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Josh's Reviews

Josh JosephsonEach link includes the first part of the review. Many of the reviews also include pictures of the individual dishes.

Dr. Josh Josephson
Trained as a research optometrist, and now owner of Josephson Opticians, one of Josh Josephson's abiding passions is food. Inspired by his father's highly seasoned Romanian influenced dishes and his mother's small but perfectly executed English Canadian repertoire, his own skills developed in reaction to the poor food provided in his college dorm when he moved out to fend for himself. Almost three decades ago, he and a partner established The Cookbook Store with Alison Fryer as manager with whom he continues to share his culinary vision. While remaining owner of Josephson Opticians, Josh has mostly retired from optometry and now satisfies his curiosity about international cuisines through frequent eating pilgrimages to both famous and obscure restaurants around the world. Member: les chevaliers du tastevin; la chain des rotisseurs; the international wine and food society.

See the full poster of Josh with some of Toronto's leading chefs that appeared in Toronto Life in 2010. Photos by Caitlin Cronenberg.


My Culinary Highlights for 2009
Friday, December 25
I travel a lot for both business and pleasure and have the opportunity to eat in so many places; a kaleidoscope of experiences. One has to eat. Better at the most interesting places possible, whether they be simple or haute experience.

The New Splendido, Two Wonderful Meals
Wednesday, December 9
Meal #1
I have had a number of truly fine meals at the new Splendido restaurant. It is highly flavourful bistro cuisine taken to an elevated level, but at reasonable prices. My meals there have been so enjoyable, I just wanted to share my enjoyment of the dishes with my many passionate food friends and acquaintances who are looking for this kind of experience

Julie & Julia Review #3 - A Wonderful Movie For Food Lovers
Monday, November 30
I never liked watching Meryl Streep. Don’t ask me why, but I have felt this way since I first saw her - its like what someone experiences when seeing something that bothers them but do not know why. And then I saw Julie and Julia. I had very briefly shared several visits with Julia Child when she would come to The Cookbook Store. And through this association, I was invited to dinner with Julia and 9 others.

Gold Medal Plates Chef Competition
Saturday, November 29
I am a bit late filing these observations, but have been away at a well known "fat farm" to lose all of the excess baggage I had put on after 2 months of non-stop travel. As everyone may be aware, chef David Lee won the Toronto Gold Medal Plates competition, qualifying to compete in the Canada wide chefs final competition, all in the interest of helping to raise funds in support of the Canadian olympic athletes. Chef Lee won with his well executed Feran Adria (chef at the world's #1 resto, El Bulli, in Spain) inspired crispy chicken skin topped with it's cartilage, flavoured with plum hoisin and sour apple compote. Having tasted the El Bulli version, I can say, that in some respects, his version was even better because how he brought new flavours to the dish to enhance the pure chicken experience. This was one of my top 4 favourite experiences of the night.

Gold Medal Plates Chef Competition
The chef of Lai Wah Heen created a varied presentation of several tastes on the plate, one of which was bbq beef.

Gold Medal Plates Chef Competition
Chef Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall presented a torchon of foie gras, black pig cheek with lentil de puy, lobster pudding, honey picked chanterelles, parsely root with Warsaw apple cider jus.

Gold Medal Plates Chef Competition
Chef Patrick Lin, last year's winner of the Gold Medal Plates competition created 4 outstanding small plates for the VIP reception: a wonderful creamy rich foie gras creme brulet flavoured with chinese 5 spices; duck rillette with crab meat, topped with black truffle and espresso sauce; duck breast peking style with green onion, celery and home made hoisin sauce, all rolled up in a spring roll cone (this was one of my top 4 dishes of the night); an elegantly presented candied walnut rolled with foie gras, topped with orange flavoured lotus crisp (see below).

