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Chowhound report- Splendido (verbose)

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Chowhound report- Splendido (verbose)

Curtis | Mar 27, 2005 01:58 AM

In my slow but ongoing quest to visit all the highrolling restaurants in Toronto, I decided to visit Splendido Bar and Grill.

I arrived at the door right at around 5 pm, hoping to secure a table for later in the night. The person working at the front was very accomodating and had no problems fulfilling my requests for eating time.

Although the tasting menu was quite tempting, I opted to try the table d'hote instead (Only because I had severe foie gras cravings).

Dinner started with an amuse bouche of a soft boiled quail egg, white bean puree, and tuna tartare. It was a nice, refreshing, and subtle item, though the bean puree was a bit subtle for me.

The first course was the trio of duck, a duck "prosciutto", the foie gras au torchon with a compote and a slice of toasted brioche, duck gelatin, and a nugget of duck confit. I was pleasantly surprised by the prosciutto, as I thought it could've been a bit overpowering to eat as is (but wasn't). The foie gras was a pleasure and the brioche and compote were just wonderful accompaniments to the rich hunk of heaven, and finally the confit was simply awesome; the skin was crisp, the flesh was moist and tender, and all but a delicious sliver of duck fat remained. As good as this dish was (and even though I was quite full at the end of the meal), I wish I got just a bit more of the items to taste, they were a tad meagre for me.

The second item was billed as a tagliatelle with crisp sweetbreads, though it seemed like they replaced it with a tonnarelli (I didn't quite hear what my waiter said). The pasta was nicely cooked and subtle, which allowed the sweetbreads to really do the talking... and boy did they talk. It's the first time I've had sweetbreads, but it was really delicious in both taste and texture, none of the tastes one could expect by sloppily prepared offal. Though again, like in the last dish I wish I got a little more sweetbreads, or had a higher sweetbread/coating ratio.

I received an orange sorbet in the middle, which seemed a bit pithy tasting and from there I continued my meal.

I ordered the roasted fish with tiger prawn (the fish of the day was a French Sea Bass), which I asked for to be filleted. The server did a beautiful job of separating the filets, though perhaps in retrospect it's not the best idea to be eating whole fish and trying to keep one's composure. However, the fish and juicy tiger prawn were very well done, moist, crispy skin, fresh (although again I would've preferred a bit more accompaniment to the main seafood flavours other than the lemon).

For dessert I got the pineapple tarte tatin with yogurt sorbet, which was very nicely done, though the sauce/glaze that came with it was just a bit too sweet for my taste (and it made the delicious sorbet seem a bit puckerish after having them both together).

Throughout the meal I treated myself to the three kinds of bread, a flavourful multigrain and two other really nice breads whose names eluded me throughout the meal and got a class of very good South African (IIRC) Chenin Blanc.

The pinnacle of the meal, IMO was the exemplary service. My water was attentively filled, my every need anticipated and a sort of pampering I've never really gotten used to (despite my more "student-esque" attire and that I was hauling an extraordinarily heavy backpack).

Although it seems like I've made little gripes about each item, I really enjoyed the food and the service. Therefore, on my completely pointless numerical scale, I'd give the food a 4/5 and a 5/5 for service.

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