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Josh's Reviews: Toronto 2010

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

Woodlot Restaurant: Intensely Flavoured Comfort Food
Tuesday, December 28
Walking into Woodlot Restaurant, one is greeted by an open kitchen with a wood burning oven and a humble but cozy small 2 story very informal interior for sitting patrons. We were seated upstairs. The only problem is that if other patrons in this area are very noisy (and there was a group of 14 having a celebratory gathering), the noise made it impossible to hear your friends speak, even when they raised their voices. I must be frank by saying better soundproofing in that area is in order as the din takes a great deal of pleasure from the meal, which overall, we found most satisfying and in some ways, quite exceptional. We were particularly pleased with the very polite and accommodating wait staff and truly delighted by the attention forthcoming by the co-owner chef, who was so attentive to our requests about the elements in some of dishes and personally came upstairs to explain each one with such pride and passion. We could see and experience the love he put into the cuisine.

My Visit to Fabbrica Restaurant
Monday, December 27
Fabbrica has been open for a while. I had visited to see about the new Mark Macewan's restaurant experience. I tried a few apps and started with the the bruschetta with bone marrow and horseradish gremolata. I must say I was expecting a piece of bone marrow on toast, so I was disappointed because I really did not read the menu carefully as it stated that this was a bone marrow butter spread and not what I envisioned. But, if it had a piece of bone marrow on toast, what an appealing concept for me.

A Purveyors Steak Tasting Event, The Best of the Best, and THE WORLD'S BEST BURGER
Wednesday, December 15
Together with a group of experienced beef lovers, I helped to organize a tasting of the best beef supplied by what most consider the best beef purveyors in Toronto, Cumbrae's Meats and Olliffe's. I chose the best of what the 2 purveyors supplied. From Olliffe's, I chose pasture raised, dry aged about 8 weeks, Prince Edward Island, prime grade beef; pasture raised Ontario graded prime beef, dry aged about 8 weeks. Both of these 2 pasture raised cattle were finished on a mix of grains and corn. Olliffe's also supplied feedlot raised, dry aged U.S. prime and wet aged, feedlot raised Australian wagyu beef. Cumbrae's supplied their own pasture and feedlot raised ontario grade prime angus cross beef as well as their own dry aged pasture and feedlot raised wagyu beef. All Cumbrae's beef is raised hormone free and finished on their own proprietary mix of feed. Unfortunately, Cumbrae's owner mis-timed our event and his wagyu beef was only dry aged about 3 weeks, when normally it would have had at least 6 to 8 weeks of dry aging.

Gold Medal Plates Food Event
Saturday, November 6
At the VIP reception, former Gold Medal Plates Winner Chef David Lee greeted everyone with a reprise of his winning dish from last year, crispy chicken skin topped with soft cartilage and a small piece of mildy hot pepper, as an app and also a dish of beans and blood sausage with pigs trotter ragout de boulettes (meatballs).

Banu Restaurant, Wonderful Iranian Cuisine on Queen West
Thursday, November 4
Banu is a restaurant on Queen Street West that anyone could miss. It is often written about as a bar. It has virtually no street presence, no profile. But, don't miss it. It is a gem of a restaurant. Dishes are well executed, the food prepared with love and presented well.

Truffles at Splendido Restaurant
Monday, October 25
Truffles are back in Toronto restaurants. 'Tis the season! Splendido offers a truffle tasting menu and the dish below was the highlight for me.

Roasted Pig's head, Tongue and Tail at Via Allegro Restaurant, Toronto
Friday, October 15
One of the great dishes of the city, roasted pig's head at Via Allegro restaurant! It comes with the tongue and tail as well and some pickled veg, herbal honey and herbal mustard. Such a classic dish. Worth the journey for you passionate adventurers!

Dinner Chez Corey Mintz
September 1
Being invited to dine with Corey at his home was something I truly looked forward to do. Corey is an interesting intellect, a keen observer and perceptively thoughtful and all this wrapped up in an idiosyncratic personality. The question was, despite his sous chef background......could he cook??!!

Lunch At Pangaea
Sunday, August 22
I love the rare roast beef, sliced tomato and mayo sandwich, at Pangaea, served on a crunchy baguette and accompanied by lovely herb dusted frites. So, my lunch partner had that, and loved it!

Breakfast At Blue Plate And A Sandwich Worth The Journey
Saturday, August 21
We recently had breakfast at Blue Plate Restaurant. To be honest, it was the duck hash and fried eggs that drove me to eat there. I liked the duck hash accompanied by sauteed onions, but it was far too little on my plate...I had to dig to find it and I was craving more. But it was potentially good. Also, it just needed more duck . My toast was well done as I like it. I ordered a side of their sausage and that was very good, savory, coarsely textured with burst-in-your-mouth flavour. The perfect breakfast plate for me.

