After hearing about and reading reviews at DineHere.ca, I wanted to try this East side restaurant. It was my birthday, so I asked dear hubby to bring me here and we got the grandparents to watch our two children at home.
We had reservations for 5:30 and we arrived right on time. This is my only quibble with the evening, the restaurant was still closed and the staff were still finishing off setting up. It was a mild evening (even for January) and we didn't mind waiting outside this time. However, if it was raining or very cold, I would not have been impressed with showing up on time and meeting a locked door. The wait was only five minutes and, when the door was opened, we were greeted warmly.
Now, onto the actual review criteria:
Food - OMG - it was so good. Everything was cooked perfectly. Hubby had the scallops - they were divine. I had the onion tart - perfect. We also had a cheese platter - all served at the right temperature!! The mains were also perfectly done. Hubby had the beef tenderloin - cooked exactly to medium as requested. The veggies were the perfect balance between firmness and tenderness. My salmon was excellent - flaky and wonderful without being either over or undercooked. The potatoes were perfect. Even the kale was cooked just enough to be enjoyed without eating raw or overcooked. The flavours were subtle and enjoyable. The food itself was allowed to shine without overzelous seasoning. However, it was just the right amount. I noted that there was no salt/pepper on the table - it was not needed. A skilled chef prepared the food perfectly so that extra seasoning was not required.
The service by our waiter was great. The young man knew the menu, actually discouraged us from ordering too much food (he let us know that the portions were generous). He also was willing to ask a colleague for a wine recommendation when requested by me (I respect that wine knowledge is a specialized thing that takes time to acquire - good on him for approaching a fellow staff member for this information rather than just shrugging or, worse, making something up.
The value was outstanding. Between hubby and myself, we had two glasses of bubbly, three glasses of regular wine, three appies, two entrees, one dessert and two coffees. The quality was fantastic, the portions generous and the service great. The final bill (with tax and 20% tip) was $166. We would have paid at least $50 - $75 more at any other restaurant.
The ambiance was solid - it was not "fine dining" in the form of table cloths and linen napkins, the staff were dressed casual, but clean. The room was simple, with just the right lighting. The washrooms were clean.
I am so glad that I had a chance to try this place. We are already planning on returning for hubby's birthday!!