From Euro modern cuisine to made-to-order burritos, Toronto has had its share of restaurant openings this summer. While my inability to procure a friend with access to a lofty expense account prevents me from reviewing each restaurant, I've pulled together a few articles and reviews on Toronto's latest.
Located in the charming Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood, Square opened in June to rave reviews. According to its website, Chef Neil McCue, formerly of Catch in Calgary, serves up Euro modern cuisine that showcases fresh seasonal and organic ingredients, with emphasis on fish and seafood. Square's goal is to deliver the 'ultimate modern metropolitan dining experience'. McCue's goal is for Square to be considered amongst Toronto's ten best restaurants. It all sounds good to me.
Toronto Life article
Globe and Mail review (added 9/23/04)
Flow Restaurant & Lounge
Although I have yet to try the food, I must say that Flow's contemporary style certainly fits into Toronto's posh Yorkville district far better than the nondescript Mövenpick that previously occupied the space. Headed by Chef Richard Andino, formerly of North 44, Flow's cuisine is diverse with hints of Asian influence.
Jewels of Toronto article
Globe and Mail review (added 9/23/04)
Since I live down the street from Friscos, I plan to go there often to find out what Cassoulet and Croque Monsieur should taste like before attempting to make my own. It's not everyday that a local brewpub gets transformed into a classic French brasserie, but it's a welcome change; particularly in an area that's become known for its unspectacular, touristy restaurants.
Located in Toronto's King West district, Loft purports to be a 'lounge-style, modern day pub.' To me it doesn't seem to be either a lounge or a pub, although visually it does bear some resemblance to a loft. With a menu that ranges from Nicoise salad to cookie 'n' ice-cream sandwiches, I'm lost in trying to define Loft's cuisine. Perhaps a visit is in order.
If you read the Toronto.com review below, you'll notice that Burrito Boyz, a 400 square foot basement burrito joint, was awarded five stars - the highest rating possible. That's higher than the ratings given to both Square (mentioned about), and The Fifth (a Mobil four star restaurant). This certainly wasn't the first time a fast food eatery has been given such a high rating, so confused as ever, I asked one of the site's food reviewers how this was possible when I spoke with him in May. His response (or at least my understanding of it) was that their ratings aren't based on a set of metrics or guidelines, but on a perceived value system. In other words, "did this restaurant give me value and enjoyment for what I paid and expected from the particular type of restaurant?" In short 'cheap and cheerful' restaurants aren't graded on the same scale as restaurants serving langoustines and caviar. To a large degree I understand the reviewer's point. Under a rating system that included all restaurants, you could have the best burrito in the world, and enjoy it as much as an elaborate nine course dégustation, but it would be near impossible to give the burrito joint more than two stars at the very most.
With my commentary out of the way, I should mention that I visited Burrito Boyz last night and it was excellent. A tortilla shell that's slightly crisp, beef sirloin that's grilled to order, fresh ingredients and spreads and sauces that are delicious and gooey (in a good way). For $5.50 you can get yourself something that will keep you full for the entire day.
CBC Radio review
Now Toronto review
Led by Vancouver pastry chef Thomas Haas, Senses Bakery is scheduled to open its second Toronto location next Friday, August 20th at Yonge and Queen. This will certainly be welcome news to the Eaton's Centre crowd who currently must trek to Yorkville or the Entertainment District for coffee and desserts.
Globe and Mail article
Olson Foods and Bakery
Although it's actually located in St. Catherines, the mere fact that Anna Olson has opened her own bakery merits a mention. Olson is the host of the Food Network Canada's cooking program 'Sugar' whose sole focus is desserts. She's best known for first creating a simple dessert before unleashing her revered ‘switch-up' to turn her work into a pièce de résistance.
Toronto Sun article
Make Mine a Table for One
While it's not a restaurant review per se, this article in the Toronto Star certainly caught my attention. Although I'm someone who hesitates at dining out alone, I do think it's likely I would appreciate my food more when eating solo, unless I was dining with another food lover. Of course, if the food was particularly bad, then perhaps conversation would be a welcome distraction.