Shoto 4th Visit – Toronto (April 2015)


I thought it was time to pay an early spring visit to Toronto and check out what Shōtō might have to offer on the menu.  It had been a few months since the last visit, so I expected the menu to be mostly different.

The wine list was definitely different.  There were no premium pours this time.  The sommelier said he was still working on what to offer with the addition of spring items to the menu. Teas were added to the beverage menu as well.

I was told they were pouring the Domaine Roulot on the bar side if I wanted some.  I decided I would just go with the German Riesling they were offering.

For the full write-up, click here.

After a hot towel, they quickly offered a hot dinner roll to get started.  And after my wine came, the succession of snack presentations started.

West — Vancouver, British Columbia (3/2015)


A planned trip to Vancouver in early spring had me searching for a new restaurant to try.  My prior visit in search of modernist cuisine did not yield anything to report.  This time, West Restaurant showed up.  Although it was not centrally-located in the downtown area of Vancouver, it was a direct 20-minute bus ride down Granville St.

The dining room is a long narrow space from the front to the back.  To the other side of the half-wall is the bar and wine wall.  I selected a glass of the Alsatian Gewurztraminer for my wine for the evening.

The menu options are numerous.  They offer dishes a la carte.  There are also three tasting menus —   land, sea and vegetarian – as well as pre-theatre menu.

For the full write-up, click here.

42 grams 4th Visit — Chicago (3/2015)


It had been about 5 months since my last visit.  In that time, the restaurant debuted on the Michelin list with two stars, and they were nominated for a James Beard award for best new restaurant.  I made sure to plan in advance so that I could secure a reservation, as I wasn’t sure how difficult it might be to reserve a slot on a weekend.  Since I like the counter seating, I took a first-seating reservation on a Friday night.

The menu ended up to be mostly different, with a few dishes carried over from the fall menu.  One thing that was very different from all the times I have dined at Sous Rising/42 grams was the absence of the snack chips to start off the meal.  There was still a centerpiece at each station, but nothing to nibble on.

The meal started with a small dish of familiar flavors.  This was inspired by vichyssoise with textural twists.  The fried crispy potatoes, caviar and chervil were set on a thick small serving of potato cream.  There was a lot going on with this small bite to start waking up the palate.

For the full write-up, click here.

Shoto 3rd Visit — Toronto (1/2015)


I decided I needed to venture to Toronto in the middle of winter.  Actually, I thought it was time to pay another visit to Shōtō to see what they might cook up during the winter.  While it was very cold in Toronto, the weather was generally good, so I had no travel issues, which made my quick dash easy. Plus, it’s a little less expensive to go and stay in Toronto in winter.

Upon getting seated, I was quickly provided with the wine list and a warm dinner roll to munch on.

At my last visit, they were not offering the Domaine Roulot, but on this trip it was back.  So that was going to be my wine for the evening.

For the full write-up. click here.

Kitchen Table 7th Visit — London (12/2014)


Even though I had dined at Kitchen Table just a month ago, I was back somewhat unexpectedly in late December.  I had a stopover in London during my winter holiday. However, my days in London coincided with what normally are the days that Kitchen Table is closed.  But because they were going to be closed for two weeks after the New Year’s holiday, they were taking reservations for the Monday I was in London.

For the full write-up, click here.

The Ledbury Visit 3 — London (6/2012)


I went back to The Ledbury for a third visit because I was going to be in London during a different season (summer) and I wanted to see what the menu would have to offer from the local bounty offered by summer.  I was not disappointed.  After looking over all my menu options, I went with the full vegetarian tasting menu with no substitutions this time. But, while I was deciding, they brought over the starting snack.  It was the smoked turbot roe with apple jelly on a squid ink crisp.  I was surprised and a little disappointed that it was the same thing they served when I was here in February.  

They brought out the vegetarian menu.  You could have a 3-course version or the whole menu as the tasting menu.  I went with the latter, as there were several items I was interested in sampling.  The regular menu is below.  One of the reasons I went with the vegetarian menu was that there were a few items on the regular menu that were the same from the winter menu, and I wanted to avoid dish repeats if possible.

For the full write-up, click here.