Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Splendido


sgfrank
 Share

Recommended Posts

I don't have too much to write, but I wanted to make a brief note, read gush, about Splendido, as it seems to get so little mention in the online world.

I was there for dinner last night, and as usual it was superb. The early fish courses (a salt cod amuse; a big eye tuna tartar; butter poached lobster) were perfect - there is nothing better that can be said about them. They were followed by some great, but not outstanding, meatier courses (octopus cuit sous vide and beef consomme with Kobe beef). Chef Lee returned to his top form with a toothsome roast veal with lovely morels, and Chef Baan finished everything off with a lovely study in mango. I like particularly how Baan works - she does everything with a delightfully subtle touch, never screaming at you "this is a dessert!", instead producing balanced courses that just happen to hail from the sweet side of the kitchen. Incidentally, the intermezzo (citrus and Madeira sorbet in a beet jus) was highly creative, and I applaud whoever came up with it (Lee or Baan? I wonder).

While the food does not challenge or vie for your attention in the same way that Susur Lee's, Rubino's, Loseto's, or even McDonald's does, it is for the most part perfectly done, and leaves very little more to ask for. It is food like this that can provide the backdrop for a perfect evening, instead of leaping to the foreground and pushing you into the scenery.

Completing the perfect setting is Yannick's inimitable front of house team. Glasses fill themselves, someone appears from the ether to tuck your chair in, waiters read your mind to suggest a wine, and perhaps most importantly, everyone there seems to have a genuine passion for the food and your comfort. The moment that brought the greatest smile to my lips was probably when a young waiter brought the lobster to our table, the lobster sitting atop a single white asparagus. "White asparagus from the Loire Valley - first of the season. Chef is very excited." And so was the waiter. He was so plainly happy, there was no denying that he was telling the truth. That this truth made him as happy as it did me was a splendid thing.

Bravo Splendido. I look forward to my next visit.

Simon

Edited by sgfrank (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always loved splendido. The half a dozen times I have been there each time I have enjoyed it as much as the previous, if not more, and that says a lot for a restaraunt today.

I will be going there for my birthday and look forward to that.

It sounds like you had the tasting menu?

Cheers,

-Justin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Justin,

It was indeed the tasting menu. For interest, it was:

[salt cod, potato crisp, details hazy]

Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna Tartar, Quail Egg, Ossetra Caviar

Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster

Tunisian Octopus Cuit Sous Vide, Charred Eggplant Raviolo, Red Wine Jus

Double Beef Consomme, Norchia Umbria Truffle

[Citrus and Madeira sorbet, Red Beet Jus]

9 Hr. Wood Burning Oven Roasted Provimi Veal Brisket, Morel Mushrooms

Study in Ataulfo Mango

Mignardises [Pistachio White Chocolate Bark and Sesame Caramel Snaps].

I hope your birthday is enjoyable.

Simon

I have always loved splendido.  The half a dozen times I have been there each time I have enjoyed it as much as the previous, if not more, and that says a lot for a restaraunt today.

I will be going there for my birthday and look forward to that.

It sounds like you had the tasting menu?

Cheers,

-Justin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Three of us ate at Splendido on Sunday and, to our surprise, the tasting menu was even better than the previous one we'd eaten there. One of our party doesn't eat fish or seafood, and when I asked about doing the tasting menu with this limitation over the phone, the person taking our reservation unhesitatingly said the cook could accomodate him.

The tasting menu had evolved slightly since sgfrank was there, but since it's still April, it was largely the same. The sorbet was quite striking for us as well: Bay leaf-flavored, in a laurel-ginger sauce. The veal brisket and morel mushrooms dish was extraordinary, rich, tender, and flavorful. But for the fish-eaters in the party, the other highlight was a Lake Winnipeg pickerel filet with Yukon Gold Potato Fondue course which replaced the octopus. The pickerel was crisply seared on one side, meltingly tender within. The potato fondue was like a delicate cloud of potato-flavor.

