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Restaurant Review - Pure Spirits Oyster House

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Fwagra Jul 9, 2003 09:40 AM

Last night, I had dinner at this restaurant in the Distillery District.

The Distillery District is the site of the old Gooderham & Worts booze complex at the foot of Parliament Street (approximately). Some local visionaries have decided to develop it into a gallery/food/entertainment complex. Thus far, they have done a good job of it: it's an amazing site just to walk around. Historical buildings and cobblestones paths make it seem like you've stepped into another time. It's neat. But back to the food.

I expected nothing but average, tourist-destination food. Something maybe a little better than the Hard Rock Cafe.

The menu reads well. The dishes sound good. The bread is incredibly fresh and served with olive tapenade. I have 3 pieces of this bread, which might be baked in the nextdoor bakery. Things are looking good.

We order appetizers: shrimp cocktail, and seared ahi tuna on a potato and stilton salad with julienned snowpeas. Shrimps are sweet, fresh, and plentiful. Not a trace of fishy nastiness. Cocktail sauce was good enough (needs horseradish).

The tuna was perfect. Literally. The texture was flawless. The potato salad was delicious, and the dish was also encircled with a delicate chili oil which gave a much needed bite to the otherwise creamy potato salad.

My main was scallops, atop a wonderful mushroom stew with potatoes, all in a red-wine syrup. I couldn't believe it: my scallops were not overdone. They were perfectly done. They were 4 sizeable scallops which were caramelized on the outside, but perfectly soft on the inside. The sauce was very good, if a bit sweet. The mushrooms were divine; they used at least 3 different wild mushrooms. The potatoes were adequate, but not enough of them. On the whole, the dish was very very good. In fact, the whole meal was a winner. Service was atrocious, but they're working on it.

Apparently, the chef comes from the Royal York hotel. Enjoy.

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