Paris, The 3*** Hotel Bristol Restaurant d' Ete
November 12
Haute cuisine at it's finest, created by cuisine chef, Eric Frechon and pastry chef Laurent Jennnin. To begin, a plate of amuse bouche: ceps veloute with parsely emulsion; a pineapple chip dusted with szechuan pepper; a "lollypop" of diced fois gras and smoked eel wrapped with beet root emulsion; in a spoon, a green olive from Luc, wrapped with fennel jelly. The fois gras, eel and beet root were and incredible combination of mutually flattering flavours that just bloomed in the mouth as the elements melted on the tongue. (Multiple posts)

Canoe Restaurant with Les Chevaliers du Tastevin
Sunday, November 8
This event, the Chapitre, is an annual event at which potential members are inducted into this burgundy wine society. The staff at Canoe were extremely professional. The chefs created some very ambitious dishes that were well executed.

The Food Dudes!!!
Saturday, November 7
Last night I enjoyed a wonderful tasting meal at a good friend's, created by The Food Dudes caterers. The "Taste of the Season" by Chef Adrian Niman consisted of well composed and executed dishes.

New York Restaurants: Momofuku-ko!!
Monday, November 2
At Momofuku-ko, photography is forbidden. There is no menu. All dishes are seasonal of the moment and at the whim of the chef. If I told you why it took me over 1 year to get a reservation at this much heralded multi-starred restaurant, I know you will laugh! Pardon me for this long winded explanation...but, it may help you get a reservation a lot faster than I did!

New York Restaurants: Prune
Brunch at Prune, one of my favourite breakfasts in Manhattan. They do not take reservations. The lineup starts at 10am. Above, house made lamb sausage, fried oyster omelette with a remoulade sauce, german style multi-grain toast, crisp rosti potatoes and a slurry of confectioner's sugar and tobasco sauce.

New York Restaurants: Convivio
Convivio, a southern Italian influenced restaurant, chef Michael White. On the left, lighly battered deep fried fresh anchovies served with a tartar sauce. On the right, truly indulgent and sublime crostini of chicken liver with caramelized marsala onions on fire toasted ciabatta. (3 posts on Convivio)

A pilgrimage to El Bulli, Rosas, Spain
Tuesday, October 27
At last, the end, after 36 courses!! the post desserts.....mignardises. This was a truly hard choice....so I tried them all!!!! (multiple posts - see the link for the Ferran Adria/El Bulli posts)

Dinner at Stadtlander's Hasai Restaurant
Monday, October 26
(Multiple posts)

Thursday, October 22
Ethiopian beef tartar, seasoned with melted butter and berbere powder. Served with a dry grated feta like cheese, lamb tibs, collard greens with garlic and salad, all on the Ethiopian flatbread called injera. Nunu is a new Ethiopian restaurant on Queen Street West. An open kitchen in a lovely and tastefully modern restaurant, with very friendly staff.

Zane Caplansky at work, slicing his famous smoked meat!!!

Save the Deli!
David Sax is the author of this new book, all about deli restaurants across the United States, Canada and London (UK). Caplansky's Deli hosted this very busy event, offering mini smoked meat sandwishes, mini smoked turkey sandwiches and their famous Caplansky burger, a mix of 80% chuck, 20% smoked meat and some brisket spices thrown in, served medium rare -- medium rare is important!!! In my opinion, this is perhaps one of the very best tasting burgers in Toronto.

The Galician Beef
Tuesday, September 29
Perhaps the best beef of Spain, where milk cattle, kept like pets, tag along on a rope with their owners and when finished their milking life after 9 to 22 years, are slaughtered for beef. This beef was especially selected forChef Berasategui and was served rare. It was extremely succulent and flavourful. From my personal experience, it was better than Argentine and great Canadian beef, and at least as good as or even better than the best of American U.S. prime beef.

3 Star Chef Martin Berasategui beginning to prepare our first course.

Chef David Lee at Gaztelubide

Tapas Bar Crawl: Braised codfish kokotxa, the gelatinous muscle of the lower jaw, a traditional Basque dish
Sunday, September 27
(more photos, locations on blog)

Josh at el Bulli

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
At el bulli. beautiful setting. Escorted into kitchen to meet with Ferran Adria - photo op with Ferran. Cocktails on the outdoor terrace of el bulli. Snacks such as "peanut" filled with a liquid peanut essence. Half cherry with umeboshi liquid. Some el bulli dinner highlights: suck jasmine nectar from the base of a flower, crisp chicken skin canape with it's melting soft tendon.
"Mimetic" almonds, raw almonds, coconut jelly, intense tomato essence ice and mango with umeboshi eaten at end...intense.

