Monday, January 31, 2011

Frank's Kitchen

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First, a thousand apologies for the horrendous eyesores taken on my phone. You guys deserve better. Downtown Toronto is a strange part of town, teeming with strange people and one-way streets. I hate driving there, but Frank's Kitchen was in Little Italy and I was hungry. How perfect then, that I made reservations for dinner on one of the coldest days we've had in recent memory, the wind chill at -33°.

Thin, narrow dining room, like eating in a windowless train. Dark too, elegant, modern - no tablecloths. Started with an arugula salad with figs, baked oysters rockefeller and an antipasto platter. I really enjoyed the start to the meal - chef definitely goes big. Makes a strong statement, very assertive flavours. Oysters were warm, punchy, rich and creamy. They actually make their antipasto themselves, curing and all. The prosciutto, salami - yeah I see that. But they also serve you cured venison. Won me over then and there.

Entrées of St. Jacob's pork three ways, lobster ravioli, and seared arctic char with sea scallop. Slightly underwhelmed here. Pork was overcooked . . . just by the smallest degree, with the loin rubbed in what I'm convinced is wasabi. Lobster ravioli, absolutely delicious in its tomato broth. Arctic char, sea scallop - could do with a harder sear, but the dish as a whole is well put together.

Ended with a black plum tarte tatin and vanilla ice cream. Could do without the caramel, but this is a nice end to the meal. The chef sends around various little things to nibble on in between courses, a really nice touch. Amuse-bouche of fried goat cheese balls over salad and potato purée. Raspberry and tarragon sorbet. The most amazing, melt in your mouth, creamy chocolate truffles.

Drunk with a bottle of 2008 Tawse Echos Riesling, VQA Niagara Peninsula. Delicious, balanced with high acid. Lots of green apple, linear minerality. Overall, not a particularly exciting wine list, but well priced. Relatively speaking, of course. Like the food menu, fairly compact, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if done well.

I like the restaurant. I like the food. Watching the kitchen work in the open works for them - very calm, organized, competent. Maybe the food isn't groundbreaking or mind-blowingly exciting, but in Toronto, a restaurant that presents well-cooked, seasonal foods is always a wonderful thing.

DF

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