Richmond Station

Richmond Station is an upscale farm-to-table restaurant offering Canadian dishes using fresh ingredients. It is helmed by the winner of Top Chef Canada (Season 2), Chef Carl Heinrich, who opened the restaurant in late 2012. 


As you walk into the restaurant; there is a chalkboard to the left displaying the specials for the night. The specials for that Tuesday were Honey Glazed Duck Breast $$27) and Braised Rabbit Pappardelle ($25).


The restaurant was simply decorated with wine bottles to the side of the bar; with wooden accent furnishing. There are two floors available for dining which I will mention a little later in the blog.


For those who aren't too hungry; there is also a bar at the front of the restaurant. Unfortunately, I don't drink alcohol (and know nothing about it), so I can't comment on the available wine choices.


The menu is a simple one-pager, and categorized under share, appetizers, and mains. They also provide customers with a wine list.


The restaurant was modern, and simply decorated with wooden accent furnishing and a high ceiling. There are two dining areas; one in the front and as you walk up the steps, there is another dining area in the back. We were seated in the back area which I enjoyed, as the space had a view of the open kitchen.


We started off with an order of 6 pieces of oysters on the half shell ($3.50 a piece) [house condiments, horseradish, lemon]. The oysters were absolutely fresh  and the provided condiments added extra spices to them. 

  
The scallion polenta fries ($8) were served on a rectangular serving board glazed with truffle aioli, Asiago cheese, and chives. I heard a lot of great reviews from friends so I had to order it to see for myself. I loved it as the polenta fries had a very crispy exterior, yet really soft on the inside. I highly recommend getting this this as a starter.



For my main course, I opted for the Station Burger ($20). I would have to say that the quality of the burger was excellent. The braised short rib was served medium rare on topped of a fresh milk bun, and was really juicy. There was a lot of flavor in the burger; thanks to the beet chutney. Additionally, the burger was dressed with lettuce, lettuce, beet chutney, and aged cheddar which, and served with a side of rosemary fries. The accompanied fries were pretty decent, but a couple of pieces were really hard.


I tasted a bit of the chili & fennel sausage pasta $23) and liked it as well. The pasta is hand made orecchiette, and contains toscano cheese, fennel, pickled peppers, and basil. There was also a good amount of sausages in the dish which is always nice. 

Overall, I enjoyed my dinner at Richmond Station. The dimly lit restaurant provides a casual ambiance without pretentiousness. It's perfect for either dinner with family, friends, or even for dates. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner though; unless you don't mind the wait. 



RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4.3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4.5/5
Price: $$$ || Online Menu

Address: 1 Richmond Street W, Toronto, ON, M5H 1W2

Richmond Station on Urbanspoon

Spring Rolls

A friend and I went shopping at Eaton's Center, and decided to grab a quick bite at Spring Rolls. We opted for their lunch AYCE as there was an assortment of items on the menu. It's not the best AYCE but it's adequate enough for a quick and casual lunch. Spring Rolls is a well known pan-Asian franchise as they have several locations across Toronto, and one in Mississauga.


You can either order off their menu (à la carte) or go for their AYCE if you want a wider selection of dishes. The AYCE menu is priced at $14.99 (lunch), $22.99 (weekday/dinner) or $24.99 (Fri-Sun/dinner).

The following pictures are only of the items that I personally ordered and ate.


The chicken tom yum soup had a decent sour taste, but there were very few pieces of chicken in the soup.


The seaweed salad was pretty good.


The beef teriyaki was a Westernized version of the dish, and lacked flavor.


 The pad thai had an unnatural red tint to it, which was probably due to the large amount of ketchup that was used. I also ordered it spicy but they gave me one that was very sweet.


The spring rolls was enjoyable as it was both cripsy and hot on the inside.


The menu does have a fairly large selection of rolls, hand rolls, and sushi for lunch. A lot of people have complained online that the fish isn't of the high quality. All I can say is this should be expected as it's an AYCE offering pan-Asian/westernized dishes, and they don't specialize in sushi. Due to this, I found that the fish to rice ratio was very imbalanced. There was a lot of a rice tightly packed in the rolls compared to the amount of fish that you get.The sushi itself is edible but if I were to be craving sushi, then this place wouldn't be on the top of my list.

 Even though the food was either a hit or a miss; I did like the service that we got. My friend and I were quickly seated, and our waitress was friendly, patient, and quick to assist us throughout our lunch.


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 4.3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$ || Online Menu

Address: 40 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M7A2C7

Spring Rolls on Urbanspoon

Spring Rolls on Urbanspoon

Rosewood Chinese Cuisine

 Rosewood Chinese Cuisine is a two floor dim sum restaurant offering the classic dim sum fare at decent prices. For those who are available on the weekdays; they have now extended their early bird
specials until 4 pm. This means that all dishes are priced at a cheap $1.88 each from Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 9 am-4 pm. I went on a Saturday morning for a quick dim sum fix so I was unable to take part in this deal. The prices for the weekends and holidays are the following:

(S) $2.37   (M) $3.28   (L) $3.68

Due to the two-level seating arrangements; there are no cart services. Rather customers are given an extensive list of the dim sum dishes, and one would check off their orders.

