Okay, this is going to be a quick and dirty review from a gal who calls it like it is:
This place doesn't have their liquor license, it was empty as all f*ck for lunch, but the meal was a fantastic meal.
Onion Soup Dumplings, Skate, Chipotle Dill Caesar Salad and Lemon Meringue pie for dessert.
It's been a long time since I had a meal like that in the city, to the point, I had to meet the chef. "Luckily" it wasn't busy at lunch so Greg came out - WHAT A GREAT GUY!!! He even had the server bring out some of his favorite cheese (Epoisse) for me to try - I felt like an all star.
With that said, let's go through the meal...
The restaurant is beautiful on the inside, open and airy. So comfortable.
The service fantastic! Quick, educated and efficient. Recommendations came out effortlessly, and I had no problems going with them.
Soup dumplings were delicious... Think French Onion Soup in a dumpling. Such a new and interesting experience, but a perfect amuse bouche before the meal.
The Caesar salad was so novel! Imagine the old standby, but presented in a crisp ringette and a unique dill and chipotle dressing that was interesting and compelling. Lightly dressed romaine radiated with dill while the chipotle added a unique bite that elevated the entire dish to something that reaffirmed my faith in Caesar salad.
Skate was grilled and served on a bed of fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts and carrots. The fish flaked like a well braised piece of beef and melted on the tongue. Greg said soaking in milk is necessary to remove the alkaline nature of the fish. He also assured it wasn't an endangered variety. He said, he enjoys how the flavour is buttery like that of crab, and it was. I had to protect my dish from my dining partner!
Dessert was a beautiful bite of lemon meringue. Pastry Chef Britney Peglar is another talent that defected from Rain and she brought with her a novel approach to pastry. I enjoyed her lemon curd - I find in Canada it can so often be muddled in its preparation. Too bitter, too sweet, too running, too thick, to pre-packaged. Britney's was a thick little disk that melted on the tongue and I wished it was bottled to take home.
This was all without wine pairings - keep that in mind.
Nota Bene is around the corner, and trust me, I had a PHENOMINAL MEAL there as well, however, Nota Bene's price point appears to be sneaking up since it's opening. Forte on the other hand appears to be committed to their prices as they are looking to reintroduce upscale bistro fare to Toronto.
I think I am in love with Greg Argent's cooking. Is he the head chef still at Cru?
My fear is that everyone's going to judge it harshly because they don't serve wine... well at the moment. Apparently the license has just been delayed but everything else is in effect. I just don't want this gem of a resto get an unfair chance because people are adament of their wine/food pairing.
Trust me, I'm gushing, but the food really does hold it's own.
Go for lunch and correct me if I'm wrong!