Winterlicious has begun in Toronto – so here we go! My first Winterlicious date this year was a $45 dinner on Tuesday evening at Blu Ristorante (17 Yorkville Avenue) with Stella. The restaurant is in Yorkville and just a short walk between either Bloor or Bay station. The exterior of the restaurant is small and quaint, which betrays its actually large and lavish interior. It is dimly lit and romantic.
We had an early reservation at 6pm so it was still pretty quiet. I immediately noticed how attentive the service was, from the host and the coat check to our main server and food runners. After placing our orders, we were served some freshly baked bread with a chili oil.
We weren’t even finished our bread yet when our first course arrived! Stella opted for the grilled calamari (which we both enjoyed but I found a little too charred for me) while I got the pork and duck terrine below.
PORK & DUCK TERRINE
beet vinaigrette, candied pecans, pumpernickel crumble, root vegetable
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect so this dish was a surprise for me. Terrine is served cold which I normally don’t enjoy in meats, but the flavour was so good in this I didn’t mind! I liked the beet as well. There was a great variety of things in this first course.
RED WINE BRAISED LAMB SHANK
citrus-rosemary gremolata, rutabaga puree, carmelized brussel sprouts, lamb jus
Stella and I both picked the lamb shank for our main. IT WAS THE MOST TENDER LAMB I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE, and such a generous portion, too! The rutabaga puree offers a nice contrast to the lamb meat and the brusselsprouts. Between these first two dishes though, I felt like I didn’t have enough vegetables and too much meat and bread, haha.
HAZELNUT SEMMIFREDDO CANNOLI
salted caramel, chocolate sauce
I had the cannoli for dessert which was okay, but honestly didn’t really stand out to me. Stella had the sorbet, the flavours of the evening being pistachio and mango, and was pleased.
I’m really glad I got to experience this place! Service was top-notch: just incredibly helpful and efficient. My first two courses were also well-presented, creative, and incredibly delicious. A strong start to my Winterlicious adventures!