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Restaurants & Bars 1

Lalot & Centro

Fwagra | Mar 26, 2006 08:30 PM

A pretty good weekend of eating, I would say.

Friday night we were 4 at Lalot, on Bathurst north of Queen for upscale, semifusion Vietnamese. The food was excellent. Very tasty. Just the stuff a hound is looking for. Cold salad rolls had a strip of Chinese sausage (Lap Chau?) which gave it the extra goodness. Filet Mignon rolled in greens in a brown rich sauce were great. Catfish in a rich curry clay pot was really great. Duck was overcooked; avoid it. It was the only dish that was not outstanding. (Overcooked duck tastes like pork tenderloin, I think).

Now, here's the problem with Lalot: the portions are extremely tiny. Uncommonly undersized. Embarrassingly ungenerous. I'm talking small. Double the portions, and they would still be a bit too small. And the prices are big.

This is an almost fatal flaw for this otherwise great place. Service is friendly and, again, the food is real tasty.

On Saturday night we were 4 at Centro. I have not been to this place for dinner since they renovated some time ago. I was not expecting too much; I haven't heard much acclaim for this place in eons, aside from it being a refuge for the pretentious set.

Anyhow, the meal was very good. Gnocchi with duck confit was pillowy with lots o' tasty duck scraps, with some red onion and a ducky-buttery sauce. A little rich, perhaps, but very nice.

Rack of lamb was beautiful. 4 good-sized chops were cut thick. Soft, delicate, not gamy. Tender beyond belief. Perfectly cooked, and atop a flavourful dice of seasonal vegetables and other aromatic stuff. Sides of beets and eggplant were good, but not worth the price tag of $7 or $8. Frankly, for the price, sides should be included in some way.

Desserts were excellent; priced at $4, and made smaller. Great idea. Chocolate croquettes were deep-fried, panko-crusted cubes of high-quality chocolate. They burst in the mouth. Better than another molten cake any day.

Service was adequate. The place looks great.

I will not rush back to either place. Lalot's portions make it difficult. Centro, while good, will be in the rotation stuck behind stars like Susur and Splendido. And, Mistura and Boba, which are both very decent, are half the price of Centro.

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