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Toronto's Cafe Boulud Satisfies, Mostly


In-your-face artwork highlights Cafe Boulud's decor.

In early October, when the Four Seasons Toronto launched, housing Cafe Boulud and dbar, two f&b options from New York star chef Daniel Boulud, foodies rejoiced.

French-born Boulud’s reputation precedes him. With multiple restaurants in the U.S. (Palm Beach and Miami, Fla., and seven in New York City, include Daniel, rated three Michelin stars), overseas (London, Beijing and Singapore) and a location in Montreal (Maison Boulud, opened in June in the renovated Ritz-Carlton), he’s an international culinary superstar.

So how does the Toronto location measure up?

On the decor side, the room is spacious, welcoming (with plenty of earth tones) and yet playfully funky, too, thanks to some in-your-face oil paintings highlighting pop-culture figures like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Albert Einstein. To its credit, the space manages to be upscale and casual-accessible all at once.

Service is professional, gracious, knowledgeable and efficient.

And the food? It hit the mark, for the most part. French to the core, the menu is divided into four sections (classic French regional cooking; market-inspired; world cuisines; and vegetable garden).

Soups are strong, especially cream of chestnut, celery and apple, with great depth of flavour and a sophisticated sweetness. Sunchoke soup shines thanks to its accoutrements (quail egg, honey mushrooms and wild-mushroom custard).

Very impressed with the Boston lettuce salad, with a stack of perfect leaves, pickled red onion and julienned celery root in a sharp mustard dressing. But the duck terrine, studded with foie gras, was bland.

Mains included halibut (not as sublimely moist as I’d expected, but respectable, and highlighted by a deeply flavoured red-wine meurette sauce, which played nicely against the mild flesh).

In contrast, Mediterranean sea bream, while perfectly cooked, was fishy tasting and went virtually uneaten. Appropriately, it was taken off the bill.

Dessert was strong, including a sour grapefruit sorbet, served in a hollowed-out grapefruit and garnished with sesame candy floss.

Even better was a clever reimaging of cassata ice cream, anchored by a chocolate sacher cake, airy, cardamom-spiked ricotta mousse and coffee gelato. A brilliant combination of flavours.

Meeting rooms can accommodate large group dinners.

Visit Café Boulud’s site

 

 



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