We had the table right in the front with a great view of passers-by from one angle, and the hustle-bustle of the jam-packed restaurant on the other. This place has not stopped hopping since the day it opened it's doors. And for very good reason. The outstanding service, mouthwatering food and unique music collection are equally amazing. The playlist is actually put together by music aficionado Stephen Flood, owner of The Black Tomato.
The menu has a selection of small plates that can also be served as an app to one of the 3 main courses up for grabs. Simple dishes but made with so much care, leaving you in awe.
After my glass of Prosecco, our food began to arrive. A delicious bottle of Primitivo kept us hydrated through each course – Criteria, Schola Sarmenti, Puglia, Italy, 2007.
First a selection of olives decorated with crisp slivers of pickled fennel and scattered segments of orange.
Then one of my favourite – tuna crudo, velvety smooth and topped with rich truffle oil and lemon. Delicate strips of shaved coppa were draped neatly over each slice, and a sprinkling of mint and chives crowned the top.
Our golden crumbed cod fritters bathed in a seductively smokey pork ragu, while a tangy lemon mayo cascaded the tops.
Our server said the meatballs were a must and he was right. Every perfectly round ball stuffed generously with ricotta and sitting neatly on heavenly soft polenta and then smothered in fresh san marzano sauce and sprinkled with parm.
The lamb ragu was the perfect comfort food for a cool fall evening. Large pappardelle noodles interleaved with meaty lamb, corn, yellow foot chantrelle and grated pecorino romano.
We relish in my friend Dino's ricotta gnudi, soft as pillows and better than anything any of us had had in the past. I swear he was having minor heart palpitations after his first bite.
We had some wine left in our glasses so a chocolate dessert was a must. Blissfully silky chocolate budino with whipped cream and granola made with dried cranberries, chocolate covered espresso beans and walnuts.
This is the kind of place you want to make a regular. And the prices make it easy to do so – small plates range from $5 to $15 and mains $20 to $25. It's so nice to have such a great spot on Elgin.
296 Elgin St