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Lobby Resto reviewed in the Star


rgruby
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I am curious what this tasting menu cost, because lobby, who charges $150 PER BOTTLE of alchohol to get a table on fri/sat, I would estimate this tasting menu to be at least $100+ / person. That being said, to be frank, that food just didnt LOOK appetizing at all! I dont know if its just me, but it looks sloppy, and just thrown together, almost amature. And yes, I totally agree with Kev about the spoons, other than for possibly an amuse bouche, they are much too boring and common.

For the kind of money (I am assuming you payed) for this tasting menu, there are sooo many other places I would rather fork over that kind of cash, which SPECIALIZE in food, rather to Lobby, where food takes second stage.

PS - Kev...I cant stop laughing at your avatar...It seems our sense of humor is on the exact same page.

PSS - Did you hear their season 6 is startin in april!?

PSSS - Dont delete my PS's! :P

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The bill (including wines) came out to around $230 a head.

I have the feeling that normally it would have been substantially more for this as I believe we were given a discount.

The wines were exceptional BTW.

"nil illigitimum carborundum"

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$230 seems a good deal with good wine pairings.

I enjoyed seeing the pictures, but sort of agree with Sad (who's clearly trying to blow my cover again):

... to be frank, that food just didnt LOOK appetizing at all! I dont know if its just me,...
Some of the combinations sound good, others not as much. They generally didn't make me too hungry though. Maybe the key in some cases was the pairings?
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How can you say that the food scene in Toronto isnt adventurous?!  Toronto has one of the most dynamic multicultural populations in the world and with that in turn has such a wide variety of 'ethnic' foods...one night you can have shark fin soup, the next you can go for haggis (not me!) or some etheopian fare...not many cities in this world where you can do that.

that was my first thought too, but how many people actually do? How many people have we all met who won't even eat raw fish (and c'mon, sushi's been in the mainstream for a really long time now, compared to say Ethiopean food)?

Sorry, I sensed as soon as I'd posted that that I should have qualified it a bit. Toronto has a great selection of ethnic cuisines, and I love it for that, but I wouldn't say that there's much adventurous cooking going on - you can get plenty of good food, but I can't think of many places that are pushing many boundaries. Looking at the pictures from Lobby, I feel like I've seen many of those dishes, or at least ideas, before - and done better as well. Still, you can't fault them for trying.

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Kev, No blowing cover...get ricky back up there, or ill have to find some bubbles pictures!

$230 a head...good deal? Hahahahahaha Oh boy...Let me have a second to breath here.

Not a snowballs chance in hell I would ever spend over $50 at Lobby on FOOD.

If I wanted to shell out that kind of dough, I would order the 7 course tasting menu ad Splendido, with wine pairings, and I bet it still would be less than that!

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Sads, yet again you've ruined my day! ... Just wait, you'll still get yours... :angry:

And at TO prices $230 could be just fine if it includes the wine pairings, so long as the wine was as well-matched and good value as NonDoc says. Based on the info above, though, I'd hope most of the expense was in the wine. (And I assume the tip for the kitchen was included.)

Of course, I'm not saying I'd shell out $230 for same. In fact now I'm having to save up for another new avatar. :wacko:

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$230 a head...good deal? Hahahahahaha Oh boy...Let me have a second to breath here.

Not a snowballs chance in hell I would ever spend over $50 at Lobby on FOOD.

If I wanted to shell out that kind of dough, I would order the 7 course tasting menu ad Splendido, with wine pairings, and I bet it still would be less than that!

The tasting menu at Splendido with wine is $170 before tax and tip. Seems to me that's around $230 per person total.

I get that you don't like Lobby - you've impugned the owners and the Toronto Star, as well as the food.

But let's concentrate on reviewing the food, wine and service.

And also, everybody please get the facts straight on the chef. He's Canadian (nothing wrong with that) NOT Spanish (although strangely very little info on where he trained). But I hope to judge him on his merits when I try Lobby. And that will be early-midweek sometime in the dining area, not the bar where the food will be long out of the kitchen before it reaches the customer.

