LOIRE: Showcase dish and more

416-850 8330    |    $21-28 mains

 

Before heading over to Loire, I’d only heard vague details about it, not nearly enough to make it a must visit. All thanks to Dish Duel, I had my eyes opened to this great bistro on Harbord that I’m sure to revisit.


Photo Credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

Food

Chef Dupoire’s menu is 15 dishes deep and not necessarily as traditional french as you might think. Yes, you’ve got your duck, dupuy lentils, frog legs, but you also will see things like salsa verde and ricotta cheese incorportated.

We started with the pistachio-crusted goat cheese served with roasted beets, arugula, red pepper coulis and charred lemon dressing. A tasty dish to be sure, but the flavour combinations are fairly conventional (goat cheese, beets, red pepper). The pistachio and charred lemon didn’t seem to be strong flavours.

Next up, the incredible Dish Duel offering (above). This was created custom for the competition by the enthusiastic kitchen and it shows (currently in the final round of the competition!). Here’s how I described it for the tournament:

A showcase on a plate. The attention to detail, execution of the proteins and blend of flavours was fantastic. Maybe my favourite of the competition thus far. The short ribs were perfect, melt-in-your-mouth and full of beefy-flavour. Maple-glazed pork belly inspired audible noises from my dining companion: great crispy edges, barely sweet and fatty goodness. To compliment all of this, the carrot and romesco sauces together form a base of subtle sweet and spice, in concert with the hint of blue cheese found in the lentils. Confit shallot and crisp pork skin on top round out this impressively presented plate. Bravo!


Photo Credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

Now you’d think after having the awesome pork belly dish above that we would have forgotten about this striped sea bass. Not a chance. The fish was prepared to perfection with nice crispy skin, an unusually flavourful salsa verde, and root vegetables to round everything out. This fish of the day was anything but an afterthought. 

Still hungry, and on a bit of a high from the mains, we ordered the tarte au sucre (above) and creme brulee (below). The two highlights of the tarte were actually its accompaniments. The vanilla ice cream was decadent and the berry compote on the end HAD to have had juniper berries in it. Was a great tart accompaniment to the sweet and creamy on the plate.


Photo Credit: Food Junkie Chronicles

This creme brulee was genius for one simple reason: cinnamon heart sugar. I’ve never heard of anyone else blending cinnamon hearts and then taking a blowtorch to them. Not sure exactly what flavoured the creme itself, but the topping was so brilliant that this dish succeeded on cleverness alone.

Service and Ambience

The room’s a fair size and a comfortable mix between modern and comfort. It actually mirrors the restaurant’s description, casual gourment, quite well. We were visiting on a fairly quiet night during the week so no worries on the speed of service.

Our server was very knowledgeable and attentive throughout the night, even though he appeared to be the only one manning the entire dining room. Well done sir!

The Reco?

Really enjoyed my meal here overall. Definitely recommend trying the Dish Duel dish as you’d expect; hoping they get it onto their permanent menu. Even without it, your meal should be satisfying at the very least. Enjoy.

Other reviews:
  Food Junkie Chronicles

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Feb 15, 2012

Loire on Urbanspoon

DT Bistro: Oh Christmas Tree…

416-916-8155    |    $14 -$26 mains

 

Friend of mine who lives nearby has been telling about this place for months. Was a little far north for me, but with a car at our disposal, a friend and I headed over to taste dessert and more.


Photo Credit: DTbistro.com

Food

The menu shows that this place isn’t just about desserts. Some quality pasta dishes, mains with duck, ribs, bouillabaise, you name it. Very diverse menu with reasonable prices. 

I started with the mushroom tart + goat cheese and my friend with the wild mushroom soup. Enjoyed the flaky tart, mushroom and cheese combo is tried and true, solid dish. Same goes for the mushroom soup, nothing particularly complex, just good mushroom flavour.

For the mains we had the crisply soft shelled crab with greens and the lobster and chorizo pappardelle. Unfortunately the battered crab was noticeably missing the chunks of crab you’d expect and was pretty much just batter. Disappointing.

The pappardelle (above) faired better. The flavour combinations worked, and the addition of fennel, tomato, and mushroom made for variety. The rose sauce was mild, and I think could have benefited from stronger notes of seafood or fennel. I’d say the lobster was probably a little on the rubbery side as well, but not much. Good to know: the portion is enormous for $20. Doesn’t need to be that big, and the dish frankly gets cold by the time you’re nearing the end.

Then we checked out desserts! My friend wasn’t feeling so hot and I was stuffed from pasta, so we only went with one. There is no dessert menu, just a display case that could make even the most focused person indecisive (below).

Given the festive time of year, we decided to go with the mint Christmas tree (below). The mint butter cream icing was light and tasty, and the hard inner dark chocolate shell with dense cake inside was also tasty. The berries balanced it out nicely and the cream…well it’s just nice to have whipped cream.

The Christmas tree was quickly gobbled up.

Service and Ambience

Friendly service let us take our time throughout the meal and was very attentive. The restaurant wasn’t very busy early on a Thursday night, so we weren’t in a hurry. As we went through the meal they were always around for questions and definitely had opinions concerning dessert selection (an absolute must given the case full of choices).


Photo Credit: DTbistro.com

The decor of the place is a little too clean in my opinion, I think it’s the white tile floor against the light colours everywhere else. The paintings on the wall provide some depth and something interesting to look at though, would love to own one.

The Reco?

I liked this place and I think the menu has potential. The desserts looked wonderful, the owner is a champion dessert maker and I wouldn’t doubt the other items are delicious. I think the savoury side of the menu could still benefit from some polish, but given the affordability and variety, it’s hard to criticize too much.

Other reviews:
 National Post      |     Toronto Star    |     Toronto Life

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Dec 15, 2011

DT Bistro on Urbanspoon