Eau, Crush, YYZ, Rouge or anything that reeks attitude...
Has anyone actually eaten at one of these places? I, as a lifelong chowhound, refuse to do so. Maybe I'm hasty about dismissing their food, but they seem to be so "I'm here for the attitude" places. I ate at Shanghai Cowgirl last year after reading about it and really regretted that. The food was nothing special, and they were already merchandising themselves 2 months after opening (e.g. Shanghai Cowgirl tank tops and keychains)
Just ate at YYZ this past Saturday for the second time. It was fairly warm, as they had their A/C turned down to address power usage concerns post-blackout. That said, when we inquired about the heat they immediately turned it up for a few minutes without our asking, and the rest of the meal the temperature was quite pleasant.
Our server was fantastic - very knowledgable about the menu with great recommendations. The menu was varied, and the wine list quite comprehensive. One of the nice touches on the wine list were vertical and parallel flights for wine tastings. I'd like to see this at more restaurants. For smokers (I'm not, but our out-of-town guest was), they have a sealed-in bar where you can puff and grab a cocktail while you're doing so.
The staff was very professional and unobtrusive, filling our wine and water glasses as necessary. Our food wonderfully plated, seasoned well, and delicious. I had an asparagus soup (*not* cream of asparagus), with crab and lobster dumplings, which was unusual and comforting. My companions had a foie gras appetizer and a "simple" salad, both of with which they were quite happy.
Our mains were quite large for a restaurant like this - Guest had a "chicken prepared two ways", with mashed potatoes and a delightful preparation of carrots - sliced lengthwise, and soaked in simmering beet juice with honey, anise, and another ingredient that escapes me - they come out looking red, and tasting wonderfully sweet and novel.
Wife had halibut, which was tender and flavorful - really good but not fantastic. I had a pork loin, that was stuffed with BBQ pork that had been pulled off the bone - a great combination, with a spicy sauce. Celery root, vegetables, and a garlic mashed potatoes finished my dish, which I consumed con gusto.
I was the only one who took dessert, a chocolate terrine with two cubes (?) of raspberry sorbet. If you like chocolate as much as I, this is not to be missed. It's normally served with a banana mousse and banana crisps, but I have a lifelong aversion to banana, and they readily modified it for me.
The only disappointing thing about our dining experience was that we were at the last seating (the last ones to arrive at the restaurant, in fact), and by the time we were done, it appeared we had been forgotten. Our amazing server appeared to have gone home without notice, and we were left at the mercy of the rest of the wait staff, none of whom apparently claimed us. Other than that, it would have been one of my top 10 toronto dining experiences this year.
That said, the next night (last night) my SO and guest went to Sen5es, and she said that it might be even better than Susur (or fave place to dine). The only thing that kept it from certainly being better was that as you likely know, at Susur if you have a couple of people having the tasting menu, often you have different dishes at each course, so you end up having many more courses than just the 5 or 7 you ordered. Sen5es had the same tasting menu for everyone.
SO raved, however - I'm looking forward to trying Sen5es myself soon.
As far as I'm concerned, YYZ = good, and I've yet to be there when it's full of pretension. In fact, it's usually been fairly empty of all but diners when I've gone. They also have an outdoor patio on which to dine, although I haven't been on it yet.
Hope this helps.
Had a business lunch at Crush on Wednesday. Wasn't crazy about my app (salad with beets - the corn sprouts were bitter/harsh and they'd nearly liquified the beet puree) but my main (chicken) was quite good.
I was impressed by the wine list, although I would prefer more selections by the glass. Our waiter was great too...the other diners in my party were quite happy...for what it's worth I'd visit a second time.
I totally agree. Have had dinner there three times in the past few months and found their waitstaff to be very knowledgable, friendly, attentive, with no trace of attitude. Plus I really like the room and the fact that there is plenty of space between each table. I did find their bar staff to have some attitude though. Their apps and fish entrees were all quite good but I don't know if their menu has changed since June.