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Scaramouche Fires on all Cylinders

Newsflash: Scaramouche restaurant has negotiated a lease extension, until the end of 2010, at its classy space in One Benvenuto Place.


The view of Toronto’s downtown at airy-yet-elegant Scaramouche Pasta Bar is as breathtakingly panoramic as ever.

The view of Toronto’s downtown at airy-yet-elegant Scaramouche Pasta Bar is breathtakingly panoramic.

Newsflash: Scaramouche has negotiated a lease extension, until the end of 2010, at its classy space in One Benvenuto Place.

Even better news: Chef Scott Hildebrandt and his kitchen are firing on all cylinders.

In fact, my two recent pasta-bar meals were the best I’ve had in 20-plus years of dining at the intimate, airy room overlooking downtown.

Starters rock. A nightly soup, navy bean, comes swirled with pesto, an inspired combo.

Wilted spinach, earthy wild mushrooms and intense mushroom broth elevate pappardelle into something rustic and deeply satisfying. Tender ravioli are stuffed with a delicate trio of spinach, ricotta and serrano ham.

On both visits, pickerel is crispy-skinned and juicy-fleshed and flattered by a smoked-tomato beurre blanc.

More good news: Pastry whiz Joanne Yolles is back in the kitchen after an absence of 14 years, six spent at Pangaea restaurant.

Her moist, plum-studded almond torte and warm banana cake filled with molten dark chocolate really hit the sweet spot.

Ironically, Yolles’ signature dessert, coconut cream pie, is leaden and tastes old.

When Scaramouche moves, it will be interesting to see if the new location replicates the charm of One Benvenuto, which excels as a special-occasion restaurant and business-meeting venue. A tall order.

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