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But let's concentrate on reviewing the food, wine and service.

Exactly.

I would go to Lobby based on what I have seen and read as I too thought it was one of those see and be seen places only. I think I would go on Mon-Wed to take advantage of the BYOW.

officially left egullet....

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170.....230.....$60...seems like quite a difference.

Regardless, Lobby is a lounge/bar that serves food, not a restaurant. Only now are they trying to make it seem like more of a restaurant...if you knew of it when it first opened, you would agree.

KEV - BUBBLES!

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Looking at the food I would have to say the presentation is pretty much the same through out the menu, a little messy as well.  With the prices charged I would think things would be a little more original , and a little less use of flavoured salts and "caviar".

My thoughts exactly ... although the final judgement comes down to taste doesn't it? Another question ... how does this qualify as "molecular"? Other than a couple dishes with "caviars" I didn't really see anything El Bulli-esque.

The price seems a little steep for lounge food too ... but then again that's unlike any other lounge food I've ever seen. Seems adventurous enough to me at first take.

A.

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170.....230.....$60...seems like quite a difference.

Regardless, Lobby is a lounge/bar that serves food, not a restaurant.  Only now are they trying to make it seem like more of a restaurant...if you knew of it when it first opened, you would agree.

KEV - BUBBLES!

I used to work at splendido and from what I remember they charged tax, and the waiters got tipped so....

$170 + tax and tip = around $230

ns

There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves - Fergus Henderson

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"NonDoc - can you recall the wines?"

Out was out to "work" with the JK gals... so things are a wee bit... fuzzy... to say the least... I'll put my mind to work on it later this morning if I can.

Edited by Nondoctor (log)

"nil illigitimum carborundum"

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Looking at the food I would have to say the presentation is pretty much the same through out the menu, a little messy as well.  With the prices charged I would think things would be a little more original , and a little less use of flavoured salts and "caviar".

My thoughts exactly ... although the final judgement comes down to taste doesn't it? Another question ... how does this qualify as "molecular"? Other than a couple dishes with "caviars" I didn't really see anything El Bulli-esque.

The price seems a little steep for lounge food too ... but then again that's unlike any other lounge food I've ever seen. Seems adventurous enough to me at first take.

A.

Sure taste does have the most to do with the food that restaurants sell, but when you try and throw yourself into the higher end restaurant with the prices that they charge there are a few other things that are involved. The most basic are the flow of the menu(which from the pictures I saw included three different soups through-out the menu), repeating ingrediants( using the salts as an example) , and repeating of cooking techniques( different caviar) all of which looked a little sloppy and presented in the same manner course to course. I also don't see why this would be considered "molecular" either. On the other hand the food from Lobby to the food of El Bulli isn't really fair , El Bulli has I believe around 40 cooks and stages working during service while my guess is Lobby has at most 5-6 plus the Chef during their service.

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NonDoc - can you recall the wines?
Out was out to "work" with the JK gals... so things are a wee bit... fuzzy... to say the least... I'll put my mind to work on it later this morning if I can.

Okay, okay :rolleyes: - 2nd time you've mentioned JK girls. Am I the one to ask? Forget about the wine and tell us about them. :wacko:

when you try and throw yourself into the higher end restaurant with the prices that they charge there are a few other things that are involved. The most basic are the flow of the menu(which from the pictures I saw included three different soups through-out the menu), repeating ingrediants( using the salts as an example) , and repeating of cooking techniques( different caviar) all of which looked a little sloppy and presented in the same manner course to course. I also don't see why this would be considered "molecular" either.

At the risk of sounding uncool (oh dear!) I still haven't the foggiest what 'molecular' is... Foams? F.Adria 'experimentation'? That's my guess, I guess.

At any rate, this critique sounds pretty spot on to me - based on the pictures and description.

(Poor NonDoc getting slammed merely for telling us he liked his dinner. We're a hard bunch to please. Sorry!)

