Guess who’s back?! Ash and I are back with a vengeance (okay well, maybe not with a vengeance because who’s angry? Not us! And to be honest, did we really leave!?! No, no we did not). We are excited to be starting the next installment of our food journey continued from where we left off in 2011 (okay, maybe we are “back”)!!
Ash was kind enough to do much of the leg work on this one, sending me a few options to pick from. And pick I did! I decided our first stop this season should be to Table 21 Kitchen & Wine Bar. The website was streamlined and offered brunch and dinner menus which I am rather generally fond of. Truth be told I really only looked at a couple and decided on this one based on the aesthetics of the website. Note to restauranteurs out there – websites are IMPORTANT!
Located in the west end of the city, at Bloor and Royal York, this posh eatery is smack in the middle of some of the city’s oldest multi-million dollar homes. This quiet and quaint neighborhood, which is very reminiscent of its easterly neighbor (Bloor West Village), is perfect for enjoying afternoon window shopping and weekend strolls.
Upon entering the restaurant I realized that my concerted efforts at reserving a table online were not necessary. (My general paranoia stems from a time we waited over an hour and a half for a table. Needless to say, I vowed “never again” with a strong fist.) Based on the lack of patrons, my expectations immediately started deflating until I looked around and noticed a sleek and modern space. The alley-like layout of the restaurant was flanked with a large, full-length bar with a beautiful, rustic white brick wall backdrop. All this was punctuated by a tasteful and charming dark gray stucco ceiling which created an intimate space all around. However, as modern as one half of this space was, the wall across the bar was strangely out of place and the decor, outdated (think Subway sandwich posters). In the end I felt the space was somewhat lost and short on character.
The food: I ordered smoked salmon eggs benedict (surprise, surprise). What was actually a surprise was that there were no substitutions from me (which is VERY rare). I have to say, first off, if ever there were a restaurant that matched my rigid, picky-dining soul then Table 21 would be mine. Let me explain why. I have a problem; I have a problem with food and my OCD-ness does not allow me to enjoy food the regular human way. I am unable to function properly as a member of society if, say, a seed/pit were part of my garnish on my plate. Table 21 for whatever reason pleasantly surprised me with their attention to detail (and let’s admit, something as minute as removing a lemon seed is my definition of attention to detail). And whether this was on purpose or good things really do happen to good people, but the food was all served in separate small dishes (never touching one another and in a non-cluttered, clumsy way) and I appreciated it- I appreciated it very much.
I absolutely wanted to give this restaurant a full score but the decor wasn’t there for me and as much as food is the star of any restaurant, the space has to fall in line as well. Was this the best restaurant stop to date though? Yes, yes indeed- I’d bet everything on the table.
****1/2 out of 5