Sunday, 17 February 2013

Toronto Restaurant Review: Corner House Restaurant (Winterlicious)

Here is Part 2 of 2 of my Winterlicious experience this year. Theoretically, nothing would have been better than a dinner at the "O&B crown jewel" that is Auberge du Pommier. However, after hearing very mixed (but predominately lame) reviews about Auberge's Winterlicious menu, we made a last minute decision to consider other options. We were very lucky secure a reservation for five at Corner House, four hours before we actually went, especially because we knew that this restaurant had been fully booked for weeks on end already. 

Marinated Beet Salad

For $35, their menu was very extensive and of very high calibre. For the appetizers, we had a choice between butternut squash soup (Erin got this), an organic arugula salad with candied walnuts, gorgonzola and pear, grilled tiger shrimp (Meredith got this), baked Woolwich goat cheese (the local option), a caramelized sweet onion tart (Jane and I got this), and a marinated beet salad with pecorino cheese and toasted sunflower seeds (Rachael got this). 

Black Tiger Shrimp
Onion Tart and Arugula Salad

I really appreciated the wide selection, especially given that there were six vegetarian options (and seven if you count the shrimp)!  That is practically unheard of on a Winterlicious menu, when it can sometimes be difficult for my vegetarian and vegan friends to find choices. Everything was nicely done. If I had to choose again, I might even get the onion tart again--it was nicely balanced, and also such a unique option.

The mains included a crackling cornish hen, a seared Spring Hill organic rainbow trout (the local option), a whole roasted black angus striploin (Jane got this), a red wine and juniper berry venison stew (the rest of us got this), a pumpkin ravioli (vegetarian option) and a line caught haddock with basmati rice and asian vegetables with a ponzu balsamic reduction (the BEST kind of reduction ;) ).

Angus Striploin with fingerling potatoes, cremini mushrooms and asparagus and a Barolo red wine sauce
Although we knew that it would take away from the sensory exploratory experience if we all got the same thing, the venison stew on a freezing cold winter night was too good to resist. It was also the first time that some of us (not me) had ever tried venison! I couldn't think of a better way. The spaetzle and roasted vegetables were a perfect match to the rich and hearty stew, and the lingonberry and cranberry chutney provided a beautiful hit of acid to round it off.

Jane's beef was really good too. If you're wondering whether it was meant to be of that doneness, she asked for medium.

Venison Stew
Finally for dessert, four of us opted for their famous sticky toffee pudding, while Rachael ordered the Belgian chocolate torte (the other option was a jasmine rice pudding with passion fruit and caramelized coconut).

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Although it was pretty good, I found the toffee pudding a little bit dry and too sweet for my liking. I found myself using the ice-cream to cut the sweetness, which is actually a pretty insane concept if you think about it! I know it would have definitely killed most strictly-Asian palettes. Perhaps it was because I had very high expectations of this dessert that it was a bit of a letdown, but I think this is a case strictly based on personal preference. Meredith attested that she could have eaten this dessert every day! :)

The torte was a bit more predictable, but extremely well done. I would definitely get this next time.

Belgian Chocolate Torte with Creme Fraiche
Positives
  • Warm and cozy ambiance 
  • Awesome bread right out of the oven that they sliced right beside us, served with a roasted red pepper hummus. 
  • Excellent service, with adorable wait staff of various ages (this is actually very rare to find these days!)
  • Many fresh, local and/or vegetarian options
Negatives
  • Their website could seriously use some work!
  • While the interior is nice, their exterior is undergoing some serious construction, which certainly detracts from their curb appeal.
Final Note
You gotta eat here!

I must also take this time to apologize for the off-focused nature of some of the photos--the lighting was, while very romantic, very dim and I had to keep my shutter pretty wide open! You can also have a look at the Winterlicious 2013 menu before they take it down for a new one.

Rating: 4.5/5

Corner House on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

Hanka Banka Bobanka said...

That onion tart sounds appealing to my entire family. We love onions. Also, when you are at my house we gotta make this cake for you... It doesn't require baking. Just cherris, pineapples, melted chocolate, baby cookies mashed up, walnuts mashed up, and sugar... So good. You make it into a shape you desire, then serve cold. Man I want onion tart, and then some of that cake. Then a glass of milk.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this blog! I'm heading to corner house tonight, so thanks for giving me ideas on what to get! Keep up the good work.

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