Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Summerlicious in Toronto

After a couple of weeks back in New York City and Connecticut, it was time to head back to Canada. Dan surprised me with a couple of nights in Toronto, including dinner reservations at Bymark for Summerlicious. ($20.04 lunches/$30.04 dinners, akin to NYC's Restaurant Week.)

Lighting created a warm, intimate environment, and despite the contemporary, stylized decor (it reminded both of us of Craft), the service was friendly and never felt patronizing or rushed (or slows, for that matter). We arrived around 9:30 p.m. for our 10 p.m. reservation, happy to have a seat at the bar while we waited, but we were pleasantly surprised to be seated right away. We're used to Manhattan restaurants, where seating is often quite cramped, so we relished our corner spot at the banquette where we were able to sit close to each other, but not close enough to the couple at the next table to feel intruded upon.

Intrigued by the creative cocktail menu, I chose a Berry Collins($10.50) that was outstanding. It featured muddled fresh berries below a refreshing gin Collins -- the natural sweetness of the berries contrasted the tart, piney flavor typical of a gin Collins, but had none of that syrupy sweetness that ruins so many well intended cocktails. We were presented with both the regular and Summerlicious menus, and the Summerlicious menu offered 3 selections for appetizers and main courses, as well as a few options available for an upgraded price($8-10 extra per course).

Steak tartare was freshly prepared and well seasoned, with a quail egg perched on top. The creaminess of the yolk was a nice contrast to the firm, cool tartare, and the citrus dressing on the accompanying greens was delicious as well. Terrine of foie gras ($8 upgrade) was also excellent -- and both appetizer portions were ample enough to sustain the "half-way swap" of which Dan and I are fans.

For entrees, we chose Pickering served with pea risotto and asparagus and mustard chicken served with vingered potato salad and green beans. Everything was perfectly cooked -- the vegetables were crisp, the risotto and potatoes all yielded to a slight bite, and both the fish and chicken were moist and flavorful. We selected a reasonably priced ($32)Chardonnay/Semillon blend to accompany our meal, and it was refreshing and almost effervescing.

For dessert, we ordered one of each of the selections: an upside down pear cake, served with a mildly tart sour cream ice cream and a meringue over fresh berries topped with a lemon cream. Both featured balanced flavors, well executed and presented that had defined our meal.


Post a Comment

<< Home