Saturday, February 20, 2010

Acqua - Why Was It So Empty? (Toronto, ONT)


Entrance for Acqua

After our little trip to the National Hockey Hall of Fame, it was time for an early dinner, and prior to the trip, I read about this restaurant that was located in the building next to the Hockey Hall of Fame, so I figured we'd give it a shot!

Vodka TonicStellaCranberry Juice

Top: Vodka Tonic, Left: Stella Artois, Right: Cranberry Juice

Since we arrived a bit early, we sat down at the empty bar and ordered some drinks. I went with my always safe Vodka Tonic, while my buddies went with a Stella on tap and a cool glass of Cranberry Juice. You're too hardcore Benny, with that cranberry juice! LOL

Bread Bowl

Bread Bowl

Upon being seated, we were presented with a bread bowl. The bread itself wasn't worthy of much discussion, but we quite enjoyed sesame crisps and the breadsticks. Personally, I have an affinity towards warm bread and slightly soften butter. Lukewarm bread and hard butter just don't quite "cut" it for me.


Crispy Sweetbreads - dijon, tarragon mayo

We started off with two appetizers for the table. We went with a crispy fried sweetbread and a short rib ravioli.

Personally, I like sweetbreads, and I know it's not for everyone. Versions like this are quite pleasant to eat, similar to popcorn chicken, though it's not the case. Though when you have something fried like this, why bother telling the newbies that it's actually thymus gland and pancreas of a young calf or lamb?


Braised Beef Short Rib Ravioli - toasted pinenuts, sultanas, local squash

The ravioli by itself wasn't anything special, though with the texture balance from the pinenuts and the squash, it was quite nice. The short rib was cooked well, and the ravioli was quite flavorful.


Truffle Dusted Scallops - fennel, shrimp, pistachio foam

Black CodBlack Cod

Roasted Alaskan Black Cod - couscous, edamame, grapefruit date consommé

Those were the dishes my dining mates ordered, and I did not try their dishes. Though they seemed to be fairly satisfied with their choices. Yet, I think the key word was satisfied, but not impressed or wowed.

Chicken Breast stuffed with foie gras

Roasted Chicken Breast - savoy cabbage, smoked bacon, foie gras

And onto my entree of the night, the roasted chicken breast with foie gras. Normally, I don't order chicken, especially chicken breast, but when I saw bacon and foie gras, I had to give it a shot. As expected, the chicken breast was slightly dry, but definitely edible, though the foie gras definitely helped. I enjoyed the cabbage and bacon combination, but I felt the base of the dish was slightly too salty, given the use of the foie in the chicken, thus making it almost too rich for me to finish the dish.

Dining RoomDining Room

Dining Room

As we await our dessert course here are a few shots of the dining room. This is where I'll make a comment of the emptiness of the dining room, and the restaurant as a whole. Even on a weekday night, we expected a mad rush of diners, even if we arrived early at 5PM, however, there was only one other party during the course of our meal (~1.5 hours). Strange, and slightly awkward indeed, especially since I'm not eating at some hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley.

Apple Strudel

Ontario Apple Strudel - Calvados Custard

Here, we started off with a flakey apple strudel with an accompany Calvados custard. Think of it as a nice flakey apple pie, quite nice. I also enjoyed the custard made with Calvados, an apple brandy, though I'm a sucker for any custard based desserts.

Expresso Mousse

Mascarpone Mousse - Espresso, Bailey's Foam

This dessert tasted almost as good as it looked. We all enjoyed the combination of espresso and the mascarpone cheese. The Bailey's Coffee Liqueur added a nice kick to the dessert.

Maple Creme BruleeMaple Creme Brulee

Laurie's Daily Crème Brûlée - Shortbread

Here, I go with my favorite dessert, the crème brûlée. In this case, the flavor of the day was Maple Syrup Crème Brûlée. I do have to say, it's probably my favorite dish of the day, even though I am slightly biased. I enjoyed the subtle taste of maple syrup in the crème brûlée, and the berries were a nice accompaniment.

The meal as whole was satisfactory, though sadly, nothing really stood out. As a trip to this point, the food in Toronto has been quite disappointing, though you could argue my friends and I did not hit up the hot spots in town. Maybe I am being overly picky, but another reason might be the cold surroundings in the dining room. Even though we were there until close to 7PM, there were no other dining parties that ate around us. If you're around the Hockey Hall of Fame, you could take a shot and see if I'm overly critical, but if I ever make a trip back to Toronto, I doubt I'd return to Acqua.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10

Acqua Ristorante
10 Front St. West
Toronto, ONT
(416) 368-7171
Official Website


Morgan said...

who's that sexy guy in your bread bowl picture?

kevinEats said...

Yes, we want to see more of the sexy guy!

burumun said...

Sounds like no wonder that it's empty, the meal doesn't sound all that great but looks expensive.

I'll probably skip it too, though not like I'm going to Toronto anytime soon ..

dave -nibbleanibble said...

Love the truffle dusted scallops.

Lady Ducayne said...

Crème Brûlée eh?

weezermonkey said...

At least it looks pretty?

Gastronomer said...

Bad food. Great photos! There's always a bright side (except for at you know where...)

Pandalicious said...

scallops, cod and mousse - yum.

sweetbreads - no.

good pix!

Kung Food Panda said...

Morgan: What's up sexy guy! LOL

Kevin: can talk to the guy that commented before me.

GP: It wasn't quite expensive, as most entrees were 25-35CAD, it just felt "cold"

Dave: I wish I had a taste of that, but hard to go wrong with scallops!

LD: You know I love Crème Brûlée :)

WM: Ya, sadly I thought the food looked better than it tasted. Sad, but true.

Cathy: HAHAHA!! I want to see your review of that "place!"

Amy: It was at a good location and food was aight. Nothing special though...but you don't like sweetbreads??

Diana said...

The pictures make the food look so delicious -- it's a shame it isn't as wow as it looks.

And we find a point to agree on - not ordering chicken in a restaurant. :)

Krissy said...

Great picture of the Crème Brûlée!

Kung Food Panda said...

Diana: Ya, chickens are for kids! I guess I was a kid for that night as I was tricked by the foie gras! :)

But ya, pictures seems to make the food better than it actually was.

Krissy: Thanks, it's my favorite dessert!

NomsNotBombs said...

Beautiful shot of the ravioli!

And maple syrup creme brulee? My, how Canadian of them.

Kung Food Panda said...

NomsNotBombs: Thanks! Sadly it didnt taste as good as it looks.

Maple Syrup Creme Brulee, I figured I'd be Canadian and order that! :P