Meaghan Misener a dear friend who has spent the last few years living in Asia has finally returned home! I was so pleased my heart could explode. I had visited her in Manila during my Asian backpacking tour. Nothing better than living with a local, especially in a city which is rarely lauded for its tourist friendly activities.
We marched over to Baldwin Street on a sunny April evening to enjoy a bit of Alsatian cuisine at Elle M’a Dit. I was really looking forward to the meal as I am both a fan of French and German cuisine and regularly gravitate to bottles of Gewurtz and Riesling. We were heading to the Four Seasons Centre for 7pm to watch the premiere of the Tales of Hoffmann so made sure to arrive just as the restaurant was opening to give us enough time to enjoy our meal without rushing.
We ordered two glasses of Alsace’s finest and spent the rest of our meal sharing small plates. The restaurant features several tarte flambe, a thin crust Alsatian pizza which I had sampled before at Les 3 Brasseurs on Yonge Street. Our artichoke and preserved lemon flambe was perfectly crispy with a harmony of contrasting flavours. Both the Pork and Coq featured a BBQ flavouring which was unexpected but enjoyable.
Meaghan made a few interesting points about the experience. While the food was most certainly well prepared we felt the menu was a bit confused and unclear. We were hoping the restaurant was going to be featuring a more straightforward and authentic experience. You will note from our dessert options that they were totally off the map as far as what one would expect to eat in Alsace: a land where German roots mix with French tradition (kaffir lime and roasted coconut?) While the service was attentive we didn’t feel it was well trained or informed. When we asked for a suggestion for a wine pairing with our pork belly the response was, “It really depends on your pallet but I like the Sauvignon Blanc.” Elle M’a Dit is certainly showcasing a side of French cuisine that no other restaurant is in Toronto. I just feel they need to tighten up their menu and train their staff a bit more about their food philosophy before they join the caliber of the cities finest.
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites):
Joseph Catun Riesling, Alsace France
Medaille Gewurtztramier, Alsace France *
Baby Artichoke Tarte Flambe *
preserved lemon, arugula, pecorino
Braised Pork Belly
porcini mushroom ravioli, butternut squash puree
Coq au Vin and Spatzle *
Pistachio Nougat Ice Cream
shredded phyllo, strawberry salad
Chocolate Bread Pudding
coconut kaffir lime ice cream parfaits, pineapple and lime salsa, caramel sauce, toasted coconut