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Don Appetit! Black Angus on Target for April Relaunch

Don Douloff, Food WriterBlack Angus, the upscale restaurant that was a fixture in west-end Toronto for more than 50 years, is on its projected target to relaunch in April in a brand new, sleekly contemporary space two blocks west of its original location.

A walk-through of the under-construction street-level space, located in the Bloor Islington Place office complex, revealed that the project is proceeding swiftly and efficiently, with ‘infrastructure’ such as HVAC installed and ready to go.

Executive chef Greg Argent.

Spearheading the dramatically revamped relaunch menu is veteran Toronto chef Greg Argent, who has worked at such top-flight Toronto restaurants as Rain, Cru and Forte.

“We want to maintain the identity and reputation of the Black Angus to the people who know and love it, and also build on that, in a much larger space, to attract a new clientele,” said Argent.

The key to that multifaceted game plan comes in the restaurant’s very name: “Black Angus — Grill * Bar * Steak.”

The “Grill” part of that equation will evolve via three custom-made stainless steel grills, each fired by real wood; each manned by its own chef; and each devoted to a different specialty: meat, seafood and vegetables. The grills, said Argent, “will be a focal point of the restaurant,” both in terms of menu offerings and the space itself, since the three grills (which, combined, will stretch 10 feet) will be positioned at the helm of the kitchen, to dazzling visual effect.

Rendering of the dining room.

On all fronts, Argent promises creativity — vegetarian offerings, for example, could feature Provencal-style, eggplant and red pepper ‘tournedos.’ Among the seafood-themed grill items will be the Hot and Smoky Seafood Tower highlighting grilled-to-order fruits of the sea — for example, clams with chorizo; oysters; shrimp wrapped in prosciutto — garnished with warm, flavoured butters, the whole served on top of bread and paired with dipping sauces.

The “Bar” part of the equation will showcase an extensive lounge area hosting casual dining and drinks ordered from a list of classic and progressive cocktails.

The “Steak” component will showcase a set selection of wet-aged beef (sourced from a range of specialty suppliers) augmented by a rotating bespoke selection of cuts such as 40-day dry-aged and Wagyu A5 beef.

Argent said Black Angus will, at lunchtime, offer a casual vibe and a broad menu to maintain interest among regular visitors. To capture the after-work office crowd, Argent is designing a happy hour (Monday to Friday 3pm to 5pm) menu of small plates priced at $6 apiece. At nighttime, Black Angus will morph into a white-tablecloth space suitable for power dinners and special occasion celebrations.

Another view of the dining room.

Even the dinnertime bread course will be an event, featuring a cart, wheeled throughout the dining room, offering a selection of hot-from-oven goodies.

All of which bodes very well for the lunch- and dinnertime dining options for the 7,000 people who work in the office towers adjoining the restaurant.

With its focus on steaks and its selection of inventive, non-steak dishes, the relaunched restaurant will represent the new evolution of Black Angus.

— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.

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