416-941-9410 | $25-35 entrees
Passed by a few times on Wellington, menu looked intriguing so took a shot with Eli (see his review of l’Ouvrier here).
Nice diversity on the menu while still being succinct. Definitely some revisit value. There’s an entire section dedicated to foie gras, so if you’re feeling a little sinful, you’ll appreciate it. More meat than fish on the mains, but generally something for everyone.
I started with the beet salad. A great mix of red/gold beets, fried halloumi cheese, cashew butter, cashews, crispy shallots, some microgreens and herb oil (neither green seemed to have any flavour). I very much enjoyed the mix of textures and the balance of sweet beets, salty halloumi, and rich cashew butter.
Eli had the sea scallops over pea puree and duck. Enjoyed it despite the duck resembling cubed ham which was a little odd.
My main was the beef cheek on sunchoke risotto and shaved foie gras. I’m not a fan of foie, but figured shaved would be ok. The shavings were a little chunkier than I would have liked and were chilled. I didn’t find the different temperatures enjoyable. On the very bright side, the cheek was super moist and melted in my mouth. Sunchoke risotto was buttery and satisfying. I found the richness of the whole dish a bit overwhelming though and would have appreciated something fresh or bitter to cut it.
The other dish Eli tried was the seared foie on buttermilk pancakes, pork belly and spiced apple. We had delusions of a larger portion size (pancakes were size of your average cookie), and his description verbatim: ‘what it offered in delicacy, it lacked in flavour’. Too bad, it sounded promising.
Very extensive wine list, but limited beer selection (not really a big deal for a place like this though).
Service and Ambience
Friendly, laid-back service. Bread was brought after our appetizers which was weird, but other than that things were uneventful. We asked for a recommendation on which foie gras to order, but got the brief ‘depends on what you want’ answer. Not a big deal, but its nice to get an opinion or detailed answer when consulting your server. In contrast, we appreciated having the bills ready quickly which was great for a friend who had to duck out.
The whole restaurant is actually in a basement space with very low ceilings (7 foot kinda thing), so it feels very intimate. Exposed brick and use of wood gives the dimly lit room some character, and we both agreed it was a well-designed space.
A good fine-dining choice in the financial district that isn’t overly expensive (hard to find). Menu is interesting, especially if you like foie gras, but can’t say we were satisfied with all dishes. That said, we’d be open to giving it another try.
Posted by: Jacob & Eli, Visited Sept 29, 2011