Thursday, March 24, 2011

Toca Restaurant, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Toronto

Toca Restaurant's chef is Tom Brodi, former executive chef under Anthony Walsh at Canoe Restaurant. So, I had high expectations looking forward to my dinner there. The room itself has a very comfortable atmosphere. It is both sophisticated and informal in a very modern way. Although I did not order it, i noticed that the menu features the makers one of my very favourite smoked salmons; Wolfhead.

We began with an amuse bouche of tuna sashimi, shaved, cured fois gras, and blueberry and raspberry ice, all served chilled. The contrast of the blueberry flavour provided a wonderful contrast to the very fresh fish and the fat of the fois gras was a good complement for the maguro grade tuna, which is very lean.

My next dish was an extremely good beef tartare; the beef was properly aged and supplied by Cumbrae's Meats. This beef tartare was perfection for me, very nearly as good as my fave in Toronto, available at Didier's Restaurant. It was so appealing i took a forkful before I took the photo.

My dinner partner ordered B.C. Dungeness crab with bone marrow, peau rouge cheese  and fennel pollen. It arrived beautifully presented in a split marrow bone and topped with a thin slice of roasted fennel.

The following dish, a surprise, was brought in plated under a small glass bell jar that retained a dense smoke. When lifted, the intoxicating aroma of the smoke made my mouth water when I viewed what became visible, a nicely cross-hatched piece of pork belly. A terrific "snack".  

My final dish was St. Canut pork stew with quark spaetzle and I ordered braised red cabbage to go with that rather than the pickled cabbage offered. The stew had a wonderful gravy and came with root vegetable and pieces of blood sausage, a trencherman's combo.

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