I finally tried Monte Cristo last night with my DH and another couple. I can sum up the experience by saying that there are just too many good restaurants in Toronto to eat at this one.
The decor inside was wonderful and our waitress was nice once she chilled out a little, though overall we felt like the place was pretentious. We dined early (7 pm) b/c I ran the Waterfront Half Marathon this morning and wanted to turn in early -- so a packed restaurant was not the reason for the so/so food.
Three of us started off with the soup of the day: a Butternut Squash Soup. Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if it came from a box (Campbell's Gardennay, maybe?). There was no brightness or pizzaz to this soup -- just a huge bowl of it with a dollop of herbed cream. We had to ask them to bring us a salt shaker b/c it was so bland, and we're not 'high salt' eaters. Very disappointing -- I love butternut squash soup and w/ the temperature dip yesterday, it was the perfect evening for it.
As for the mains: our friends had the grilled striploin in a wine reduction. The menu actually describes it as a barolo reduction -- I hope they didn't waste a bottle of barolo on this. Neither of them could eat the steak, it was SO overly salty. (That's where the salt from our soup went, apparently.)
My husband had the Capellini in a spicy white wine/tomato sauce with tiger shrimp, which he pronounced excellent. Interestingly, both the striploin and capellini were introduced to us as the night's Specials, but they are on the menu as standard fare. I find that odd for an upscale restaurant -- is that common?
I opted for a salad -- the romaine hearts off the appetizer menu -- to eat light before the race. They were served in individual leaves with a fairly good creamy garlic dressing on them, some nice crostini alongside. Again, it was nice, but just a splash of acid (maybe lemon juice) would have elevated from nice to good.
When they took away the uneaten steak, our waitress came back and told us they'd offer a dessert on the house. We had the creme brulee, a mixed fruit salad w/ sorbet, a lemon sorbet and a mango sorbet. The creme brulee was very good, though served on a very silly, unnecessarily huge platter w/ it's tiny ramekin in the center. The sorbets were good as well.
Final bill: just under $250 for the 4 of us, including the tip.