Number 10 on Toronto Life’s Top 100 Restaurant was Quetzal. We had some idea of what to expect, as this was a new restaurant from the people behind Bar Isabel and and Bar Raval. I was a little bit hesitant, I was not impressed with Bar Isabel but I loved Bar Raval. As soon as I walked in I was wrapped in the smell of the giant woodfired oven in the open kitchen. This was going to be a good dinner. My outlook only improved after ordering a cactus-rose cider from 101 Cider House. I was torn between it and the rhubarb-infused gin feature cocktail. But that could be my second. Brent arrived soon after my drink and immediately pointed out the Revel cider I had missed at the bottom of the features menu. It looked like this was going to be a three-drink dinner. No complaints here (that is, until that night when I couldn’t sleep because my head was pounding).
Brent had his eye on three different starters: a chicken empanada, a citrus salad or something with a veggie in it. I had a very biased opinion on which he should get. I was worried though, the empanada sounded like it would be too much, but the waiter confirmed it was a fine starter. I couldn’t resist the wagyu beef skewers on the features menu. They were served together on one plate. It was the closest dish we had ever come to being a wow without being a wow. We did briefly debate if maybe it was a wow? But the fact that we had to debate it kind of answered our question. I was a fan of the beef skewers. So simple, just beef with a few large salt crystals- but so juicy and tender and just everything you want from a meat dish. The empanada with the smoked chicken, oh man it was so good. The cucumber in the salsa added a touch more but overall a great dish. The server had joked if we wanted any veggies, I just laughed. The sauces would count.
Brent ordered the steak, I had the red & green chorizos. We traded halfway. The chorizo was disappointing. The green one had a great seasoning but it kind of crumbled and fell apart as I was eating it and it was a bit dry. Both were. They greatly relied on the accompanying salsa. The steak was amazing, it came with the same salsa on the side but I preferred the chimichurri. I am a sucker for cilantro. The Revel cider was refreshing and borderline citrus-y but very light. It had something German in it starting with a G and going on for 12 letters. I had initially overlooked it because it just seemed like a beer item not a cider. Oops. The rhubarb cocktail won of all three, how could it not? Even though I now blame the gin for my headache (this morning I had mistakenly blamed the cider).
In the end though it was a lot of meat. I needed some non-meat. Thank god for dessert menus. How do you say no to a spiced mexican chocolate sorbet with passionfruit and pink peppercorns? It turns out that when they say sorbet they meant mousse/pudding. The passionfruit was weird, it was mushy and did not go with the dish at all. I scooped it off the side making the dish much better.
Half the walk home was spent debating where into the rankings it would fit. The next day I went to put on the same dress and I found it smelling woodfired stove- not in a bad way.