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Opinion

Don Appetit! Victor’s Marvelous Makeover


Don Douloff, Food WriterIn September, Victor restaurant, nestled in Le Germain boutique hotel, tucked away on Mercer Street, in Toronto’s Entertainment District, unveiled an extensive makeover to its space and menu.

Reimagined by Toronto’s DesignAgency, Victor is a modern interpretation of the classic American-style brasserie. The space now comprises a dining area, intimate bar and a coffee-and-breakfast café, each integrated with the other to transition with the redesigned lobby.

Newly expanded, Victor seats 60. The two-storey glass-walled dining room’s eye-catching design elements — a 700-square-foot twisted gold metal hanging light fixture; wood and peacock leather; antique-bronze accents; frosted amber mirrors; concrete tiling; and Salisbury-green tabletops — create an airy yet intimate open-plan ambience. Huge picture windows peer onto quiet Mercer Street.

Like the restaurant, the menu, under executive chef Lanny MacLeod, is more casual and approachable that before.

Leading things off is pillow-soft, hot-from-the-oven focaccia, which sets the one for chef’s creative plates. For example, I loved his salad that inventively pairs tender green beans, almonds, raisins and bleu Benedictine cheese. It’s a harmonious blend of sweet, nutty and funky flavours. Topped with a generous mound of prosciutto, it’s almost a meal in itself.

Tomahawk steak for two.

Summer-sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, pistachio pesto and tarragon accessorize al dente tagliatelle pasta. Fat scallops are pan-seared until they’re just cooked through, and sit on thick and deeply flavourful carrot puree jazzed with fennel butter. The 32 oz tomahawk steak, built for two, is presented with the entire rib bone, its fat slices of meat rosy and juicy.

Side veg are superb, and include tender roasted cauliflower fragrant with lemon and za’atar Middle Eastern spice blend; soft, honey roasted carrots perfumed with ginger; and a puree of sweet potato and cheddar.

Courtesy of the hotel’s pastry chef, Martin Gouthro, sweet endings include a light and creamy-smooth cheesecake lavished with intense raspberry compote, and devil’s chocolate fruitcake layered with Bailey’s buttercream and butterscotch.

Group dining options include Victor café, available as a semi-private event space in the evening and hosting seated dinners for up to 12 people and also accommodating a “Kitchen Party” family style standing reception for up to 25.

In September, renovations will be completed to the Hatley Room, which will replace the hotel’s large event space and will accommodate 100 for seated functions and up to 130, cocktail-style.

The Dominion Room on the Mezzanine level accommodates 40 for seated dinners and up to 60 for standing functions.

The Library hosts cocktail receptions for up to 60.

— 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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