*the yips, I figured it out
It’s getting close to the end of the year, except this time around we actively ranked restaurants soon after our meals instead of waiting until the very end. Who can remember a dinner from almost a year ago? No one, except maybe Proust. That being said, it’s hard to edge out our top three contenders thus far (we are only counting Toronto-based fooding, counting our California trip would just be plain unfair). I had high hopes for Grey Gardens, it was from the lady behind Black Hoof and they had a Michelin-starred chef. We walked right by the place the first time, it had grey grating on the window and legit looked like a closed down storefront. We double-backed and even still once the number was confirmed, questioned if we had the right place? It did fit right in with the Kensington vibe (ironically it was the finest and most expensive dining we’ve ever had in Kensington and the total opposite of the usual fare).
So how did it stack up? Pretty damn well. It was one of the better meals we’ve had, everything was well-balanced and in harmony. They get major bonus points for encouraging sharing. I initially had my eye on the truffle sausage until i saw the fried maitake, which only caught my fancy after I googled it and found out it was a type of mushroom. And it was served with a mustard dipping sauce? Heck yes! I tried to order the cider they had on tap (such a rarity) alas they were all out. Instead I went with my backup: orange wine. I half expected it to be made of oranges but apparently it referred to contact with the skin grapes.
The mushroom was amazing, so lightly breaded and perfectly deep fried. The mustard dipping sauce was perfect. Up next we had scallops. I am generally not a fan, I will eat them but not always enjoy them. I might be wrong, when done right they are so good. They were thinly sliced and so soft, there was a citrus-y zing to them and a tart crunch from something we could not quite identify? When you had a bite of all three it was amazing. That’s what we were starting to realize over our first bites of the arctic char: all the elements of each dish paired together and created a balance. Everything was on the plate for a reason. It reminded me of another time when we had ordered two different mains but we were served the same sides. The skin on the char was so slightly crispy, it borderline wasn’t even crispy. I usually kind of ignore the stuff underneath i.e.: the stuff listed in the menu after the main item. Not so with the char, every forkful had a piece of fish and an equal amount of the farro. It was so damn good, even now I am thinking about it and craving it. Our last dish was the skate, you can never go wrong with skate. It might be one of my favourite seafood dishes. The skate was delicious, even if the tamarind was faint. It was so delicate and yet meaty? I was not a fan of the mustard greens, the mushrooms were good but I was reaching the point where I couldn’t eat any more.
We were still hungry for dessert but nothing on the menu caught our eye. Brent pointed out that Little Pebbles Bakery, voted best Japanese dessert, was just around the corner. We ordered a slice of strawberry shortcake, a coconut yuzu tart and a matcha canelle. As soon as we got home, I was barely settled and already had a fork in hand. The yuzu tart was the clear winner. How can you go wrong with that combination? You can’t. It was delicious, the tartness of the yuzu set off by the sweetness of the coconut in a not-too-sweet tart shell. We should have just gotten two of those and left it at that. The strawberry shortcake was OK, I liked the cream but the cake itself was kind of dry. I was surprised to find that the exterior of the canelle was rock hard. I had tried to cut it in half and I struggled. The inside was a soft and spongey cake but it was just a weird little dessert. I ate it first, anticipating it would be the worst of the three based solely on my trying to cut it. Then I took a bite of the cake and the tart to determine who was next.
On the walk back we passed by Eataly again. It was opening day and I had assumed I could casually just go in. My initial plan was to go in the afternoon after yoga. Nope. They didn’t’ open until 5pm. Ok, alright I thought, we’ll go after dinner. Except on the way to dinner we saw a huge line around the block. Surely it would dissipate by the time we came back? Again no. Oh how wrong I was.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I tried to go back on Sunday, surely it would have calmed down? Nope still a line of approx 60 people? Eataly closed down on Monday to rejig after the madness. I have a feeling for my third attempt on Tuesday, it’s gonna happen. It will, you’ll see.