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Tom Gandey

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Everything posted by Tom Gandey

  1. Steve @ Cumbrae is raising his own Wagyu now. Its nothing like the real deal, but it is Wagyu (mostly Wagyu/Angus cross, as is the stuff from the US).
  2. Tom Gandey

    Splendido

    You do know that Yannick and Carlo have more information on you than CSIS (or the FBI if you were American)? Yannick actually knew more about me than I knew about him on our initial encounter... honest truth.
  3. Tom Gandey

    Splendido

    With all respect to Pat, a man that loves what he does (and it shows)... his food is often plagued by too many ingredients that don't all compliment each other. If he only got rid of all of those stupid mise containers that make it all too easy for him to "throw" dishes together, he has the enthusiasm to become the best chef in the city. Perigee still reminds me of Avalon before its decline, so that is why I go... hoping that Pat will one day adopt the KISS principle. Its easy to find fault with any restaurant, especially those in Toronto. That said, Splendido is the ONLY restaurant in the city that is worthy of a Michelin star. The service is way beyond ANY other in Toronto and Chef Lee is the best technician. Do they play it safe? I would rather eat at Splendido than taste another chef's ill-conceived "experiment" ala Colborne Lane. Toronto doesn't have a Gagnaire, Adria, Blumenthal, Bras or Pacaud equivalent so I'll go with what is safe and delicious more often than not (Eigensinn and Splendido). If I take an average of my meals here, Eigensinn and Splendido are head and shoulders above the rest. If you think I'm wrong and have eaten at the above restaurants, I openly invite commentary on the state of fine dining in Toronto.
  4. If that is your budget, go to Colborne Lane. You won't do better at the price point. May I suggest multiple Lobster Seviches? That is certainly the best thing on the menu... The pork belly is also quite good. If you are willing to pay a little more... Splendido. That is the only restaurant that could currently attain a coveted Michelin star if they were ever to come here. Claudio might be the most talented young chef in the city. If he can simplify his dishes (ie: eliminate the unneeded, sometimes conflicting flavours), CL could become the best restaurant in Toronto. CL is better than Susur and at a lower price point, sans attitude. That said, Splendido is still the best of fine dining in Toronto and probably will be for some time to come.
  5. Go to Mistura on Davenport. Massimo is probably the best authentic Italian chef in Toronto.
  6. Hi Alexandra, I don't really write on eG anymore due to the political climate here, but I'm curious about your last visit to Canoe? I went around this time last year and it was borderline horrible. Nice view but amateurish although well-intentioned service, and poor ingredients (my fish tasted like it was caught the week before). The technique seemed to be average-plus, even for a Toronto restaurant. I have been told its much better now and just wanted to confirm before another visit. The Fifth was never great, but it has definitely seen better days (Thuet, Leroy). Avalon has also had problems since their chef du cuisine and much of their kitchen staff left for what is probably the best restaurant in Toronto now, Perigee. Only 2 top-tier restaurants in Toronto now that are really worth going to, Perigee and Splendido. Both have good ingredients prepared by creative skilled hands. They are far from perfect, but certainly worthy of your money if you are looking for a "fine dining" meal in Toronto. Kaji is a very good choice and one of the regulars in my rotation. Have you been to Eigensinn? That is the only restaurant in Ontario that deserves all of the accolades it receives, truly something special.
  7. Its certainly one of the best restaurants in the city and I doubt few would argue otherwise. Better than Susur? Absolutely.
  8. Hi Francois, Have you read Edward Behr's book? Let me know what you think of his writings when you receive the newsletter.
  9. I appreciate your honest assessments of the 2 restaurants and will check out CC&P one my next visit. Thanks.
  10. There is no great food in Montreal. Nada. Rien. Zilch. Zippo. Plus none of us have ever travelled or eaten in even half-decent restaurants, so we wouldn't know good food if we were served it. Though, of course, we won't be. Really, you shouldn't bother coming here ever again. Trust me on this. Don't listen to anyone else. ← There is plenty of great food in Montreal, just no great restaurants. I ask for his opinion and this is what I get? You think you are being funny, but you really know what you are...
  11. I am preferrential to Valrhona and El Rey, but Cluizel also makes a very nice product. Callebaut is probably the easiest to find and a good value quality chocolate.
  12. Williams-Sonoma has a vanilla paste that is pretty good. Its definitely not as good as fresh beans, but beans don't keep very well and good ones are hard to find.
  13. But is it GREAT food? I can overcome anything for great food. Small portions can be dealt with by visiting Schwartz' afterwards.
  14. You are absolutely correct and that was the point I am trying to make. I used to be of very modest means and would save for special ingredients/meals/bottles to indulge every now and again. In recent years, money has become much less of an issue allowing me to be not only more indulgent, but to share my good fortune by sharing great experiences with my friends. Whether she thinks Manni is worth the money or not, it is NOT her place as a supposedly objective journalist to make a subjective assessment about a product she has never consumed, or subjective assessment about those who consume said product.
  15. I went years ago when he was on St. Denis. Friday night in the winter, dining room was almost empty, food was unbalanced and served in MINISCULE portions by snobby staff. The foie gras was excellent but there was so little of it on the plate! I'm not 100% sure, but my visit may have coincided with his brief NYC venture Cena. A chef of Normand's reputation would not have served me what I had received if he was in the kitchen, but he is ultimately responsible for what is served regardless of who is overseeing the kitchen that night. Virtually every restaurant will come under some critisism at one point or another, now matter how highly touted they are. Restaurants can have off nights, but too many off nights and your reputation will decline quickly no matter what heights the place reaches when they are on their game. I still want to go back once more. I love being pleasantly surprised even more than reaffirming what I believe to be true.
