Well, I finally made it to this resto that many friends and acquaintances were talking about, but fewer are today. I have no real excuse. It is well located in the city's main shopping district close to Bay and Bloor Streets. The decor (something I never get into into in my blogs, because as I always say, one can't eat atmosphere) of this bistro brings back memories of some of the grand bistros of Paris. My daughter, who has been to enough restos with me and has a sense of good food, went with friends, had great fun and loved what she ate, although that may have been less important than her good time. If the food was unacceptable, she would have said so.
But, my eating experience was different. It was not bad. It was just that there was no excitement in what I ate. It was frankly pedestrian.
The petit tower had bland shrimps with poor texture and lacked the bright flavour of very fresh shrimp (even fresh frozen). Oysters were fresh but the most common type. The marinated octopus okay, but uninteresting. The spicy tuna tartar was fine.
The condiment selection offered for the tower, was plentiful, good and well varied: cornichons, fresh horseradish with a very good bight, hot sauce, very good cocktail sauce and mignonette.
The texture of the fillet of sole was a bit mealy. Frankly, this fish experience was disappointing.
Good tasting creamed spinach, but the sauce a bit too watery for my taste.
Very good, tasty, crispy frites.
The desserts were very pleasing and classically well executed. The chocolate ice cream was perfect and creamy. One could come here for the desserts.
The cheese cake was fine.
From my perspective, this resto has huge potential. It has a great location and a spirited design. But first, especially in this part of the city, one must begin with great ingredients. Just like the adage "retail is detail", this very much applies to a good bistro. If the elements of the food can't be the best, don't buy them; don't offer them. It is my belief that things should be kept simple and executed well. Even the bread was disappointing. A great bistro has to have great bread and great butter, elements so good that one might make a meal of them.
Toronto could use a great bistro in this part of the city; a bistro that draws on the greater metropolitan area that can bring people back to this unique standout mid-town Toronto shopping area to experience the wonderful city life. The Bloor Street renovations had that intention. Perhaps all of this will inspire La Societie.
La Societie Bistro
131 Bloor St. West, Toronto