was fresh berries & cream. Recommend it if you can still get a reservation.

            2 Replies
            1. re: J
              t
              Ted Jul 9, 2003 06:03 PM

              We also enjoyed Pangaea, on the 8th, and were very impressed, first with the courtesy and expedition of the original booking by Peter, and then with the food, wine and level of service.
              Scott made us feel wanted and checked carefully to see that we had been properly served, as he skillfully worked another large table of 10 nearby. I was very satisfied with the salmon, and the other three in the party were equally pleased with the chicken. Each serving was carefully seasoned, flavourful, and tastefully presented.

              My only caveat is the noise level. I was hoping that the high ceilings would help to dissipate the volume, and that some music would be discernible, but it was hard to have a meaningful conversation across the table. This is not unique to Pangaea, as SUSUR becomes impossible to converse in also. Are Torontonians really that voluble or is it just me? Enough said on that aside. We'll see what the level is at the Corner House tonight.

              Please remind us when winterlicious comes around again!

              1. re: Ted
                j
                J Jul 14, 2003 12:25 PM

                Noise level is a huge issue since the current trend is for very "modern" minimalist decor with all hard surfaces... Pangaea is all metal and wood, Susur wood & ? plastic. Until drapery, wall hangings or (dare I say it?) carpeting becomes design-acceptable again we will not be able to converse quietly at our tables. To me this is a true case of restaurants as fashion victims!

            2. c
              cecilia Jul 7, 2003 05:20 PM

              I went to SteakFrites on Sunday night. Appetizer: cucumber soup / tomato salad, Entree: 7 oz Sirloin (w/ mushroom and frites) / snapper, Dessert: Brie & fruit / strawberry rhubarb crumble. The restaurant was busy but not full. And the steak was very good. Great value for $20.03.

              1. f
                Fwagra Jul 7, 2003 04:46 PM

                Interesting. I, too, had dinner at EDO on that night. I was a bit surprised about how busy it was. They did not tell me that they were participating in the Summerlicious thing.

                The only indication anywheer was a Summerlicious wine special which offered some unexceptional Ontario wines by the glass for high prices.

                I like Edo, but it's overpriced.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Fwagra
                  j
                  J Jul 8, 2003 09:03 PM

                  Didn't tell you? I think that is shabby. If the event is on everyone dining should be given the opportunity to choose that menu (if you want). I agree it is overpriced but for $20/person we were happy with our Summerlicious

                2. b
                  Bram Jul 7, 2003 01:37 PM

                  We were at YYZ Saturday with a group of 8 and it was empty by the time we got there for our 9:30 reservation. Was surprised that there was only one choice for each course, however, the food was outstanding and great value. Appetizer was a sweet potato puree with slivered pear and procuitto, followed by the best grilled salmon I've eaten atop a shrimp risotta cake and a delicious soy-ginger reduction. Dessert was a banana strudel with caramel suace an vanilla ice cream. Non fish eaters will be very dissapointed as all that was offered was a veggie plate.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bram
                    j
                    joanna Jul 15, 2003 04:06 PM

                    i was at YYZ on friday with 6 friends and while i am so sick of the uber modern decor thing, the food was great, especially the grilled asian salmon.

                    rosewater supper club is extending their prix fixe for all of this week and i'm going to welcome home a friend who has been travelling abroad for 6 months with a group, should be great, and as a group of university students we certainly couldnt afford the rosewater otherwise!

                  2. v
                    vand Jul 7, 2003 01:36 PM

                    My sister and I went to Sintra on Thursday. We had a nice dinner, but I was surprised at the taxes when we got the bill. GST was listed, but instead of PST, there was a 10% "food tax". I haven't seen this before. Do other restaurants charge such a tax?

                    1. e
                      estufarian Jul 7, 2003 12:16 PM

                      Tried the Brasserie at Bb33. Food was 'OK' but not inspired. Great value though, although the 'sponsored' Canadian wines weren't that exciting (although also cheaper than on their regular list). And only saw a couple of other tables ordering the Summerlicious menu.
                      Have reservations for Lie Wah Heen and Brasserie Aix.
                      It's also best to reserve - I heard that Cafe Pleiades could have turned all tables 5 times on Saturday if they'd been able to accept all reservations.
                      So the whole idea seems to be a great success.
                      Now lets push for a BYOB week!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: estufarian
                        c
                        Chili Jul 7, 2003 02:16 PM

                        I unfortunately did not get to try any Summerlicious restaurants, but I love your idea of a BYOB week! Count me IN!

                        1. re: estufarian
                          n
                          neighborguy Jul 9, 2003 12:17 PM

                          LWH was a disappointment. Good food, nicely presented, but the small portions even at a 'discount' and the whole experience was nothng to write home about. I'd never been there before and was expecting something much more grand.

                          1. re: neighborguy
                            n
                            neighborguy Jul 9, 2003 03:06 PM

                            I forgot to mention what we (3) had:
                            Soup: wonton or hot and sour
                            Meat:
                            chicken stirfry with peppers, pineapple and pickeled ginger, or ;
                            stirfry beef with mushrooms, or ;
                            shimp in spicy sauce with minced port
                            Served with a bowl of fried rice
                            Desert: mango jelly

                            Like I say, the food was good (not great), and the value was not there. I was not WOWed and can't say that I'd even think about returning to LWH. I know the chances of something great are as good going elsewhere.

                          2. re: estufarian
                            d
                            Dean Tudor Jul 12, 2003 07:39 PM

                            Estufarian's idea is a great idea...Let's get a groundswell of opinion and people and rush the Leg. Bldgs....that's what it will take. In the long run, it might be cheaper to charter a bus to Hull or Montreal...The Alco Games people will never agree...

                            1. re: estufarian
                              d
                              Dean Tudor Jul 12, 2003 07:40 PM

                              Estufarian's idea is a great idea...Let's get a groundswell of opinion and people and rush the Leg. Bldgs....that's what it will take. In the long run, it might be cheaper to charter a bus to Hull or Montreal...The Alco Games people will never agree...

                            2. t
                              Tina Jul 7, 2003 12:01 PM

                              Has anyone tried the Rosewater for summerlicious? How was the menu? Portion sizes?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Tina
                                l
                                Lisa Jul 8, 2003 05:04 PM

                                I didn't go to Rosewater for Summerlicious but from my experience with Winterlicious (this past February), the portion size was substantial. I had a scallop appetizer with 3 large scallops and the filet mignon was amazing. It was probably 8 oz. Not too shabby and at a reasonable price. I think the filet mignon itself was over $30.

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