The service was relatively standard when you're dining in Chinatown. They weren't attentive throughout the meal, but they did quickly seated us, took our orders, and the dishes arrived quickly.  Overall, the dishes that we ordered were either a hit or miss. Still if you go on the weekday; it's very well worth it for its price.


The har gow (shrimp dumplings) (L) was plump with filling, but the translucent skin was slightly thick.


The pork filling in the pork dumplings with caviar (siu mai) (M) lacked flavor.


The filling in the beef rice rolls (L) was minced well and was pretty good.


The spared ribs & olive on rice (L) was a great value for its price.


The five spice squid tentacles (L) wasn't overly oily while still retaining its crispy texture.


There was plenty of filling in the shrimp & chive dumplings (M) but the overall taste of the shrimp was rather dry.

The shrimp rice rolls (L) was probably my favorite dishes of the night as it was fresh. The lightly folded rice noodles wasn't thick at all, and there was a good amount of shrimp filling inside.


The crispy shrimp rolls (L) was a solid dish; it came out piping hot and crispy.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.2/5
Price: $ || Online Menu

Address: 699 St Clair Avenue W, Toronto, ON,M6C 1B2

Rosewood Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Touhenboku Ramen


Name: Touhenboku Ramen
Cuisine: Japanese / Ramen
Address: 261 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 1Z9

Touhenboku Ramen is the latest restaurant to enter the ramen market in downtown Toronto. It’s located conveniently on Queen St W and is open from 11 am to midnight; perfect for a late night meal. The restaurant officially opened up on November 12, 2013, and I had the opportunity to try it out last week. 


The broth from Touhenboku Ramen differs greatly from other ramen joints, as they use chicken broth rather than the standard pork broth. According to the owner, Zuimei Okuyama, the chicken broth contains a rich amount of collagen which is good for the skin. Chicken broth is commonly used for lighter ramen such as shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt) in Japan, which are both offered at Touhenboku Ramen.


 The ramen are served in porcelain crafted bowls imported from Japan. I was surprised to learn that each bowl was priced at $50, but it does help to maintain the warmth of the ramen much longer.
Touhenboku Ramen features five different ramen with your choice of toppings. All of their ramen are served with your choice of lean pork, rich pork or chicken chashu. Additionally, all bowls come with seaweed, tasty boiled egg, wood ear mushrooms and green onions.


 Original Touhenboku Ramen (white) ($10.50).
Straight forward ramen in a rich creamy chicken broth flavored with sea salt or soya sauce.


 Spicy Touhenboku Ramen (red) ($10.50).
Original ramen with a kick! Incorporated with our special chili oil, it will bring your taste buds to life. Sea salt or soya sauce soup base.


 Garlicky Touhenboku Ramen (black) ($10.50).
Original ramen with our special blend garlic sauce. Wonderful bitter-sweet aroma. Sea salt or soya sauce soup base.


Light Touhenboku Ramen (light) ($10.50).
This clear and light chicken broth with salt adds flavor without being thick.

Chashu ($13.00)
For those who love chashu; comes with 4 pieces of pork or chicken. 

We were presented with a special menu for that day, and given a choice of one of the ramen and dessert. I got the red colored Spicy Touhenboku Ramen with thick noodles, sea salt, and rich pork. It wasn't too spicy but I was pleasantly surprised that the chicken-based ramen was both rich and flavorful. The rich pork was fatty and delicious; definitely a hearty meal. I also forgot to mention earlier that the noodles are made in house with their own noodle machine, which is located in the back of the preparation area. 


 For those who are in the area during the lunch hours; there are also various lunch sets for $14. The set includes your choice of Touhenboku Ramen and Donburi rice bowl.

Although ramen is their specialty; Touhenboku Ramen also offers six different (made in house) Japanese pastries for desserts; all priced at $5.50 each. The pastries are light and not overly sweet which is perfect for when you’re done eating the ramen. I tried the Tomo Creampuff which was a crispy choux puff filled with vanilla custard and loads of whipped cream. The texture of the puff was hard but it complements well with the soft and creamy texture of the whipped cream. Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience, and I will definitely return to try out other items on their menu. 


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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Touhenboku Ramen on Urbanspoon


Touhenboku Ramen on Urbanspoon

The Stockyards: Smokehouse and Larder

The Stockyards has gained the reputation of being one of the best places in Toronto for fried chicken. It is a modest size restaurant offering comfort food on St.Clair West. I came here for dinner on a Thursday to try out their ribs and chicken combo. However, I completely forgot that they only serve BBQ ribs three days a week (Tues, Fri and Sat). The reason for this is because "the smoking process of their wood fired cooker takes up to 18 hrs". 


