Midi is a French bistro on McCaul, just around the corner from the busy Baldwin Street restaurant strip. The room is pretty and warm, with red walls and red leather backs on the chairs, a bar along the back wall, large mirrors, French movie posters and an all-around authentic bistro feel.
The menu is designed so that one can order two or three-course prix fix dinners ($28 and $32 respectively), with mains otherwise coming in at $21.50 and apps variously priced. There were four daily specials — soup (lentil), appetizer (gravlax!), fish (tilapia), and a beef burgundy — which did have some influence on our menu decisions. We were offered some tap water (often refilled from a pretty white pitcher), and some really amazing crusty country bread while we worked on our wine and waited for dinner. The wine list is mostly French, and favours the Languedoc region. It is reasonably priced, most in the $30- or $40-something range and maxing out well below $100. Our Grenache was very drinkable and worked well with our meals. The house-cured gravlax presented as nice portion of fish layered on top of a spinach salad and dressed in tangy, citrus-y vinaigrette, along with some capers. It was a good size for splitting and a pleasant start to the meal.
Mr. Rabbit went with the beef burgundy for his main, which he said was very well executed — beef, bacon, mushrooms with some braised veg on top — everything you’d expect, and with a tasty sauce. Very fortifying. I had the lamb shank, a regular menu item our server insisted has been a customer favourite since they opened. This is, I discovered, with good reason. The lamb was tender, delicious, falling off the bone, and served with matchstick vegetables, still slightly crunchy (in a good way), and floating in a vermouth reduction that was a perfect complement to this dish. The shank was very sizeable, with lots of meat left for Mr. Rab to scavenge once I’d had my feed. We were also brought a dish of frites for sharing. These were slightly McDonald’s-y, but still really good and satisfying.
Dessert involves a lot of bistro favourites — profiteroles, crème brulee, a chocolate walnut cake, and a tarte tatin (our choice). The tarte was a small individual serving with a cookie-like crust and beautiful rusty-brown apples. The pie worked well with the cinnamon ice cream, which was actually kind of special. We washed this down with a calvados and Mr. Rabbit had some coffee (with sugar wrapped in those pretty paper cubes that one gets in France).
The kitchen was perhaps a little slow, given that the restaurant wasn’t very busy, but it wasn’t annoyingly slow, and I’d take the relaxed pace over any rush. Our server was affable enough with a slight air of French indifference — but in a way that only heightened the bistro experience as opposed to making us want to leave.
Overall, a really positive experience. Everything very pleasantly met or slightly exceeded our modest expectations. It was solid. I can’t recommend this as a destination, but if you’re in the hood, give it a chance.
Oh, the financials… Midi calculated our bill as one 3 course prix fixe ($32) plus one entrée ($21.40), wine ($38ish), coffee and calvados ($9ish)… $140 with tax and tip. Well worth it.
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