RICHMOND STATION: Subway Oughta Stop Here

647 748 1444  |   $21-$26 Mains

Did you watch Top Chef Canada Season 2? If so, you’re pretty familiar with Chef Carl Heinrich’s style: well-executed, comforting, and far-from-convoluted. This rings true at Richmond Station, the newly opened project from Chef Heinrich and partner Ryan Donovan, both former faces of Marben (another favourite of mine). 

Opening only about a week ago, I’ve already been twice. The first time for a quick bite with a friend, the second with a huge party of more than 20. My impressions from both visits are below. 

Photo Credit: blogTO

Food

Unfortunately, the full menu isn’t yet available online, so I’ll do my best to describe it: the focus is very local and seasonal, with a handful of starters and sharing plates, mains, and desserts. I’d say there’s a good balance to the menu offering a bit of everything for carnivores (in-house charcuterie, rib-stuffed burger, coq-au-vin) and those looking for lighter options (roast beet salad, smoked trout, kohlrabi ravioli). 

I’ll run through some of what we sampled on both occasions, but unfortunately don’t have pictures of my own due to lighting and a struggling iPhone. Thankfully, Toronto Life and blogTO have some great shots.

With Pictures


Photo Credit: blogTO

One of the starters for the big group’s fixed menu was a vibrant roasted beet salad with whipped goat cheese, pickled shallots, and candied hazelnuts. I’ll leave the description to my buddy Kevin:

"Probably my favourite dish of the night. Great balance between the goat cheese and sweetness from the (maple) vinaigrette. Beets were just right in terms of softness for me."


Photo Credit: blogTO

This smoked rainbow trout plate (above) is another stellar dish. I ordered it on my first visit and came away thoroughly impressed. Served with kale, soybean hummus and antipasto that included nice chunks of eggplant, this dish yells Marben to me. A preparation that’s rich without being fatty and understands how to execute pairing hearty eggplant and hummus with a delicate fish preparation. Yum.


Photo Credit: Renee Suen, Toronto Life

The kohlrabi filled ravioli (above) is another good option, especially for the non-meat eaters in our group. I sampled this my first time in and thought it had the perfect level of buttery, earthy flavours without being overpowering on either account - I suppose the collard greens and portabellos helped preserve the right level of freshness as well.


Photo Credit: Renee Suen, Toronto Life

We’re jumping to dessert now, but we’ll come back to other starters and mains in a bit. The ‘Station S’More’ above is the restaurants version of the classic campfire favourite, but the consensus around the table is that it needs work.

The most common gripe I heard was it needed to be HOT, just like a s’more that’s on the edge of burning your tongue. The other issue was the chocolate’s texture - it’s basically pudding. I think the magic of the s’more is the gooeyness of the marshmellow contrasted with the barely melted chocolate bar.

On the plus side, the berry coulis was delicious and hazelnuts elevated the flavour profile.


Photo Credit: Renee Suen, Toronto Life

The other dessert we tasted was a table favourite: butternut squash sponge cake with mascarpone, honey, and toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s a perfect fall dish, that had great sweetness, crunch and creaminess from the quinelle of cheese on top.

I’ll also say these flavours inspired the distinct childhood memories of sugar crisp cereal; I managed to convince a few others around the table that I wasn’t crazy in this assertion.

Dishes With No Pics

Polenta Fries with Spicy Aioli and Cilantro - These were great little crispy bites to compliment a main. I wouldn’t have minded more heat in the aioli though.

Rib-Stuffed Burger - The entire table raved about this burger. Most words didn’t really seem to do it justice, but I thought this comment from my friend Kim came close as she finished hers:

"I don’t want this to end - it’s like reading the last Harry Potter book"

Wild Boar Ragu - I pleasant homey pasta dish with some oxtail as well, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was missing something. 

Service and Ambience

For a place that looks like a bit of hole in the wall from a distance, it’s quite large inside with multiple sections seating a total of 80 people. The decor has a casual, neighbourhood vibe to it, helped by the retro transit imagery throughout. That said, the high ceilings also give the room some sophistication and the giant circular window in the front keeps the space somewhat modern.


Photo Credit: blogTO

Perhaps the most impressive part of our visit was the excellent service. We brought in more than 20 people to a restaurant that’s been open for little more than a week and they handled it like pros. Meals came out in good time, our servers were friendly and in constant communication with me to ensure everything was in order, and separated the bill for every single person at the table.

The Reco?

It’s not often you can walk into a restaurant twice so early into it’s life and come away so satisfied and ready for more. With a delicious set of dishes and a team of personable servers, Richmond Station has accomplished this feat and definitely earned my spirited recommendation.  

Other Reviews? 
 blogTO

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Oct 19, 2012

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