Dhaba, A Favourite For Indian Food
I recently ate at Dhaba Restaurant and enjoyed two very good dishes I wanted to share with everyone. First, wonderfully crispy and flavourful soft shelled crab, seasoned with fenugreek and grilled. It was served with a very complementary fennel salad with mint chutney

Masa Restaurant, New York, Perhaps North America's Best Japanese Experience
Friday, August 13
Masa is, in my opinion, perhaps North America's best Japanese dining experience. I was not allowed to take photos so there is no pictorial record of my experience. The meal costs $450.00 per person, before taxes, saki or wine and gratuities, but, the cost is on par with the best kaiseki or sushi restaurants in Japan, because of the freshness and sourcing of the food elements

Brunch at Table 17
Tuesday, July 17
Brunch on Queen St East has several possibilities and one of my favourites is Table 17. The rustic brick walled interior and laid back service lend a casual feeling to the atmosphere.

Wine Dinner at Gilead Cafe
Wednesday, July 7
I can't say enough about the wonderful cusine Chef Jamie Kennedy is doing these days at Gilead Cafe, so I find reasons to go there often. This time it was a special menu for a group of friends who plan a dinner around "mystery" wines. All the wines are masked and we try to guess what they are and what the vintage is while the hors d'ouvres are passed. We then enjoy all those wines (as we choose) with the courses that follow.

Centro Has A New Chef
Monday, June 21
Centro Restaurant has a new executive chef, Jason Carter, who worked with Susur Lee for 10 years. I went to Centro to see what Chef Carter is presently doing and asked the chef to create a special menu to surprise my guests and I.

Friday Lunch (and more!) at Smokin' Bones
Friday, April 23
Good news, all you students around Dundas East and Church. There is an alternative to noodles, noodles, and more noodles. Billed as southern comfort food, Smokin’ Bones menu specializes in ribs, fried chicken, and sandwiches.

Malena, A Hot New Toronto Resto!
Friday, April 16
Walking into Malena one feels welcomed by a warm and comfortable room, one that has a sophisticated rustic charm with upscale contemporary elements.

Toronto, Brunch at the Black Hoof Cafe, A New Fave!
Friday, April 9

The Black Hoof Cafe is a recent endeavour by the Black Hoof Restaurant's co-owners chef Grant van Gameren and Jenn Agg. When I arrived, I immediately glanced at the menu written on the blackboard and knew that I was in my own food heaven. Hearty food for the serious trencherman. I was here for the morning brunch served after 10am from Thursday to Monday.

A Recent Meal At The Gilead Cafe
Saturday, March 13
Ham croquette with acidulated shallot vinaigrette. Crunchy panko crust filled with savory cubed ham and mashed potato filling. The sharp shallot flavour and the vinaigrette flatter the flavours of the filling.

Cava's Paella VQA Wine Pairing Event
Friday, March 12
A crowd of enthusiastic wine industry people and passionate foodies gathered for this evening of Spanish cuisine created and prepared by the very talented chefs Christopher Macdonald and Doug Penfold at Cava Restaurant. I will not speak about the wines as many wine writers attended this event and will report about the evening.

Dinner at Scaramouche Pasta Bar
Friday, February 19
We began with Provencal style fish soup with traditional accompaniments of rouille and toasts. This classic, richly flavoured fish soup was highly satisfying. Our second course was a very tender medium rare Kobe beef bavette plated with wilted treviso, French green beans red wine butter. Simplicity in presentation and taste and just what I needed and wanted. We enjoyed this course with a 2005 Volnay 1r Cru Les Caillerets-Ancienne Cuvee Carnot Bouchard.

Guu Izakaya Restaurant
Tuesday, February 16
People who like Japanese food are talking about Guu, the Japanese chain of izakaya restaurants. There is a big buzz because it is difficult to get a table because of the restaurant's no reservations policy. Knowing this in advance, I was at the restaurant promptly at 5pm. It was closed, and although they advise that they opened at 5pm, the doors did not open until 5:15pm. By that time there were 10 of us waiting. Even then, we were only allowed in one party at a time and there was about a 4 to 5 minute wait between entrances, all accompanied by multiple wild yellings of Japanese greetings. So, what is the fuss about? Is it worth the trouble of the wait?

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Last modified February 12, 2012 .