647-352-6000 | $10-$17 mains
I’ve been reading Scott Vivian’s tweets for a long time re: Beast, and the menus have always made my mouth water. Finally convinced a bunch of friends to head west to enjoy as many dishes as we could stomach.
The menu at Beast changes quite a bit on a weekly basis, featuring dishes categorized into Vegetables, Fish, Meat, and Dessert. Thanks to the reasonable prices, moderately-sized portions, and DiningDateNight.com (30% discount), we were able to sample 12 dishes between the five of us, which is most of the menu.
To avoid writing an essay, I’ll do quick hits below by Wow, Good, and OK.
Fried gnocchi, mushroom ragu, cheese curds, creme fraiche - A very loose take on poutine succeeds with dead-on crispy, pillowy gnocchi, great mushroom flavour, and melty cheese curds of course.
Sea scallops, tripe stew, salsa verde, quail egg - Flavourful tomato stew with tender tripe (which I’ve yet to have until last night) complements the scallops and gets a smack of brightness with a big spoonful of salsa verde. Great balance.
Stick Toffee Pudding - Woooow. Liquid toffee seeps into a moist, cakey sphere and just destroys you. The toffee flavour is so pointed and wonderful. Describing this is making me hungry.
Photo Credit: foodjunkiechronicles.com
Duck confit, farro, celery root, porcini mustard - Duck is perfect, farro risotto is dead-on, porcini mustard is a good idea. Needs something to cut this; it’ s very rich.
Strip loin of beef, romesco, tobacco onions - Great sear on steak, romesco is fresh, onions add crunch. Felt like some spice would have put this over the top.
Pastrami reuben, house sauerkraut, gruyere, 1000 island, rye - A great reuben. Didn’t blow me away…but it was delicious.
Lamb neck terrine, membrillo, house mustard, marcona almods, crostini - Lamb flavour is there in the terrine, grain mustard with heat is a good twist, crustinis have big holes in them unfortunately. Good balance here though for sure.
Sweet potato wedges, pecans, maple vinaigrette, raisins - Tasty, all flavours work. Enjoyed my wedge.
Whitefish falafel, harissa mayo - Fish and falafel is a good new combo for me, a few of us found these a bit salty though.
Beet root, fennel, dill, sunflower seeds, sheep’s milk feta - A nice starter salad if you will. All flavours in harmony, dill and mild beets worked.
Arctic char, butternut squash puree, crispy prosciutto, raita - Tasted good overall, char skin was crispy, but I completely lost the fish in the prosciutto.
Cauliflower, banana peppers, pine nuts, mint, tahini - Little bland and bitter. Couldn’t taste mint. Not sure tahini and pine nut flavour stood out enough.
Service and Ambience
First thing I needed after walking on King for a half hour in the cold was something warm and alcoholic. Our server brought me a coffee with Baileys. Win.
On the more objective side of things, I thought our meal was well-paced given that we essentially ordered everything. Also, we appreciated the flexibility of adding another person to our table last minute in the middle of the meal.
Inside, it’s pretty small, nothing fancy, just cozy. Feels very much like you’re sitting in someone’s home. Someone weird though, because the two semi-nude human/animal paintings on the wall are just plain odd. Fits with the whole ‘beast’ thing, but some people at our table didn’t get it (it’s art, c’est la vie).
I liked this place a lot, probably more than others at my table. Very few misses on the menu, some high highs, and a lot of good options. You can get some very well-executed and complex food for reasonable prices in an unpretentious environment. Sounds like a good restaurant to me.
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Nov 18, 2011