Josh's Food Travels in Spain
Thursday, September 3
My first night we went for a "tapas crawl" with one of the great food critics of spain, Peio Garcia Amiano, who flew in from Madrid to be with our group of 8. Only made it through 4 locations.....I was STUFFED!!!

The Bi-Annual Toronto Purveyor's Steak Tasting
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Every two years, there is a get together of serious steak tasters to see which of the better beef suppliers provides the best rib and sirloin steaks. This year, the group consisted of chef Mark Macewan, Josh Josephson, chef David Lee, Jimmy Molloy, chef Joe Bersani, Clayton Ruby, Todd Halpern and David Minucci, co-owner of L'Unita restaurant. All steaks were cooked rare by one chef (David Lee). Another individual cut the pieces and a third person plated the pieces in a certain order so that essentially, this tasting was done "blind". All steaks were referred to by number when scored. None knew the results, or which steak connected with what number, or score, except a fourth individual who was responsible for scoring after all steaks were scored.

Josh banquets at Dhaba
Saturday, August 1
Chef Pk's cuisine consists of layers of flavours in your mouth, the flavours transparent rather than overwhelmed with heat, sweetness or one particular strong taste. Toronto's most sophisticated Indian food experience, easily on par with some of the great Indian restaurant experiences that I have enjoyed in London, England, such as Benares. I will let the following mouth watering descriptions speak for themselves.

Josh at Union restaurant
Monday, July 27
A locavore's dream....wonderful quality, near-region sourced ingredients transformed into simple, intensely flavoured dishes that are very well executed. The highlights were smashed potatoes with radish and chives, the wood oven roasted chicken (my mouth salivates to think about it now), a lovely rhubarb/strawberry crumble. Wonderful, cooked seasonal greens were a very good complement for the cooked dishes.

Josh at Hashimoto: An Extraordinary Seafood Experience
Tuesday, July 21
A week ahead, we planned a gastronomic seafood experience. The chef owner, Masaki Hashimoto, on our instruction, had special fish ordered directly from Japan, flown to Toronto, prepared and on our plates within 18 hours. My special request was a mostly sashimi meal. For this kaiseki experience I was joined by David and Sarah Kirkwood, Zara Fischer-Harrison and Sinclair Philip, chef owner of Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island.

Conviction opens, a Thuet spectacular!
Sunday, July 19
The finale of the TV show revolving around Marc Thuet's new restaurant, Conviction, was held tonight. Some of us expected simple bistro cuisine at this restaurant that interviewed 36 former convicts to acquire a small group of passionate chefs and servers. What we received was artfully arranged and beautifully executed, sophisticated cuisine.

Josh's favourite Thai meal in Toronto
Wednesday, July 15
This meal was perhaps the most refined and flavourful Thai meal I have ever experienced in Toronto. A wonderful transparency of complementary flavours in each dish.

Josh Visits Ceili Cottage
Saturday, July 11
Patrick McMurray (owner of Starfish) got this formula right. The place is booming!! A terrific open patio, and inside, a very informal, home style place to eat....a cleaned up converted automobile garage. 4 local and 4 Irish beers on tap; fresh oysters both shucked and grilled, especially the raw complexly flavoured Howard's Cove oysters; the "Moran's" grilled oysters with garlic, panko and butter; a unique and wonderfully tasty in house made peat smoked salmon...delicately smokey, served with baby pickled purple onions and sour cream and crusty house made bread; very good house made sausages with mash potatoes and onion gravy; mushrooms on toast with blue cheese chunks; peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a buck!! A terrific bread pudding. The other desserts are very ordinary.

The Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder restaurant review
Monday, June 29
This new bbq place is literally smoking! I went on Friday June 12th and had virtually everything on the menu and what I couldn't get, because it wasn't available, I went back and had the next day!

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Last modified September 15, 2012 .