Saturday night, 4 of us came to North 44. JK and I arrived first. Unexpectedly MR reserved the table under my name. Later I found out the reason… it was because of my last-day cancellation with him in Oct (opps!). Taken off our coats, we were led to the table on the upper floor. At around 8:30pm, the place was almost a full house. It was my first time there. However, for some reasons it seems that the place was exactly the same as what I had in mind. The description on their website is correct – “the restaurant possesses a sophisticated, yet relaxed atmosphere with a contemporary decor”. I found this place quite warm and welcoming in the winter. (Well. technically winter’s not here yet, but sometimes it can get quite chilly at night.)
After 10min, MR and his friend, S (I just found out I don’t know his last name – so I will call him S here) arrived. It was a good combination of people with different background. Don’t you love “crossover” once in a while? Yah, there were definitely some sparks on our table that night. It’s always good to hang out with people who share the same interest. Here, of course I mean food. Foodies or chowhounds, doesn’t matter how you call us.
Looking at the menu, there were about 20 different dishes of appetizers and salads that you can get the night started with – from the richer favour ones such as foie gras, oysters to the light and heathier choices such as greens. JK and I, as usual, would like to order different dishes and have a fork of each other’s – that’s our deal. 😉
Here are the starters we ordered:
1. My Crisp pan fried crab cake with lime spiked avocado, cress and citrus aioli
2. JK’s White prawn risotto – special of the night
3. MR’s Baby organic greens with shallot vinaigrette and herb shoots
4. S’s Golden potato gnocchi with woodland mushrooms, Reggiano cream and white wine
Had a bite of everything except the greens. I liked all of them! Maybe… If I had to choose I would say I like the risotto better. The portion was just right. Chit chatting… as usual, it took quite a long time for the main course to come out. (I had a feeling that it would turn out to be a 4 hour dining experience again, and it did turn out that we were the 2nd last table of the night.)
For the main courses, the selection was wide as well – 18 dishes, including 5 of them were steaks. I wasn’t a meat-eater 6-7 years back. In the old days, I usually ordered seafood and veggies and seldom ate at fast food restaurant. Then about 5 years ago, I started eating out (much) more often – not just dining, but also grabbing bites from fast food restaurants. My consumption of meat was like a bull market. After all these years, I think somehow I gotta reduce my red meat consumption, especially beef (I suspect I get a bit allergic to it – not clinically proven, just a suspect *oh no*).
So I ordered the first seafood item that caught my attention – the Roasted grouper with stewed plum tomatoes, sweet onion, braised celery heart and citrus aioli. It was not bad. The grouper was nice, and the sauce was appetizing and the amount of it was good enough to complement the potatoes, which were a bit plain.
MR and S ordered the Roasted Quebec Artisan chicken with squash risotto and fresh truffles (It was just so-so… according to S.)
JK, on the other hand, ordered the Alaska Black cod with white miso glaze, soy beans, smashed potatoes and wilted bok choy. I had a bite of hers and I liked her black cod better than my grouper. The funny thing was that she said she liked my grouper better. (Is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?! :p)
Finally, after we all finished our main courses (with a bit of leftover… coz one of us was too full by that time :D), it was DESSERT time! Although I always think for girls there’s always a space for desserts no matter how full we are, apparently, that’s not 100% true. The dessert menu was too tempting. That was why JK and I ordered the Mixed Dessert Platters for 2. LOOK at the size! I tried my best… still couldn’t finish it. I think I liked the mango sorbet the most. The two desserts that we specified, pumpkin cheesecake and peanut butter creme brulee, were good – but not spectacular – could be better. I still prefer the classic creme brulee. There were some other cookies, berries, tropical fruits (I loved the mango), ice cream… Yummm… I was in heaven.
Talking about heaven…S’s WARM CHOCOLATE TORTE with espresso ice cream, orange sauce and candied peel was just heavenly luscious. I highly recommend it to you. Warm, rich chocolate cake that melts in your mouth. Some people say women prefer chocolate to sex, and there are tons of articles just about the topic of these two. I guess both of them can be satisfying. At the end, we had a dish of complimentary sweets. I think they would be an excellent finale for the night if we hadn’t ordered the desserts. The one on the side, with passion fruit sauce, was my favourite among all 4.
Fun conversations, good food, and good ambience. Ordered two glasses of Chianti Colli Senesi 2003 (very nice choice of S; I liked it); MR had the Tanqueray; Then, we had the Jagermeister with the dessert. It was a great night. The bill came to $440 after tax and before gratuity.
Aside, we asked for a bottle of Goldwasser, but found out that bottle was produced in Italy! Hummm… we all thought it should be a German product.
FYI: North 44
2537 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4P 2H9
Tel: 416-487-4897 (Reservations accepted by phone only)
Open: Mon-Sat 5 – 11pm