Saturday was our 26th wedding anniversary and as a real treat we went to Scaramouche. Scaramouche is one of Toronto’s top rated restaurants and being so, we generally reserve it for really special occasions. It’s been around for about 30 years, situated in an unlikely location in the basement of an old apartment building. But what makes this place special is that although it is in the basement, the entire back side facing south is open with large windows offering up incredible views of the city skyline.
We had 7:30 reservations and the place was already packed with the wealthy silver-haired bunch finishing off; we were shown to a wonderful table directly beside a window and a great view. Our waiter, Andrew has been working there for 23 years, we have had him serve us before, and he seems to remember us. Andrew is an charming character and given the opportunity will offer up interesting tales in a soliloquy-like delivery; he is rather dramatic! Sadly he was not as dramatic on this evening, or he was busy, but there were no tales.
We began with a martini, I with my vodka martini, very dry without an olive nor a twist, and JT with a gin martini, with two olives. The olives are strange looking, kinda bluish green, Andrew told us the name but I already had a sip or two of the martini, so I cannot recall!
We placed our order and Andrew paces us very nicely. I’m still watching my portions do I order two appetizers, JT eats like a normal person. Although it is a fancy place and quite expensive, I do find the portions are rather generous (it’s usually the opposite, high price, tiny portion). Andrew starts us with a wonderful amuse bouche, a little mushroom mousse, which did its job very well and had us salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the sound of a bell! Not surprisingly I order the Yellow Fin Tuna ($20) sashimi grade tuna tartare seasoned with lime, ginger, soy, coriander, shiso, caramelized daikon, soy and sweet chili sauce as my first course; the Asian flavours hit my taste buds perfectly. I would guess there was close to 100g of tuna on the plate, very very tasty. JT ordered the Three Goat Cheeses ($19) made of fresh Monforte, St. Maure, Bûche de chèvre with beets, walnuts, lentils and a mushroom crostini, with pesto and a Moscatel vinegar reduction. He said it was good but not over the top.
Our second courses were Spicy Steak Tartare ($18) hand-cut filet mignon with garlic crostini garnished with watercress. It was about 70g of meat and a little too saucy in my opinion (like mayo). The flavours were good, just too creamy; JT had Lamb ($46) roasted rack, slow cooked shoulder with eggplant, black olive, artichoke preserved lemon and pine nut and a salsa verde. He said it was good but again not over the top and for forty six dollars you expect OTT!
We finished our dinner with a cappuccino which was OK, definitely not the best coffee I’ve ever had.
Although the dinner was good, it wasn’t the level I’d expect for a $200 meal; everything was fine, it just didn’t meet our lofty expectations set by our previous dining experiences at this place.
Overall rating of Scaramouche (in my opinion): Decor 2/5 (except for the view which is 5/5), service 2/5, food 3.5/5, Value 2/5, Noise: 4/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). A note about this rating: we valued it to expectations garnered by the expensive cost and high level of this restaurant. We paid for our meal in full.