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Hi! Remember last fall I mentioned I had a surprise? Well, I can now talk about it! I was invited to participate in the taping of this episode of Canada’s Top Chef Season 2! The premise was a baby shower and the contestants had to make food representative of a boy and of a girl. We had to dress baby showery, pretty colours, heels (you know how I would hate that ;-)) and we were able to walk around and try all of the food. I can’t say that I remember much of the tastes, but the video sure brought back some memories and the opinions of the judges. Fortunately, I ended up on the cutting room floor, so I have no idea what I would look like on TV! Was that my 15 minutes? I thought this was a perfect segue into today’s post.

Second place on Top Chef Canada 2011, chef Rob Rossi’s Bestellen did not disappoint! Only open a month or so, the kitchen did not seem to exhibit any of the growing pains new restaurants are so famous for. The wait staff are friendly, professional and courteous and seem genuinely happy to work with Chef Rossi. Our waiter spoke very highly of Chef Rossi.

The décor is warm and comfortable with a huge meat mural on the west wall; there is a windowed meat curing room off to the right as you entre through the bar area. We were seated at the back near the kitchen, usually not my flavourite place, but we were curious on the workings of the kitchen; they were serious yet smiling, seems like a good place to work. Chef Rossi ever present checking and cooking! My only complaint would be the fluorescent bulb in the kitchen (yes I know they have to see what they are doing) which poured disgustingly bright light into the dining room; had they lowered the bulkhead between the kitchen and dining room about 30-40cm, it would have completely missed shining right into my eyes. Perhaps it still can be corrected! They played a great mix of the old jazz crooners and some cool old fashioned rock. For some lovely photos and an intro article, please click here.

Now the food. A decidedly meaty menu, I started with the grilled octopus; delicious, and perfectly cooked with a touch of char. I would have complimented it with a bit more sauce, as it was scarce, the little black olives (usually my favourite) were tasteless. My husband had the salad and said it was just OK. My main was the steak tartar! I exclamation marked it because it was most likely the BEST steak tartar I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot! Nicely seasoned and did I taste a bit of chopped pickle? A very European addition. The deep fried quail egg did nothing for my particular taste. JT had the burger and thought it was incredible! They served it with sweet potato fries (YUM) with a smoked paprika ketchup that was TO DIE FOR! We will be back, particularly when I’m in the mood for a perfect tartar, but next time, we will ask to be seated more toward the front out of the fluorescent glare.

I have reviews of this restaurant, and several others on Yelp.ca, Trip Advisor, Open Table and Google. Do you review restaurants and if you do, which website(s) do you participate in reviewing.

PS. I couldn’t help but think of one of my lovely readers, Lorraine, of famed Not Quite Nigella, who has blogged about a roasted whole suckling pig a while ago; Chef Rossi also serves a whole pig as a family-style feast and you have to order it three days ahead and enjoy it with a minimum of eight people.

Overall rating of Bestellen (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 2/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

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