Cosmo- French Hungarian -St Clair Dufferin
- Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 5, 2003 11:09 AM
Cosmo Restaurant 1201 St. Clair Ave. West ( just west of Dufferin, Municipal parking on nearby Via Italia)
416-658-6555. Supper seven days, lunch six.
One of the best dining experiences in Toronto. This establishment would be considered good in France after its type. And very reasonably priced too!
A charming if eccentricly painted room, coloured paper on white table clothes. You can take almost anyone there from the standpoint of ambience, food quality and choice.
Cosmo advertises itself as French Hungarian. What this means is that the owners are Hungarian and their training is classic French. What this turns into is minimal fat, manageable but satisfying portions, an interesting menu and dishes with full but harmonious flavours. Some dishes are typical French, some Hungarian. Cooking is to a high standard. Our meals on several visits were good from beginning to end; many dishes were superb.
So for example: very good bread and hummus dip; super cold cherry soup (both montmorency and morello types) and French onion soup.
As the bread and soup go, so goes the rest of the meal. We liked everything. Very tasty duck confit, wiener schnitzel like a cloud (veal or chicken), cornish hen with wine soused prunes, salmon pasta; bunless lamburger with frites (special super for the frites) at lunch.
Desserts were superb: flourless chocolate cake (intense chocolate taste);pavlova like a dacquoise (really for two); creme brulee as good as the best remembered from France; a light cheesecake of perfect weight to go with the cooking.
Curiously ,I thought the crepes to be a non event. They were technically correct, but a piece of their bread with apricot jam would have been more satisfying and less work. But who am I to tell these guys about palascinta? In any event, I should not criticize the apricot crepe for not being made with cottage cheese and raisins.
I almost forgot the appetizers. Chicken and duck liver terrine (really pate) as good as the best I have had, excellent warm mushroom salad.
There is an early bird special, Monday to Saturday 4-7.00 pm; two of soup, salad, appetizer and desert plus a main, choice from full menu, for $25.00. This must be the best bargain in town. Reminiscent of prix fixe lunch bargains in good places in France.
Well, a bit of an exaggeration but only a bit. But hey, this is Toronto, and one of our alleged finest, Scaramouche, has (had? its been a while, for good reason) as its flagship desert, coconut cream pie (!) seemingly made from whipped cream, lots of gelatin, and coarsely shredded coconut as rebar (the reinforcing steel bars in concrete). Guaranteed not to separate.
There is no gelatin in Scaramouches coconut cream pie. It is mainly traditional patisserie cream with whipped cream folded in. It is based on a recipe from American pastry chef Jim Dodge, and can be found in one of his earlier publications. The ingredients may not be exotic, but it is delicious nonetheless.
My apologies twice fold, once for presenting an assumption, twice for being wrong.
The coconut cream pie produced under the original prior owner had as a filling a rich, full custard which was sensual in the mouth, and was topped by whipped cream etc if I remember. The pie was in the style thatI consider classic diner, but as if produced by a diner in heaven. However I had also been served a piece of pie in which the custard was separating.
Two years ago I purchased a whole pie to go. The pie had changed (as had ownership). The pie was a pastry shell filled with the mixture that J Gorman describes. The filling was done as if a foam. The filling in the last piece, seven days later, was as firm and without deterioration as in the whole pie the day I bought it. The venerable birthday "child" for whose party I bought the pie enjoyed it immensely and for the seven days that it lasted. The pie was made with great skill; however it was not to my taste. VVM
I have long lost cravings for dishes such as the 'super cold (morrella) cherry soup, wiener 'puffed-up like a cloud'shnitty, and palascinta. These are the dishes that dreams are made from.
When I finally get to Torronto, I'll be sure to place my order days ahead, and reserve myself a table.
Oh, dear. I guess this had to happen. I went there last month and had the worst meal I can recall having in Toronto. So bad, that I didn't feel I could do an objective review without trying it again - and I have no inclination to return!
Overcooked food, offhand service, uninspired wine list. Neither French nor Hungarian - reminds me of home cooking - I left home very young.