Finally, a worrisome quote:

The Lobby - "Sexy new glass and steel structure housing a restaurant and champagne lounge, although the designer crowd who frequent it sip everything from Manhattans to Martinis in their Manolos. It’s the scene spot of the moment and if Sex and the City were shot in Toronto instead of Manhattan it would certainly have made a guest appearance."  (http://www.worldsbestbars.com)

Sexy glass and steel? Yeesh.

Edited by KevV (log)
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D. Peckham -- how did you think the food tasted?

How could I possibly guess at what the food tasted like? The things I have said about the food have all been about composition and use of ingrediants. By looking at the pictures I don't think I would enjoy it. On some of the plates there does seem to be to much garnish for the proteins( squab as an example) , also there does seem to be alot of oil used on the plates( such as the tuna) and the molten foie just doesn't look tasty at all. Remember when you go to a restaurant , order your food, and it comes to your table that you have to look at it before you even taste it. My question to you is, based on these pictures does this food look like it would taste good?

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  • 4 months later...

Just made a reservation for Lobby for tomorrow, and I was informed that they no longer have their tasting menu available.

Anyone been there recently since this change? Is the food still any good?

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From James Chatto (Toronto Life) Blog on July 24th

"Rob Bragagnolo is also about to leave Lobby—a mutual decision on his part and the owners’. “They want to suit Lobby’s food more to the clientele,” Bragagnolo explains, “and I’m finding this place doesn’t quite match what I want to do.” Bragagnolo came here from Majorca, if you recall, but hopes to stay in Toronto a while longer, to finish what he set out to achieve here. He’d like to find a suitable venue and set up something with a backer and a talented front-of-house guy. John Gay, who brought him to Lobby in the first place, is now ensconced as manager of Rosewater Supper Club. I loved what he and Bragagnolo were doing at Lobby during the early months of the chef’s tenure there but, hey—sic transit gloria mundi. Or words to that effect."

Not sure whether this is the change you refered to, or the Bragagnolo/Gay arrival mentioned above in this thread.

It seems that 'molecular gastronomy' has been abandoned at Lobby. Some people (me included) lament this. Some never believed in this 'fad' anyway. I'm going to Moto (Chicago) this weekend, so it's clear where my heart lies. Unfortunately my one visit to Lobby was disappointing.

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A friend was there last week as part of "Summerlicious". The night before, he visited another participating restaurant, taking advantage of the bargain-priced menu and not expecting a full-on dining experience at the low-low prices, and still came away saying it was one of the best meals he'd had all year.

Lobby was a different story. My friend's not a "foodie", and he has no axe to grind of any sort, but he, reluctantly, described the food as "vile". He was served a wild mushroom risotto ("tasted like dirt") with a lavender foam ("tasted like soap").

Curious, I checked out their menu on-line to see that they had listed for one of their courses several "artesian cheeses".

I know I'm a picky-pants when it comes to proper spelling and terminology, but "artesian cheeses"? Man, if you're going to be all snootified, you gotta learn the vocabulary!

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  • 2 weeks later...
From James Chatto (Toronto Life) Blog on July 24th

"Rob Bragagnolo is also about to leave Lobby—a mutual decision on his part and the owners’. “They want to suit Lobby’s food more to the clientele,” Bragagnolo explains, “and I’m finding this place doesn’t quite match what I want to do.” Bragagnolo came here from Majorca, if you recall, but hopes to stay in Toronto a while longer, to finish what he set out to achieve here. He’d like to find a suitable venue and set up something with a backer and a talented front-of-house guy. John Gay, who brought him to Lobby in the first place, is now ensconced as manager of Rosewater Supper Club. I loved what he and Bragagnolo were doing at Lobby during the early months of the chef’s tenure there but, hey—sic transit gloria mundi. Or words to that effect."

I have a reservation for next Wednesday. Does anyone know if Bragagnolo has already left the building? Has anyone eaten there recently, following this announcement?

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