Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Visit to North 44 Restaurant (Toronto)

The other day was my mom's birthday, so my stepfather took the family out to my mom's favourite restaurant, North 44 (2537 Yonge Street, Toronto ON  M4P 2H9 (416) 487-4897).

The restaurant, named for Toronto's latitude, is conveniently located in midtown, just north of the Eglinton subway station.

Chef Mark McEwan (of Bymark, One, Fabrica and late of Top Chef Canada fame) presents a continental menu in exquisite surroundings.  This is not a party spot, but rather an elegant dining experience, best shared with good friends.

To start, we all enjoyed the soup of the day, a cold zucchini soup finished with sour cream.  Refreshing and light, the soup was a wonderful way to begin the dinner.

For the second course, I had the seared “Day boat” scallops with beluga lentils, wilted lettuce, heirloom carrots and crisp pancetta.  The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the lentil and carrot sauce was delicious.

Prior to the main course, we were served a light melon ice in a tiny dish, as a palate cleanser.

For the main course, I ordered the seared B.C black cod with truffle risotto, kohlrabi, braised onions, peas and miso sauce.  The truffle risotto was To Die For, and the black cod was cooked perfectly - moist and delicious.  It took every ounce of willpower in my body not to eat every morsel of the risotto and then lick the plate clean.  But it was a close thing.

I did not have dessert myself, but my stepfather ate my mother's cherries jubilee, and pronounced it delicious.  I was disappointed that the dessert was not finished tableside with the flambe as a spectacle, but you can't have everything.  My sister and partner and stepfather enjoyed the cheese plate, which went well with the port sampler they had after dinner.

Elaine, the front of the house manager, was there to provide customized attentive service.  It is this service that keeps my parents coming back.  Interestingly, the service ethic is something that the staff at McEwan's Fine Foods shares - - I suspect it is a corporate culture guided by McEwan himself, who I have often seen at McEwan's overseeing operations.

Overall, everyone had a wonderful time at dinner, and no one had a dud meal - - each course was delightful.

A visit to North 44 is not necessarily easy on the pocketbook, but for occasions when you want to feel special, it is well worth it. 

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