Charmingly, one of our mignardises was a dainty little s'more! Handmade marshmallow with dark chocolate on a graham cracker round.

Edited by sworthen (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to Splendido 5 times since the beginning of December. That pretty much sums it up. Probably the best (certainly the most consistent) restaurant in Toronto right now. And the last time, the tasting menu included a dish I'd had the previous time - so they substituted a different dish WITHOUT MY ASKING OR SAYING ANYTHING - they just remembered (and the manager wasn't there for either of the two visits, so I'm not sure how they figured it out - possibly the Sommelier, as he was able to confirm that my main dish was different without talking to the kitchen). That's exceptional service!

Edited by estufarian (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to Splendido 5 times since the beginning of December. That pretty much sums it up. Probably the best (certainly the most consistent) restaurant in Toronto right now. And the last time, the tasting menu included a dish I'd had the previous time - so they substituted a different dish WITHOUT MY ASKING OR SAYING ANYTHING - they just remembered (and the manager wasn't there for either of the two visits, so I'm not sure how they figured it out - possibly the Sommelier, as he was able to confirm that my main dish was different without talking to the kitchen). That's exceptional service!

I think consistent service is the key.. We need to value more about the consistent (good) food/service more. Another restaurant that I found with consistent service over many many years is Scaramouche.

I also hate it when the chef's not in the kitchen when you visit. The quality goes down an order and you are paying the same price. I don't think I will ever go to another expensive restaurant where the chef has another restaurant somewhere (esp those famous ones in the States).

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chefs work long hours, chances are they need a day off while the restaurant is still open. Owning 2 places is one thing but unless the place is closed 2 days in a row(thus losing sales) the chef is going to be absent from the place at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...
I always hear lots of mixed reviews regarding Splendido. Just when I seem to get a predominantly positive feeling - you get a review like this

So where does everyone stand currently

My visit was around new year. Could not fault the combination of service, style and cooking.

They had fresh bluefin which we had tartare - But the amuse was using the bluefin... enough care was taken to ensure the people ordering tartare had alternative amuse's.

Rest of the meal was balanced, well cooked and presented.

I still rank it as the best I have had in TO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always hear lots of mixed reviews regarding Splendido. Just when I seem to get a predominantly positive feeling - you get a review like this

So where does everyone stand currently

I saw that also. Yikes.

officially left egullet....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always hear lots of mixed reviews regarding Splendido. Just when I seem to get a predominantly positive feeling - you get a review like this

So where does everyone stand currently

My visit was around new year. Could not fault the combination of service, style and cooking.

They had fresh bluefin which we had tartare - But the amuse was using the bluefin... enough care was taken to ensure the people ordering tartare had alternative amuse's.

Rest of the meal was balanced, well cooked and presented.

I still rank it as the best I have had in TO.

Compared to meals eaten where?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last 12 months.

Canoe and Splendido are the recent fine dining restaurants.

In the 12 months before that at visits to Senses and Scaramouche the cooking was up to a good standard.

I have also eaten at Truffles recently - but this was a just a banquet tasting.

I think the cooking is good to excellent (I wont say reliable as I dont visit enough to do a sensible comparison).

The ambiance of the dining room is good (if a little dark for me).

Attention to detail presentation of food and the table environment both rated highly for me.

I want to try Susur this time and a wedding reception at the Four Seasons so will mean at least 1 meal there :laugh:

I am still working on an old 2006 Toronto Life list for the best so always interested in other highly rated restaurants.

Edited by IndolentAgain (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the past year, I've eaten at both Splendido (about a month ago) and Susur (last summer). My father has eaten at both restaurants multiple times. Both of us have reached the same conclusion, Splendido is the better restaurant of the two. Given that, I don't think that the Toronto Star review was unfair - Splendido did serve me some dishes with weak elements. Limply flavoured sauces were a particular problem.

