i've been eagerly anticipating the opening of delux, the new restaurant that replaced the much loved sparrow (i know there were sparrow critics on the board, but many of us in the hood loved its intimate casual vibe, and generally tasty unpretentious food). while i will always remember sparrow fondly, i must say that the new restaurant is a better replacement. the chef corinna mozo was praised by some toronto critics in anticipation of the opening, and i think the praise was well deserved.
first, the decor has changed from shabby chic to more rustic elegance (no more quirky staircase to nowhere:)), white walls, grey banquettes, marble tabletops, and dark wood accents. bathrooms thankfully much upgraded, although the staircase leading to them remains trecherous. the place feels more grown up and the clientele, while mixed in ages, seems a bit older (ie. late 30s to early 40s, rather than mid-20 to late 30s - although still very hip:) ).
the restaurant offers a basic french bistro food, with a bit of cuban influence (the cuban-french fusion was mozo's signature at her previous gigs). the menu for now has basic bistro fare: duck confit, steak frites, garlic roasted chicken, boulabaisse (sp.), mussels etc. very seasonal, most dishes came with different types of root vegetables. we shared a arugula salad with beets and chevre (the latter pan fried in nicely seasoned coating). for mains i had the cubano sandwich, and my partner had steak frites. the salad was very nice, not mind-blowing, but perfectly fresh and tasty, with a nice zesty dressing. the steak was perfectly rare done - really did melt in the mouth. my partner thought that it was slightly oversalted, i disagreed. my cubano was really delicious - grilled sanwich composed of grilled chicken, ham, gruyere, little pickles, mustard and mayo. all these flavours melted together produced a really yummy savoury, spicy, zesty medley of flavours. the frites were good (not jamie kennedy good but good), and came with a spicy chipotle mayo. with a bottle of california pinot noir, this was a very comforting tasty meal, just the kin dof bistro experience i think the chef is trying to create.
my only complaint is that i'd like to see more of the cuban influence in the menu. this is an accomplished chef who is comfortable in both cuisines - it'd be nice to see what she can do marrying the two. on the other hand, i love the fact that there is a french bistro in the hood (and if the cuban angle will remain minor, then our beloved julie's on dovercourt will not be endangered which is also good!).
the waiter told us that sunday brunch is being planned - probably will start in a couple of weeks.