The $10 Winterlicious lunch at Caju was a very pleasant surprise. Choice of heart of palm salad, delicious fruity dressing/ caldo verde soup; vegetarian dumpling of the day/ fancy chicken sandwich; passionfruit mousse/"brigadeirao" (in plain English, a dense chocolate paste on a crackle).
The cooking is very tasty with tropical notes; interesting and refined, but without being precious or silly; and certainly satisfying.
At Caju you ain't at no Brazilian trough (eg Cabana Carioca NYC, yum yum, burp burp). The salad, dumpling and chocolate "thing" were worthy of being on the menu of restuarants which have claims for themselves much larger than Caju's. (But it might be a Catch 22- being there would mean that they would be screwed up.)
The sense that we got at Caju was that the chef/owner was a real cook: give hime some ingredients and he will make a nice dish, rather than give him a recipe and he will execute it correctly. And he has an aesthetic that appealed to us a great deal. How different to most "nice" places in Toronto where good execution is a challenge to the kitchen and culinary brains are scant and scrambled.
Our only negative comment is with respect to the soup, the caldo verde. There was nothing wrong with the soup, but it didn't go with the rest of the cooking. The fault wasn't in the cooking, but in the selection. The soup didn't have the sparkle, brightness or complexity of the rest of the dishes, essentially it had different cooking values.
The room is designer modern sophisticate and has a gorgeous Brazilian red jatoba floor.
In short, Caju was a treat.