Looking back at Amy Pataki's recent reviews, she also rates Susur at 3.5 stars although the review is a bit more generous than the Splendido one. I would reverse the two reviews in terms of tone, but the final judgment on both is pretty justifiable.

The issue is more that I doubt there is anywhere in Toronto that is serving a 'perfect' meal. Still, Splendido is a very good restaurant and if I had to pick one place in the city to go for a great meal it would undoubtably be there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(on the basis of a single visit only, Feb 2007) I thought Splendido was excellent and didn't miss a single step in terms of either service or food.

if I recall correctly though, Gordon, you really like Perigee, so you might feel the same way about Splendido as I do: there simply isn't as much to get excited about there. My sense is they deliberately set their bar a bit lower so they can hit it more consistently. And they do. I used the phrase "merely excellent" to describe them, which sounds backhanded but is actually meant to be high praise.

anyway, I certainly wouldn't recommend AGAINST going there. My guess is you would be hard-pressed to find a single fault with Splendido but might still come out of it ranking it below Perigee. Which IMO isn't a bad place to be ranked at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(on the basis of a single visit only, Feb 2007) I thought Splendido was excellent and didn't miss a single step in terms of either service or food.

if I recall correctly though, Gordon, you really like Perigee, so you might feel the same way about Splendido as I do: there simply isn't as much to get excited about there.  My sense is they deliberately set their bar a bit lower so they can hit it more consistently.  And they do.  I used the phrase "merely excellent" to describe them, which sounds backhanded but is actually meant to be high praise.

anyway, I certainly wouldn't recommend AGAINST going there.  My guess is you would be hard-pressed to find a single fault with Splendido but might still come out of it ranking it below Perigee.  Which IMO isn't a bad place to be ranked at all.

Thanks for the info - Work has been so busy lately, my Toronto trips have been cut in half. My meal planning has to be as efficient as possible :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't read too much into the Pataki review, she is well known for her cattyness in reviews. If not for the 3.5 stars, you would've never guessed it was a favourable review just by reading the article. Splendido is the most consistent fine dining establishment in our city, bar none.

"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those who feel." - Horace Walpole

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
(on the basis of a single visit only, Feb 2007) I thought Splendido was excellent and didn't miss a single step in terms of either service or food.

if I recall correctly though, Gordon, you really like Perigee, so you might feel the same way about Splendido as I do: there simply isn't as much to get excited about there.  My sense is they deliberately set their bar a bit lower so they can hit it more consistently.  And they do.  I used the phrase "merely excellent" to describe them, which sounds backhanded but is actually meant to be high praise.

anyway, I certainly wouldn't recommend AGAINST going there.  My guess is you would be hard-pressed to find a single fault with Splendido but might still come out of it ranking it below Perigee.  Which IMO isn't a bad place to be ranked at all.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

actually, I don't think you're wrong at all and I see us as having the same opinion from different perspectives.

I do want to point out that my use of the word "safe" was not intended to draw comparisons between Splendido and Colborne Lane, which would be a bit extreme. I was trying to keep the comparison to Splendido and Perigee, which was more useful in context.

and I want to re-iterate that I know my previous post could be interpreted as my insulting Splendido, which is very much not the intention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tried Perigee (among others) this time. Went for the tasting menu. Gordon to compare with Splendido. Perigee is a good restaurant with balanced food but some of the combinations werent quite working (interesting but not completely resolved) where as at Splendido the basic combinations worked every time. Service at both restaurants was good with Perigee being a little more informal than Splendido. Wine list wise Splendido was better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tried Perigee (among others) this time. Went for the tasting menu. Gordon to compare with Splendido. Perigee is a good restaurant with balanced food but some of the combinations werent quite working (interesting but not completely resolved) where as at Splendido the basic combinations worked every time. Service at both restaurants was good with Perigee being a little more informal than Splendido. Wine list wise Splendido was better.

Another reason why my next venture will be Splendido and Colborne Lane (or Susur - it's been a while)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...