one word: outstanding
wednesday evening had a 9:15 reservation for two and arrived essentially on time. the place wasn't very full and we were seated immediately.
setting: it has this masculine beauty to it that is compounded by the beige walls highlighted with dark brown and amber tones throughout. it feels like trendy canadiana, a bit harsh but with a touch of natural elements.
we took a peek through the regular menu and would have easily ordered anything out of it had money been plentiful. mains were at least $45 each. but the summerlicious menu was more than adequate.
ended up getting a bottle of sparkling water and started off the evening with a white cosmo and a berry collins. cosmo was great but the berry collins, while beautifully presented, was somewhat difficult to drink with pulpy bits blocking the straw.
anyhow, the food.... my sister ordered the seared tuna to start, seabass and chocolate paradise. i had the game terrine, grilled tuna (sushi grade) and chocolate paradise. off of the regular menu we got half a dozen of their oysters.
we were each given a piece of fairly normal bread and drinks took a short while to arrive. the oysters arrived and was a mix of two types, the rasperry oysters from the east coast were the clear favourites as they had a very salty flavour compared to the others we received. dipping sauces included the usual cocktail sauce, a mango relish that was tangy, and a vinegary red/yellow pepper concoction that we loved. shaved fresh horse radish on the side of course.
appetizers were great. the seared tuna was delicious and almost even barely seared with a seasame seed coating. it came in a soy based sauce which i found a tad too strong, basil and a couple ingredients i can't remember. very asian influenced, yummy but not what i was looking for. the terrine was delectable. it wasn't very gamey which sort of detracted, but the balance of the fat and the fleur de sel and the yummy brioche along with the side of apple brunoise and that gelatenous stuff you usually get on pate, was wonderful. i could sit and eat that terrine all day long.
as a note, the service of food was a tad slow in the beginning, but quickly sped up to very appropriate timing.
the mains smelled incredible upon arrival. the seabass was a fillet atop of lemon infused fingerling potatoes with onions and something else. it arrived with the skin so you know, for any of those squeamish people out there (i personally think skin is great :)). the seabass was a bit drier than i had expected but nevertheless delicious and made my sister quite happy, a seabass first timer. the potatos were great. i must always try whatever potato product is put out by the kitchen.... it's just my thing.
my tuna.... was more than sushi grade perfect. it was cooked perfectly on the grill so that there was a few millimeters of cooked tuna (i ordered it rare). the strong pepper rub on top was a perfect compliment along with the minty and and wasbi infused creme fraiche on the side. the avocado, cucumber and cherry tomato mixture was amazing too but underwhelmed when actually eaten with the tuna. now the tuna!!! my god... literally melted in my mouth. i was ecstatic.
the first thing i noticed about dessert was the scent of the caramelized banana and the vanilla infused cream it lay atop. the little mousse cake, while yummy.... was fairly norm so the bananas stole the show.
service: i would go back to this restaurant purely for the service. they made no assumptions regarding us being there for summerlicious and in fact they were impeccable. when we ordered the oysters i asked if they we had to order them by the 1/2 dozen and the waiter replied no so i asked for 4... he came back with the most distraught look telling us we had to order in either 1/2 or a full dozen and would retract the order should we be uninterested. of course we simply went for the 1/2 dozen. at one point during dessert my sister left for the washroom and as he was coming by to refill my water glass, he rearranged the plate on the table and folded up her napkin! i was surprised... a bit anal but at the same time wonderfully surprised.
i'm saying all this because someone had commented on winterlicious and how the service was atrocious once they had arrived. i wasn't in the same position, but i feel that i should express what we had experienced. if you can get a reservation at bymark, by all means go for it. it has been one of the best experiences i have ever had in a restaurant and they have definitely garnered a patron for life. now i just need to save up enough money ;)
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