The atmosphere brings to mind the structure of a piano. The setting is almost serene in the dining area, and the tables are spaced far apart which makes conversation easy.
Our server brought us some bread (a slice of whole wheat and a foccacia-like white) with a tapenade made of red pepper and capers. The bread is house-made, and absolutely delicious. I started with the French onion soup dumplings- same size and style of a soup dumpling, but filled with the flavours found in French onion soup. Maybe a little gimmicky, but tasty. I'll try the Provencal fish soup on my next visit, or the roasted Artichokes. My main was a red snapper en papillote, with a lobster/bearnaise sauce over white & green asparagus.
For dessert, I shared a quince and granny smith tarte tatin (a deconstructed tarte tatin, with marinated but uncooked apples on top of cooked quince). This was the best apple dessert I've encountered in Toronto. Some of their other desserts looked quite innovative. Would like to try their petit fours in the near future.
Our server was personable and professional. He made an effort to get our dishes out on time (due to our concert's starting time), but never made us feel rushed. He showed that he paid attention to detail, removing crumbs, offering refills on coffee, frequently refilling the water glass. The Maitre D' (or owner- I'm not sure) made a point to visit each table. The service I experienced at Forte was better than recent service experiences at Nota Bene or Scaramouche.
The quality of the food is at least the same level as what one finds at Nota Bene a block away, but the atmosphere is so much more peaceful. No sense of pretense. I found the flavour combinations at Forte worked for me a little better than the flavour combinations at Nota Bene. To to be fair, I've only tried 3 dishes at each restaurant, but I'm guessing I'll return to Forte before I return to Nota Bene.
Highly recommended if you're looking for a meal before the opera, a concert at RTH, or happen to be looking for lunch or dinner in the financial district.
Edited by phoenikia, 27 February 2009 - 11:32 AM.