Thanks to those who recommended Mildred Pierce restaurant. The atmoshpere, service, and ambience were all great. The food-- well, was a bit hit and miss. The mother-in-law had a fabulous time, which is the most important thing.
The restaurant is a little hard to find-- the entrance is at the side of the building, and signage is lacking. Plus, there is currently construction on Queen Street, making it a little difficult to navigate.
The evening started well, with prompt service of drink orders as we waited for the rest of our party. Appetizers that we ordered were the Shrimp and Crab Dumplings with saffron-coconut milk sauce and the Seared Scallops in a tomato-coriander sauce. Both were tasty, the sauces adding some necessary zing and flavour.
The wait for the mains to arrive was quite long. This was understandable to some degree, as some of our party arrived late, and we were a fairly large party. Our waitress informed us as much, saying that everything was made from scratch, which I appreciated. However, it still took about an hour and fifteen minutes (!), which had us all ravenous by the time the food arrived.
I ordered the Sea Bass with pinenut risotto, my wife had the Rack of Lamb with ratatouille and mash. Others ordered the Chicken Biryani with pilaf.
The sea bass was nice, but not spectacular. The lamb was also good, very tender and perfectly medium. The ratatouille was ok, as was the risotto (creamy with parm and some toasted pinenuts). The major problem with the mains was the portions-- the amount of risotto with the fish was about three to four heaping tablespoons, as was the fennel mashed that accompanied the lamb. And after waiting so long for the mains to arrive, we were still hungry for more.
So on to dessert. The Vanilla Creme Brulee was a favourite, with the custard silky smooth, and the caramelized top reminiscent of toasted marshmallow. The Pecan Tart was good, with a warm gooey base and crunchy caramel pecans. The Mango sorbet was also good, with a strong taste of fresh mango.
All in all, a nice evening, for the mother-in-law. The appetizers and desserts were the highlights. The proportions/size of the mains need to be bigger, in my opinion, to justify the price. I shouldn't be finishing my main only to think that I want another one. Would I go again? Only with a smaller party, and maybe just for dessert.