Last week ML and I headed to 35 Elm St after reading about a dish there, created by chef Andrea Nicholson. My interest was piqued not by the dish but rather, the name of the chef who I had recalled worked at Senses, a restaurant we had both really enjoyed. I don't know the exact history of 35 Elm but in a past life it was an Il Fornello. I think, but am not certain, that Il Fornello in a rebranding attempt renamed the location to 35 Elm. And now I suspect that the current incarnation bears no relation to Il Fornello, other than retaining the name and perhaps some branding. If someone can add insight on this, please do.
Regardless, we really enjoyed our meal there. Started with an amuse of beef carpaccio and Israeli cous cous. Excellent bread was provided along with a terrific hoummous-like dip. Generally I am not keen on the hoummous-like dips provided by restaurants as they are often poor riffs on the authentic form. This one however was very tasty.
We split a Ploughmen's Plate for an app. Excellent in every respect. Cured artisanal meats were delicious as was ultra-smooth chicken liver pate and the vegetables pickled in house were terrific.
ML had "BBQ" Georgian Bay Trout with a lobster and wheat berry succotash, while I had a pasta special - pappardelle with braised lamb and porcini mushroom. We enjoyed both but I think the porcini flavour on the pappardelle could have been more pronounced. As a side note, one of the more amusing dishes on offer is a take on beer can chicken, using Cornish hen and Labatt 50. Also notable is a nice wine list featuring interesting Ontario wines.
For dessert we shared "Peaches and Cream", a terrific dish which included creme brulee with pieces of peaches interspersed served alongside a husk of corn filled with caramel popcorn.
Service was generally very good - some on the floor are more experienced than others - but everyone is friendly and what I believe is the owner/sommelier was helpful.