Eventually, I opted for the popular Stockyards Fried Chicken Dinner ($14.00). The dinner came with four pieces of buttermilk marinated chicken and served with fries, coleslaw and hot sauce. The buttermilk that the chicken was marinated in made the chicken quite tender. Overall, all four pieces of fried chicken were succulent, moist, and tasted delicious when dipped into the provided hot sauce. I also liked the shoestring fries which wasn't overly oily.

 
The Stockyards' decor is pretty minimalistic with an open kitchen concept. If you're lucky enough to be seated in the bar area facing the kitchen; you can watch the chefs make your food. As for their service, I thought that it was quick and efficient. My friend and I were quickly seated, and our waitress took our food and drink orders. Occasionally, she came back from time to time to our seated area and asked how we were doing.

I am not super big on the idea of getting brunch but I have heard a great deal about their fried chicken and waffles combo. So it's definitely on my list to try out in the future.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$ || Online Menu

Address: 699 St Clair Avenue W, Toronto, ON,M6C 1B2

The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder on Urbanspoon

Amsterdam BrewHouse

Amsterdam BrewHouse relocated and moved into its new location that overlooks the Harbourfront earlier this July. The new location is spacious as it can seat about 800 people inside, and the patio is also really nice with additional seating. Besides being a restaurant, Amsterdam BrewHouse also has their own indoor craft brewery so they craft their own selection of beer.


I really liked their concept and interior. The service on the other hand was pretty much abysmal. I arrived with three others around 7:30 pm for our party of 12 people. We approached the front desk and waited in line. There were three hostesses or servers at the front desk talking amongst themselves while not seating anyone (despite plenty of open tables). A fourth waitress finally arrived and seated us, which I thought was kind of odd. A couple of people from our table were already there an hour earlier so we sat down. We waited another 20 minutes for someone to take down our drink and food orders. Despite the abundance of employees walking around; flagging one down is really hard.

As for food, Amsterdam BrewHouse offers the typical pub fare with various beer/food pairing choices. I liked that they have a variety of different choices from burgers, fries, lobster roll, ribs, salmon, pizza, salad, etc ... Since the location is a tourist area, the prices are a little higher but it has a great view (if you sit out on the patio).

I opted for the 1 lbs of Thai sweet chili sauce chicken wings ($12.00) and a side order of french fries ($4.70). The wings weren't really warm but I did like the sweet flavor. I did like the fries though as it was pretty crunchy and salty. Anyways, my total cost for the night came out to be $22.27 (including tax/tip). Some people might think that the price is steep for just 8-10 wings and fries but you have to take into account the prime location of Amsterdam BrewHouse.

Also just a quick tip to those who are planning on going to Amsterdam BrewHouse as a group; they don't do separate bills and there is an automatic gratuity of 18% (I think 6+ people).

Disclaimer: This review is solely based on my experience back in late August 2013. One of my friends who just went last week told me that much has changed since then, and that service has improved. I will most likely return to check it out again as I really enjoyed the atmosphere here.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.4/5
Service: 2/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $$ || Online Menu

Address: 720 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M6J1E8

Amsterdam BrewHouse on Urbanspoon

Rock Lobster Food Co

Rock Lobster Food Co originally started up as a pop-up at several food events (such as TUM), and eventually opened a restaurant in 2012. Since then they have added a second location on Queen St. One Saturday night, I had dinner at their original location which was just a short walk away from where I was that night.


My favorite seafood of all time has to be lobsters with mussels (being a close second). The menu is a simple one-pager with several lobsters (and seafood) dishes, and another page for drinks.


The Rock Lobster Roll ($14) was served with Yukon chips and a slice of McClure’s dill pickle. I have had a couple of different lobster rolls throughout the years, and this one is on the top of my list of favorites. I liked that there was a generous portion of fresh lobster. Additionally, the topped sauce was creamy and the toasty bun made it even better.


The Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese ($14) [fresh lobster, aged Canadian cheddar, and panko crust] was a comforting dish. This dish wasn't a personal favorite of the night but it's good if you have a craving for some mac and cheese with an added seafood twist. There was an okay amount of shredded lobster but you have to dig deep into the cheese to get some. Overall, it was a decent dish and I did like the crispy texture of the panko crust.


Lastly, we got the Lobster Supper ($39) [fresh Nova Scotia lobster, butter, creamed spinach, mashed potato and bread roll]. The steamed lobster was a decent size, as there wasn't that much meat inside of it. However, it tasted pretty good when dipped with the accompanied hot butter. The bread roll was also fresh and buttery. They do have a special on Sunday where it's only $25, which I think is a fairer price for the size of the lobster in comparison to its regular price.

Overall, the dimly lit Ossington Avenue space offers a warming dining experience. If you like lobsters, then this place is pretty good for it.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $$$ || Online Menu

Address: 110 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON, M6J 2Z2

Rock Lobster on Urbanspoon