A Valentine's Day prix fixe dinner is kind of a tradition for Stacey and me. For some reason there didn't seem to be too many establishments with a Valentine's Day menu this year. It must be the economy. Even more difficult to find is a place that offers a high calibre meal at a decent price. Luckily we stumbled upon a 4 course $65 prix fixe at Sorrel.
Well I didn't exactly stumble upon Sorrel. I had occasioned to go there on an office Winterlicious lunch and was surprised at how far they stretched $20. At the time I was impressed with the quality and artfulness of their cornish hen wrapped in prosciutto, when many a Winterlicious restaurant would've peddled you some form of protein-free pasta.
When we arrived for Valentine's dinner, we were mightily impressed with the effort they took to celebrate the evening with candles visible from outside and rose petals all over the sidewalk and on every table inside.
Prosciutto, warm figs & goat cheese, balsamic glaze
Grilled calamari, tomato black olive relish, grilled treviso
Warm figs and goat cheese have a similar consistency, and almost coat your tongue in a complimentary blanket of sweet and salty goodness. The grilled calamari was surprisingly tender with accents of crunchy char, and bathed in a fresh tomato relish with the perfect level of acidity to balance out the calamari. I was doubly surprised since although I knew it was going to be grilled, I had this image of deep fried and battered calamari rings in my head when I was ordering, as I had often been disappointed with most forms of calamari in a tomato base in the past. Ah, signs of the long work day were showing.
Sweet pea & bufala ricotta ravioli, prosecco sage butter
Tagliatelle, black truffle mushroom pesto, basil, parmigiano
The ravioli was some of the best pasta we've ever had, ranking up there with Massimo Capra's wild boar and cherry ravioli and Matt Kantor's hazelnut ravioli. The richness of the sage butter opened up against the light creamy sweet peas and moist bufala ricotta. Sadly the tagliatelle was not so impressive. It tasted too healthy for me. More like some dry whole wheat thing Stacey would sneak onto my plate if I wasn't looking. Maybe morels would've added more punch to it rather than the sparse amount of black truffle flecks.
Prosciutto wrapped cornish hen, sweet pea mash, natural reduction
Beef tenderloin, stilton, thyme jus, sautéed chanterelles, tomato confit
Chicken wrapped in bacon à la Bourgeoisie! The cornish hen was an outstanding haute extension of a culinary classic, richly flavoured with its natural juices and sitting on a fluffy bed of delicious sweet pea mash. I usually have a more flavourful cut than tenderloin since it's usually a choice between taste or tenderness. However this time, the supple specimen of meat was infused with the earthyness of thyme and chanterelles and lightened with the fresh acidity of tomato confit. Rounding the high and low notes was the rich creamy saltiness of stilton.
Chocolate mousse, vanilla bean crème brûlée, fresh local berries
To finish off the evening we totally polished off a dessert trio, leading the waiter to exclaim "You did very good!... You did very good."
84 Yorkville Avenue Toronto, Ontario Canada M5R 1B9. Ph. 416.926.1010
Posted by: Mark Rodas
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