Restaurants & Bars

Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bar Isabel: An interesting 'Hit and Miss' experience!


More from Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants & Bars Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bar Isabel: An interesting 'Hit and Miss' experience!

Charles Yu | | Jul 16, 2013 08:18 PM

After getting stuck in downtown traffic for almost half an hour, due to a fire near Liberty Village, we finally arrived at this relatively spanking new Spanish Tapas place, half an hour late! At 6.30, it was PACKED!!

Our order of 1 Cocktail, 2 Beers and over 10 different dishes were ' photographically memorized ' by our super friendly and knowledgeable waiter!

We had the following:

- Devilled Duck Eggs, Salt Cod, Morilla Blood Sausage, Hollandaise
- Chips, Boquerones (Anchovies), Piquilla, Jalapeno
- Sauteed Snow Pea Shoot, Chick Peas, Almonds
- Grilled Asparagus, Flax Seed, Marcone Almond, Mahon Sauce
- Roast Alaskan King Crab
- Whole Grilled Octopus
- Fried Chicken w/ Buttermilk Sauce
- Grilled Hanger Steak & Shashito Pepper
- Basque Cake & Sherry Cream
- Macerated Strawberries, Warm Lemon Curd, Walnut Crumble

Overall, the verdict on the meal is a curious one! We all found the 'Cheap' dishes a 'Hit'. All the expensive, House specialties, a disappointing 'Miss' and the best dish of the night a 'Dessert'!!

Here are a few detailed break down:

Both the Devilled eggs and Boquerone were a big success. The latter when eaten with the chips and chili peppers was a taste bomb with attractive textural interplay! ( Cheap dishes )

Both vegetable dishes were well prepared and nicely seasoned or sauced. The snow pea shoots, in particular, with its smokey 'wok-hay' flavor were perfectly cooked! ( Cheap dishes )

Roast Alaskan King Crab was delicious but the texture of the meat was surprisingly 'mushy'. A disappointment! ( Expensive dish )

Whole Grilled Octopus was surprisingly tender but the taste was bland and though looked charred, it lacked the smokey aroma and flavor usually associated with such an appearance! Another disappointment ( Expensive dish )

Grilled Hanger Steak was cold when arrived at our table. Meat was tougher than normal and lacked proper seasoning! Another forgettable dish ( Expensive dish )

The boneless, dark meat, Fried Chicken was greaseless, super crunchy and crispy skin, nicely seasoned and very moist interior.. One of the better fried chicken rendition in town. Unfortunately, one of the pieces was undercooked ( We saw pink. It could be due to the lighting effect, but we played safe by not eating it ). Our apologetic waiter was very kind by bringing it back to show Chef Grant and a freshly cooked piece was brought out later! Very professional service! Bravo!

The Basque Cake and Sherry Cream dessert was one of the best dessert I have eaten this year, world wide!! Simple and plain looking, however, the sweet crunchy almond dough perimeter which surrounded a soft moist interior was utterly delicious when eaten together with the amazing Sherry Cream sauce! Soooo goood!!

Comparing to my favorite Tapas place in town -Torito's, I found Torito's offering to be more refined, flavorful and consistent!
Comparing to other tapas place outside of Spain. If NYC's Michelin 1* Casa Mono is say a 10, Hong Kong's Ship 22 a 9, then Bar Isabel is only about a 7 in my book.