Monday, October 13, 2014

Buca Yorkville, One of My Favourite Restos in Canada

Buca Yorkville just opened. The menu is a wonderful, rustic but sophisticated mediterranean, a mostly seafood menu. And of course, some great Buca pizzas. And it is one of my favourite restos in Canada, already! 

My only negative comments are that the restaurant is quite noisy and it is difficult to hear a conversation. One must raise one's voice to be heard. The "quieter" part of the restaurant is the section closest to the small bar. The second concern was the length of time between courses, but, since this was the very early soft opening, I am sure that this issue will work itself out as each new person becomes more experienced. 

This is a restaurant not to be missed by any food lover, and especially seafood lover. Our highly knowledgeable waiter was passionate and very informative about every ingredient of every dish coming from the kitchen.

The house made bread presentation. Tasty, but for some items, texture not ideal. The Italian "bagel" was my fave.

The choices of sauces used to accompany various fish courses. Fishes are typically served on the plate or in a salt crust. I ordered the sauces to try: salsa mantova with cherry tomatoes, herbs and olive oil; olive with bariole olives, lemon and parsley; salmoriglio with capers, peppercorns, oregano and garlic; peperoni passata, a puree of sweet pepper, chili and garlic. My favourite was the salmoriglio which i believe would provide the most interesting contrast for fish.

Buca's seasonal mushroom pizza with mascarpone and gorganzola cheeses and seasoned with marjoram. Buca pizzas are my faves in Toronto.

Anolini, pasta stuffed with roasted squash and fonduta di parmigiano dressed with fermented butter and grated tre anni cheese. A delicious dish with pasta of good texture.

LOL!! Our neighbours at the next table caught me eyeing their pasta when is was served. They kind of laughed, said they were pretty full and asked if I would like to try their pasta, so they helped themselves and gave me what remained. I was glad they did. Simple spaghetti pomodoro, fresh house made pasta made with tomato leaves, fresh imported Italian seaside tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. What a great dish: pasta perfection. This dish so overshadowed the rather similar and so called "signature" pasta dish of spaghetti and tomato sauce with basil and garlic of renown New York chef Scott Conant, once served at the now closed Scarpetta, at the Thompson Hotel.

Pepperonata, baked eggplant, sweet pepper, zucchini and parmesan cheese. A very good dish.

Braised octopus, B.C. savory clams, bone marrow, cavalo nero (Roman or black kale), baby artichokes and fregola sarda (Sardinian couscous, a kind of local semolina pasta). By far, my favourite dish of the night and for any octopus lover a must order dish. The octopus could not have been prepared and cooked more perfectly. The octopus was supremely tender with perfect texture. Often, octopus can veer towards being tough and fibrous in most chef's hands. I have only enjoyed really good octopus at Buca Yorkville and Toronto's Joso's.

Zuppa di pesce, an assortment of daily selected seafood with artichoke, beans, seabeans and a light but rich tasting seafood broth. A wonderful dish of perfectly cooked seafood.

The list of desserts were highly tempting. The dish above was gianduia chocolate tart, butternut squash gelato and an orange crema. A wonderful chocolate dish. 

Torta di formaggio, Buca's version fo cheesecake: ricotta and mascarpone cheese with befanina crumbs and a concord grape lavender sauce (see below). Not my favourite cheesecake, but the cheesecake itself did have a hauntingly good flavour.

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