Coquine has created quite a buzz within North Toronto with their nouveau European-inspired bistro that emphasizes French cuisine. I arrived at the restaurant at about 6:30 and there were only a handful of guests, meanwhile the staff were finishing last minute preparations for that nights dinner service. As the night went on the restaurant filled up quickly and I could see why the restaurant has become a neighbourhood favourite as the bustling chatter of friends and family–some even speaking French really transforms this place from another Toronto restaurant into a pseudo-Parisian experience.
We were first presented with some pre-cut slices of bread with a garlic spread which tasted very similar to hummus. I only had one slice as I was eager to try out the real food. For the Hors D’Oeuvres I ordered the Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chop which is prepared with rosemary and roasted garlic ($6/chop), the chop comes with dijon mustard. The chop was prepared to perfection as the meat had a succulent center.
For the entree I selected the Wild Mushroom-filled Ravioli ($16) which is described as sauteed mushrooms and cherry tomatoes tossed in herbed truffle butter sauce topped with shaved parmesan cheese. The pasta was cooked properly and the butter sauce complimented the pasta quite well but as the dish progressed I felt the butter sauce overpowered the rest of the dish.
Another pasta I tried was the Penne Pomodoro with chicken ($15) which is not a complicated dish but unfortunately was not perfect. The pasta was a bit undercooked and the chicken was barely seasoned making the dish overall quite bland. Many times the simple pasta dishes tend to be better than the more extravagant ones but unfortunately this one hit the mark.
Although we were stuffed after the entrees there was no way we were leaving a French-inspired restaurant without trying the Creme Brule ($8), which is one of my favourite desserts. Although the pastry chef was a little bit overzealous with the torch the creme brule was perfectly executed and the portion was larger than the standard ramekin found in most restaurants, making it a nice dessert to share.
Overall Coquine is what it is—a bistro where you can get decent and reliable European food within the North-end of Toronto. The combination of location, friendly service and European decor makes this place a good option if you are ever in the Yonge and Eglinton area.
Pictures of the dishes: http://journeyofafoodie.wordpress.com...