December 2014 Archives

The Beech Tree | The Beaches

**Update: Robert Maxwell is no longer the owner of the Beech Tree. His story "A Restaurant Ruined My Life" in Toronto Life describes how he failed at fulfilling his dream of restaurant ownership, resulting in giving the Beech Tree up to new owners in 2015.**

There is a real warmth to this Kingston Road restaurant in Toronto's Upper Beaches. The atmosphere makes you feel like you're inside a Manhattan bistro in Greenwich Village. It's one of those spots that feels so good to walk into.

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The Beech Tree menu features the best local ingredients with plates putting a modern spin on traditional English country cooking. The ambience is a combination of casual and elegant without a hint of pretension. The menu is complex but not overly complicated. Details like the glasses of water with fresh mint and sliced cucumber are simple, lovely and luxurious.

The flavourful whey-fed Ontario pork chop with rye dumplings, brussel spouts, celeriac, apple and sage:

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This dinner special of quail and sweetbreads prepared sous-vide was savoury, fragrant and perfectly cooked.

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The Ontario fruit crumble with buffalo milk semifreddo and apple fritter was the perfect combination of tart and sweet:

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The flourless Equadorian chocolate cake is sprinkled with Maldon salt and topped with a dollop of unsweetened crème fraiche. It was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. This cake, along with the burger, are the only two items that have been on the menu since day one.

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A bonus of visiting the Beech Tree during the holiday season is the homemade eggnog, which is prepared with twelve eggs yolks, Maker's Mark bourbon and Remy XO cognac. The cocktail menu features classics with a twist such as the White Old Fashioned and are prepared with bitters and grenadines that are made in house.

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Owner Robert Maxwell has created a cozy, tasty dining experience at this lovely spot. A welcome find. Rosie :)

Buca | King Street West

Finally! Buca. Sensational. The salumi is cured onsite and the cheese and preserve selection is outstanding. Highlights include the wild boar and the ricotta di bufala.

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Lamb's brains alla saltimbocca and fried pig ears to start.

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The signature pastas are handmade. While the menu changes regularly, the bigoli is a staple and always available. The torchio-cranked duck egg pasta is tossed with duck offal ragu, venetian spices, mascarpone and basil.

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The hand-cut pork blood pasta is tossed right at the table with smoked burrata cheese.

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This double-stuffed ravioli is one of the most beautifully presented dishes I have ever seen. Each one is filled with braised goose, roasted squash, hazelnut crackle and fonduta di parmigiano.

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Milk-poached veal tenderloin.

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This was hands down the best dessert I have ever eaten- parmigiano reggiano ice cream. It was perfect. And I don't even really like ice cream.

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Executive Chef Rob Gentile does not disappoint. What an experience.

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