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Rain/Splendido- Convince me otherwise


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I can vouch for Sado Sushi on Englinton. I was there last week and had a fabulous meal. Very different to the usual sushi fare in Toronto. Yum yum!!!

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

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  • 2 months later...

Well,

Feb has come and gone. Where'd you go. What'd you do?

General comments/ observations? Things you'd do differently or pass on next time?

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

PS I ate at Rain this weekend for the first time. I thought the meal was pretty good, but I don't know if I'd recommend it as THE place for visiting culinary students with the means to have only one high end meal in town. Nice presentations on large and assymetrical "look my food must be important" plates - but less fussy than some of the stuff I remember seeing on their tv show. Sometimes hard to eat though, pulling the banana leaf "ring" off before you can get to the food, etc. Still, given my one experience there, I think you'd have a pretty decent meal.

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Sorry for taking so long to update.

This trip went very well. One of our better trips.

Most disapointing restaurant: Bymark

This was not a full student dinner. Just 5 instructors.

I was very disappointed. Walking in to the place was like walking in to a subway station. The stairs were very dirty the main foyer was dirty. The big wood carving looked totally out of place in these conditions.

We were seated at bench seating. I have no problem with that but the seats, at least the section I was at, had holes in the upholstery, and even worse, didn't look like they had been cleaned in quite some time. There were a lot of crumbs on the seat.

Service was mediocre at best. I expect a hell of a lot less casual service when the prices are as high as they charge at Bymark.

The food was good but again not the quality I was expecting.

I ordered the "poutine" to start. Very disappointing. The fries were greasy and the bernaise sauce had very little flavor and was under seasoned.

Also at the table we had:

The characutiere platter, it was good but nothing spectacular.

The lettuce wraps, awful. The cod was far from fresh.

The caramelized squash & duck confit risotto, excellent. Probably the best dish of the night.

The seared foie gras, no complaints other than it was under seasoned.

Three of us had the 16oz. dry aged rib eye. The steaks were very good and cooked to our specifications but the side dishes were weak at best.

One had the roasted artisan chicken which was well prepared and one had the daily special which I don't recall.

The desserts were average.

We only had a couple of glasses of wine for the table as there were a few non drinkers.

Total bill was a little over $650

Price for me isn't really an issue but product and service is and Bymark failed on these counts.

Another restaurant that just my wife and I went to was Fuzion.

First impressions:

A little odd. The host, who I assume is also the owner, in his ill fitting suit, was friendly but didn't seem entirely comfortable. Our jackets were taken and put on a long coat rack with no ticket to indicate where they were. (this would come into play later)

Service was very good. Servers seemed to work well as a team and our main server was very friendly and knowledgeable.

We started with the Chef's Collection appetizer. On this night that consisted of the Cherry Wood Smoked Oysters, the Caribbean Shrimp and the Duck Potstickers.

The oysters were very good. Good texture and not over powering with the smoke. The shrimp was somewhat over cooked and not hot. The potstickers were also very good. I think the kitchen has an issue with heat because most of the food came out luke warm.

Second course we shared the Smoked Curry and Tamarind Lamb. Very good flavor but just lacking a little. Many of the dishes we were served had the right idea but just came up a hair short.

We also had the Tomato and Mozzarella salad. This was quite plain.

For main course we had the Bison Short Rib which was very good and very flavorful. Only complaint with that dish was the Gratin Potatoes were undercooked. I like them firm but not crunchy.

We also had the Free Range Chicken. Very good job on this one.

We shared the custard trio for dessert. Not memorable. The best was the pumpkin.

When we paid our bill and tried to leave there was no one to get our coats. I tried to find them myself but was wading through a sea of others. Eventually we found them.

Overall I would give them a possitive rating.

There were some things that were not outstanding but I would definately return.

Price for two with wine was under $150 which is a bargain in a good restaurant.

Best restaurant was Splendido. This was one of the main group dinners.

We started with some canapes.

Amuse Bouche:

Grilled Tunisian Octopus, Eggplant Roulade and Chive Beurre Blance

Second:

Quebec Foie Gras and Ham Hock Terrine, Pork Cheek, Kozlik's Triple Crunch Mustard

Kim Crawford, 2005 Gewurztraminer

Third:

Roasted Nova Scotia Lobster, Pressure Cooked Veal Oxtail, Preserved Lemon Salad, Parsnip Chips

Fairview Cellars, 2003 Viognier

Fourth:

Garlic Burgundian Wild Escargots, Carnaroli Parsley Root Risotto, Niagra Pancetta

Thirty Bench, 2005 Riesling

Fifth:

Duck Confit Stuffed Savoy Cabbage, Beef Consomme, Oxalis Leaf, Perigord Black Truffles

Remoissenet Pere & Fils, 1995 Pinot Noir

Sixth:

Boudin Noir, Wild Boar Belly, Pressure Cooked Tuscan White Beans, Quail Egg, Brioche

Grange Phillipe, 2003 Grenache/Syrah

Seventh:

Cuit-Sous-Vide Lamb Tenderloin, 8 Hour Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Butter Poached Gnocchi, Pearl Onions and Thyme Jus

Bodega Ca N'Estella, 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spain)

Eighth:

Grand Marnier Souffle, Chocolate Sauce

Pedro Ximenez, Cream Sherry

The dinner was virtually flawless except for the souffle being slightly undercooked.

What made this even more impressive was that none of the three main players were there. David, Yannick and Carlo were all off for various reasons. Also we were almost an hour late for our reservation.

Great job as usual.

I often take students to Benihana for something a little different. This year we went to Yamato instead. It was a good choice.

Our whole group had the Imperial teppanyaki, which is beef tenderloin, shrimp and chicken. The meal starts with a miso soup followed by salad with house dressing.

Then out come the chefs. We had three different chefs. Two were outstanding and one was just OK. He was good while at the table but he rushed through things so fast that he was done in half the time of the other two.

The food was as good if not better than Bennihana, allowing for the fact that you are never going for fine dining at a teppan restaurant, and the show was definitely as good or better.

Our meal at Yamato with a half bottle of wine per person cost considerably less than the equivalent meal at Bennihana with a glass of wine.

We also had a 5 course lunch with wine pairings at Peller Estates in Niagra. It was very good but nothing memorable.

We followed that with a tasting at Hillebrand Estates Winery.

We did a walking tour of Kensington Market where we did cheese tastings and stopped at various places in China town on our way to the St. Lawrence Market.

Peameal sandwich at the market as well as some honey tasting and aged meat tasting.

Our final group meal was at the Royal York.

Sadly it was a disapointment.

We were booked as a VVIP function but the service was somewhat less.

Perhaps it's a union issue but it was awful.

The room was too small for the group.

There was nowhere to hang jackets when we arrived. The room was painfully hot. There were too few servers. The server pouring the wine spilled a good amount with each pour, including dragging dripping wine over guests.

The food was good, a couple of courses were even very good, but overall it was just a fair experience.

The time went very fast and I didn't do half of what I wanted to, but I will get to those things next time around.

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Thanks for the update. I have eaten at Yamoto at lunch (sushi mainly) and found the quality good, and the service excellent.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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