  16. We aren't talking about specifically about Toque now, are we? But seeing as you are bringing it up. Based on what you have said about L'Utopie: "Montreal should be so lucky to have a restaurant as interesting (as L'Utopie)". The logical conclusion from your own words is that while there may be many good restaurants in Montreal, L'Utopie is better than all of them and Montreal has no restaurants in its class. Maybe Toque had a really off-night when I visited and based on jfl91's comments I'll give it one more go, but this time I will have one of his suppliers call and make the reservation for me and ensure Normand will be in the kitchen. The "crap" I was served could not have been overseen by Normand, no way...
  17. To quote you: "Even if I had the money -- which I don't -- I would never drop that much on olive oil." "Montrealers aren't too poor to buy this oil. They're too smart." I never said you couldn't afford it, YOU DID. You also have made a decision its not worth the $$$ without even trying it, which is short sighted. There are MANY good ones for less, some ALOT less, but that isn't the point... it is not about NEED, it is about WANT. Manni has their niche, which is the ultra high end and there are enough customers of means (or those that occassionally indulge) to support him. If his product wasn't as good as it is, he couldn't command the prices he does. I find it interesting that jfl91 is defending the very person that inferred he was stupid by buying Manni, to each their own. People WILL buy what they want, they don't need you telling something isn't worth the money (when you have never even tasted it!), as that is for them to decide.
  18. Lesley C has it right. 375$ for a 1l bottle of olive oil? even if it *is* the best in the world, i'm sorry, but your priorities in life are really messed up if you spend 375$ for a litre of olive oil. how much do you give to Amnesty International, the SPCA, and/or Habitat for Humanity yearly, for example, just for starters? there's wonderful indulgence and enjoying the best of the best, and then on the other hand, there's just show-offy, snobby one-upmanship. i'm afraid i think this oil at this price falls into the latter category. ← You don't think there are tens of thousands of Canadians that can afford Manni *and* give 10x their Manni budget to charitable causes? Taste it and then make up your mind, until then... well, you know.
  19. People buy it because it is the best. Just as people buy Ferraris, Romanee-Conti and Hermes. Money is not an end, only a currency to trade for the things you cherish most in life. You claim to love food, but yet you say Montrealers are "too smart" to buy this oil. Some buy it because than can, others buy it because its worth it for an indulgence and others like yourself are bitter because they cannot afford to taste perhaps the best olive oil on earth. The only joke here is berating someone for buying something they can afford and enjoy.
  20. Had this and although it sounded great in theory... mine had very little lobster taste. Thought that black bass dish showed a great flavor balance. They smoked the corn in the version I was served. Far too smoky and killed the dish. Thought the concept of this was good, but wished the tuna was of higher quality and man... that Iron Horse chard really sucked (Mike's only big mis-step). I loved the squab by itself (perfectly cooked, good quality) but thought the ham was WAY TOO SALTY and the coating on the mushrooms really detracted. My favorite of the desserts served. I'm not a big dessert guy and it was pretty good. I know it sounds fairly critical, but I was just commenting on the dishes that we both were served and only those that I had strong feelings about. My assessment of Perigee is a little different than I had envisioned before the meal. I thought I would get a bunch of wows and a bunch of complete failures, instead a received a fairly consistant meal where I found the majority of the dishes were 7-8/10. Only 2 complete failures out of probably 25 and at the same time 2 outstanding dishes to balance the failures Very "Avalon" inspired, but at the same time uniquely Pat. Next time you are up, let me know so we can doubleteam Pat. I love eating where the chef loves food as much as I do... Pat is one of those chefs and a very rare find.
  21. I thought you were the one that yelled at me for saying Montreal doesn't have any restaurants worthy of special praise? As much as I love Montreal as a city, Quebec City has better food. Most restaurants in Montreal don't source nearly as well as those in Quebec City, garbage in... garbage out.
  22. For the France/UK trip, I think all excellent picks with the exception of Talievent which serves geriatric French food. I only mention this because you mention it in the same breath as 4 innovative restaurants. Maybe do Gagnaire instead or if you insist on classical food maybe L'Ambrosie? I still have yet to eat at Bras (spring/summer '06 when I do my ElBulli trip for sure) due to its remoteness, but from all accounts he is doing special there and you should have a fantastic meal. Please let us know what you think of Robuchon in Vegas, they received a great review in Gayot and hopefully it will give Vegas a true destination restaurant. Have you eaten at WD-50? Wylie has been spent the last few days in Heston's kitchen, so I would be interested in the influence they have on each other.
  23. Great peking duck skin at Da Dong, very good soups... but the duck is all dried out and has no wood flavour. My worst duck in BJ but a decent meal.
  24. You want to try the Beijing Duck from 2 different places: 1. "Roast Duck King" aka Ya Wang to Chinese speakers. Close to the "friendship store" and awesome date wood roasted duck for 88 yuan/whole. The other dishes are quite good as well, excellent value and (for me) tied for the best duck in the city. I've been 3 times and consistantly excellent. They do have another location, but I've never been. 2. Quanjude (again, numerous locations). I've been to the one close to my regular hotel (Peninsula)... can't remember the address, but its just off of the main shopping street close to the night market. Excellent and they use a different wood blend (I think more lighter fruit wood and juniper), much more fat under the skin but not greasy and supremely tasty. You can try the night market as well if you have a stronger stomach, not 100% sanitary but you can get everything from frog legs to silkworms. An experience and you can have just the candied fruit if you are queasy (like my wife). In Beijing, you pretty much want to gorge on duck! As an aside, if you want decent dim sum and Moet Champagne, they have a super deal at the Grand Hyatt for I believe 300ish yuan. All you can eat cooked to order AND unlimited champagne (although they may have reconsidered this format after I drank 2+ bottles at lunch). The veggie dishes seemed to be their strength. Did I mention to eat more duck?
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