Bar Isabel is the new stomping ground for heralded chef Grant Van Gameren, former chef and co-owner of The Black Hoof. He is now co-owner, with Max Rimaldi, owner of Pizza Libretto (my second favourite, but still a big favourite, place for pizza in Toronto) and Enoteca Sociale (one of my favourite places for Italian food in Toronto) in this new venture.
In the early hours of the evening, the sound level allows for conversation, but, once filled with patrons, the noise level of ambient conversation and delightful music, at least for me, became untenable. However, I came to experience the food.
Boquerones (anchovies) with piqillo peppers and sliced jalapenos. A very good dish served with crispy house made chips.
I loved this horse tartar, drizzled with a spicy sauce of chili and vinegar. The sweet meat went well with the mildly spicy sauce.
Very good sobrasada, wild leeks with the wonderfully sweet contrasting flavour of honey.
Perfectly roasted bone marrow with toasts.
Fabulously moist tongue on brioche with grive mustard (made with grape must). Tongue is so much better on brioche rather than chala bread.
Catarina Bay scallops, Spanish blood sausage, wild porcini and wild asparagus.
Blistered shisito peppers.
Fried chicken was just ok, not overcooked but the breading was not up to my expectations and experiences. But the spicy sticky eggplant was great.
Tripe stew with coriander, paprika, chorizo, tomatoes, fried bread crumbs and a poached duck egg.
Strawberry and French sorrel sorbet which was very refreshing.
My one criticism with this meal was that I found some of the dishes a bit over salted.