Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ruby word...AMAZING!

Last weekend I had the delightful fortune of being invited out by a couple of dear friends to one of Toronto’s most well known restaurants – and boasting one of Canada’s top chefs - Lyne Crawford, who I was lucky enough to meet. She incidentaly also happens to be just as cool and friendly on a full house packed night as she appears to be on her food network tv show. She was always out there, even clearing tables and making sure all the clients had everything they needed. This to me is the true sign of a passionate and dedicated chef.

Our “reservations” were for 9pm, and although we didn’t get seated until 10:30 pm, I must note there had been a miscommunication between the reserver (Murray - yes that's you) and the restaurant. Regardless, all was good. We were well taken care of while we waited. We decided to take this time to chat over one of their cocktails, which made me discover their very impressive drink menu. The 3 of us opted for the safe but always wise choice – the oh so classic cosmos!  Those who know me know I love my cosmos when they’re well done (no lime cordial nono...) And these were definitely top notch – only fresh ingredients in this one!

Chillin' waiting for our table over a round of cosmos

As we were seated at a corner section of the very cute rustic looking bar, we were greeted by our waiter with the most delicious basket of homemade biscuits. We were all so famished at this point that we asked for a double portion..and were granted that wish. Those definitely hit the spot before the feast to come.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the very unique menu formula at Ruby Watchco, well there is no real menu per-se. It is a prix-fix menu meaning we are all eating the same thing -  4 courses to be exact, which change every day but the format remains the same – 1 appetizer  (usually a type of salad), 1 main dish with it’s sides, a cheese plate, and a homemade desert. The idea Chef Crawford was going for was as if we were being invited into her home where she would serve us a homecooked meal. Even the courses are brought to your table family style, in a communal cast iron dish where we pick serve our portions our. And, since each day boasts only 1 menu, you are assured that the items were very carefully picked, all the attention is being focused onto the choice at hand, and in turn we are treated to the best of the best. Not to mention this takes away from the hastle (at least for me) of debating with what may be the best choice on the menu.  Now I know that choice is made for me it! I just know I’m coming in and will be served a top notch homecooked meals by those who are passionate about food and want to share their night’s creation with us. to my glass of red wine of course ;)

The menu started off with one of the tastiest and freshest salads I have had in a long time -  Marinated eggplant and couscous salad. This salad was loaded with all sorts of fresh greens, herbs and lightly (key for success) tossed in a simple dill dressing. The flavours were very straightforward and complementary and nothing overpowered anything else – which to me, is a sign of successful salad.

Salad and homemade buscuits

Then came the main attraction – the slow roasted beef sirloin with red wine jus with sides of mixed grilled vegetables as well as potatos and brisket. The meat was perfectly pink and tender. The portions brought to us were extremely generous.
Beef and it's sides..sorry couldn't wait to dig in before taking a pic

On to the 3rd cours - the cheese plate - simply put: It was great. I love to mix of a sharp cheese with something sweet and this dish offered just that. We each got a slice of eweda cru cheese with a yummy orange marmalade. But even more interesting, was the sweet crispy cracker it came on, almost boardering on a cookie. The perfect marriage of sweet & salty and soft and crunchy. I loved the contrasts in each bite.

At that point I was more than full...but I definitely wasn’t going to pass on the desert - the item on the menu which I had been eyeing from the moment we came it. It read crispin apple crumble with stracciatella ice cream. As soon as you mention apple crumble with ice cream I am sold! I am not a big desert person there is something about the combination of a slightly tart warm apple crisp with a cool sweet scoop of ice cream which just fancies my pallet.  Their version was perfectly executed. I also appreciated how the portion wasn’t enormous. It  was just right after our satisfying meal so we wouldn't feel like rolling out of the restaurant at the end of the night – granted  I have to admit I was still pretty full by the end....But it was allll worth it!

Perfect Finish to the perfect meal

In a nutshell, Rubywatchco delivered above and beyond my expectations. I knew chef Lyne Crawford was an elite in her field but this dinner blew her out of the field! Now if only I can get my parents to come into town so I can share with them one of this city's finest dining experiences.

730 Queen Street East
(416) 465-0100