Monday, March 16, 2015

The Chase restaurant: A review

image courtesy of

I can't remember the last time I felt compelled to write a restaurant review for the blog. It wasn't until my dinner companion and foodie extraordinaire Jamie G. mentioned that she'd love to be a restaurant reviewer, that it reminded me that I do have this blog and I've done reviews before, so why not now? I suppose one of the reasons why I haven't provided reviews as often as I'd like on the blog, is because there is often a very fine line between being knowledgable and happy to share food news, and being an insufferable prick when you're talking/criticizing someone else's food creations. Thankfully, the prick label hasn't landed on me. At least I don't think it has. Anyway, lets talk food.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and just felt instantly comfortable? That's The Chase.
Do you recall the last time you've encountered a restaurant whose staff are so welcoming, knowledgable,and prompt? Again, that's The Chase.
And when you leave, you're content and full, but not grossly so - until:
a) You run to try and catch the subway and realize you really are much more full than originally thought; and
b) That run makes you realize either you or the eliptical are not doing the job of getting you in shape? That was the final thought after an evening at The Chase.

Jokes aside, it truly was a pleasure to dine at the restaurant.

One of the main attractions of the restaurant, is it's seafood selection. I was re-introduced - after a rather long and angry hiatus, to oysters. Thank God Jamie practically force fed them to me because it would have been heartbreaking to have missed out. The last time I had oysters I was so sick, I could feel my stomach rumbling - and not in a good way, at the mere reading of it on a menu. The creamy smooth East West oysters we inhaled at The Chase more than made up for that unfortunate past oyster incident. It just went gliding down my throat so silky - smooth and absolutely delicious. I also had the Octopus with salsa verde, mergues sausages and olives. It was good, but I must admit, when the waiter originally asked how many oysters we wanted, I should cancelled the octopus and told him to give us every oyster in the kitchen.

For dinner, I chose the red snapper special with ham hocks and a rich crème fraîche sauce. The fish was light and delicately cooked, but I wasn't thrilled with the ham hocks, or the sauce for that matter. It's a somewhat questionable side to begin with, but these pieces were far too chewy and over cooked, which would explain it's overall tough texture. And I only wished the sauce was better presented to make it a bit more appetizing, rather than splashed it all over the fish. I'm kind of a stickler for presentation. Of course, if you visit previous hungry man blog posts, you'll note that my christmas cookies are certainly no winner for the cover of Bon Appetite, but I digress.

My dinner companion had the black cod in fresh herb broth. Her only complaint was that it was a bit oily, but overall the flavours of the fish and broth just blended together nicely. We shared an order of shoestring potato frites, with garlic and truffle oil aioli. So in other words, we both had fish and chips. It was paired with a very dry, crisp (and recommended by our incredible waiter) Falanghina Dei Feudi Di San Gregorio white wine from the Campania region of Italy. It really was the perfect companion to the seafood.

I'll say this straight-away: I am not someone who enjoys taking pictures of food in restaurants. I am well aware that loads of people happily do it. There are social media sites devoted to it, but that doesn't make it right. It's just that for me, I compare it to staring at strangers having sex, which is probably using a graphic, but well understood example. It's happening, and then you decide that perhaps your friends, family or other strangers may enjoy this, so you decide to record it. I know for me I'd be completely uncomfortable doing it, yet I can't turn away. If the act itself is already seared into my memory, do I really need to have a permanent record of it?

As it turns out, sadly I do. Sometimes.

This is the picture of the dessert. Please click here to view it.

It is lime curd, layered in an angel food cake with coconut cream & toasted marshmallow icing. Read that description again for the full, mouthwatering effect, then look at the picture again. It was such an amazing dessert, created by executive pastry Chef Leslie Steh of Colette Grand Cafe in Toronto. Thank God Jamie shared that cake with me, because at that point in the meal, if I inhaled it myself I'd be rolling out of the restaurant. Not that I would have minded eating it on my own. Yes, it was that moist, and tasty, and just so incredibly eyes rolled to the back of your head good you want more. I am an admitted dessert addict, and when something that amazing hits my mouth after what was already an incredible meal? You sincerely don't want to leave.

But leave you must, and I'm here to tell you to try and add The Chase to your potential restaurant bucket list. Oh, and make sure you bring plenty of money because it's not cheap. It is a gorgeous room, and on a Wednesday night, surprisingly quiet. Loads of corporate types abound, but it is not a place where you would ever be intimidated by the clientelle, or the menu for that matter.

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