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Critic’s Notebook: Restaurant Views and Reviews

Estiatorio Volos was one of my fave new restaurants that opened in Toronto last year. Don’t expect the traditional taverna style common to Toronto’s Danforth.


March 16, 2012

Estiatorio Volos offers a modern Greek decor and menu.

Estiatorio Volos offers a modern Greek decor and menu.

Estiatorio Volos was one of my fave new restaurants to have opened in Toronto in the last year. It’s in the space formerly occupied by seafood resto Mediterra. Andreas Antoniou took over Mediterra from his dad, Bob, and has made over the room in a tasteful, modern Greek mode. Don’t expect the traditional taverna style common to Toronto’s Danforth.

And when it comes to the food, we’re definitely not on the Danforth anymore, Toto. At Volos, dishes are lighter, more sophisticated.

Want proof? Check out the grilled slabs of feta, crusted in sesame seeds and sitting in a pool of barely sweet orange honey syrup, or the grape leaves stuffed with rice studded with pine nuts and Metaxa-soaked raisins.

I was equally pleased with crispy phyllo pastry stuffed with tender braised lamb, veggies, feta and kefalotyri cheese, a dish that managed to be light and extravagant all at once.

So raise a glass of ouzo to Estiatorio Volos! A modern Greek restaurant of this calibre, in Toronto, has been long overdue…

In reviewing my best and worst restaurant meals during the past year, have to rank my dinner at Joel Robuchon, at the MGM Grand Hotel, in Las Vegas, as most disappointing dinner of 2011. This is ironic, since the two meals I ate in 1988, at Robuchon’s legendary eatery, Jamin, in Paris, were the best restaurant meals I’ve ever eaten, period.

In contrast, my tasting-menu meal at Robuchon at the MGM Grand was highly uneven – unacceptable for a chef of this calibre charging these prices.

Overall, the quality was nowhere near what it should have been. Probably the best example was the langoustine-stuffed ravioli, a dish I ate (and marveled at!) at Jamin 24 years ago.

The dishes were the same in name only, and the difference in quality between the dish then, and last year, is the difference between a chef who operates within his capacity and one who is operating beyond his means. With 20 restaurants worldwide, Robuchon is stretching himself too thin.



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