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TicTac

Alo Restaurant

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It's too bad the local forums are not used as much - this place is so much better than those 'other' local food boards.

 

Figured I would try to do my part -

 

Now that I have made a few visits (the latest being last night) I thought I would share a few thoughts on Alo, using last nights menu as talking points.

Overall it was a very enjoyable evening, the location is interesting (as discussed with Amanda, Toronto will continue to see restaurants rise up in the sky as real estate becomes tougher; or just more expensive, to find), the room is nice, very subtle, and well laid out.

Service was very good, all staff friendly and astute of their duties. The sommelier was an interesting fellow. Took a bit of time to warm up to (and get warmed up) but after I guessed the grape and region of one of his pairings, perhaps he took me (I am in my mid 30's, often vinophiles judge this book by it's apparent age!) more seriously.

Onto what matters; food. By in large many hits, but a few misses.

 

We had:

 

- Amuse - small pastries filled with cheese, jalapeno, and dusted with caramelized onion powder & Foie Torchon w/ hearts of palm and passion fruit. Quite possibly 2 of the best bites of the evening!
- Venetian Caviar, Potato - Nice execution of the potato using the ISI to foam it out.
- Celery root, black truffle (substituted for my wife as she cannot eat fish eggs)
- Mildly cured white fish with melon balls, beets and some other accompaniments which were less than memorable. This was the biggest miss of the night. Lacking both seasoning and depth, nothing about this dish interested let alone excited me.
- Pain au Lait - Here is the pairing mishap, after both a glass of Cremant and Moshchofilero, they paired this with some Madeira. Far too sweet, and quite frankly should have gone with the amuse or dessert, if anything.
- Veal Sweetbreads, black truffle, Taleggio cheese - the cheese was slightly overpowering (but delicious) and unfortunately the sweet breads were vastly overcooked. Unfortunate as I adore SB's!
- Quebec Foie, sunchoke, hedgehog shrooms & chicken jus - excellent!
- Pacific halibut, chestnuts, endive, parsnip. Another example (similar to the other fish dish, perhaps a trend?) of under seasoning and again, lacking much depth/layers to the dish.
- Rack of Pork, cabbage, walnuts, mustard. V. good.
- Beef Ribeye, onion, matsutake, bernaise. Also V. good. Hard to screw that combo up!
- Pear, Caramel, Amaranth - interesting, the first glimpse of the pastry chef showed a very creative mind and dept hand.
- Apple dessert (they called it a tart tartin, but it was nothing close) - very seasonal and fresh...basically a decomposed apple pie.
- Dark chocolate, mint. - My wife's favourite, again, demonstrating a very skilled pastry chef. The mint ice cream was fantastic.

 

Certainly far more successful executions than not, but room for improvement none the less. We will continue to return, as the menu changes often and I want to see how Chef Kriss continues his evolution of Alo.

 

Now if only it wasn't so far and getting there in rush hour wasn't so painful!

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That sounds like a fun night out, and makes me long for the days when I visited big cities more regularly than I do now. Now, I try to expand my home repertoire with concoctions I read about and wonder why I hadn't thought of it myself.  With that in mind, please tell more about these dishes:

Quote

- Quebec Foie, sunchoke, hedgehog shrooms & chicken jus - excellent!

   - and -
- Rack of Pork, cabbage, walnuts, mustard. V. good.

 

Texture, doneness, and so on...how were the cabbage and walnuts used with the pork?  Was the mustard a coating on the rack, or a dipping sauce?  How big were the chunks of sunchoke and shrooms?  Was the chicken jus the "jelly" that set them into the pate? Did you detect any other seasonings?

 


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It was a fun night and it reminded me why I detest going downtown (traffic, traffic, and a bit more traffic)!

 

The Foie dish came in a bowl with a very small concave center.  A few pieces among a very rich chicken jus, a sunchoke puree and some seared hedgehogs.  

 

The Pork was a slice from the rack (my wife had this one so my details are hazy - or was that thanks to the wine pairing...?)  The cabbage was thinly sliced with a bit of a vinegar note, walnuts and mustard I believe were part of the sauce. 

 

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions don't hesitate.  If you are ever planning on being in Toronto, I highly recommend it, though do note they require reservations nearly 2 months in advance.

 

 

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I've been to ALO a few times. The most imaginative dishes were probably the vegetarian ones and I really enjoy dining at the Bar.

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