FOUR HUNDRED TORONTO FEASTS.
My lord. Takes me a moment to register the sorrow when I realize how many calories that is, but then quickly switch my train of thought to the number of glorious dishes, memorable conversations and instant connections I’ve made at the table with good friends, colleagues and family.
I wanted to do something special for my 400th restaurant review and proposed a dinner date to Heather Travis, PR Pro at Canadian Beef. I suggested we book a reservation at Bestellen because it had been on my to do list for almost a year and does a fantastic job at showcasing a bovine centric menu.
I arrived just before 6pm in the middle of Toronto’s first wee blizzard. The city had succumbed to the dark of night. Since it was Friday I could feel an electricity in the air. Seems as though one can feel, hear, taste and smell the hopes and dreams of commuters as they anticipate their weekends.
I whisked open the front door and soon found myself standing in the restaurants main dining room which was filled with twinkling candle light. I spent the next 30 minutes shooting around the space. The real showpiece here is the glass walk in fridge which showcases an awe inspiring number of aging meats. I was seated by the kitchen at a bench which stretched across a fantastic beef butcher inspired mural.
Heather arrived dressed in black from head to stiletto toe. We rambled through the menu and with the waiters coaxing were able to settle on three dishes showcasing local Ontario beef: tartare (her first indulgence), burger and short ribs. We spent the evening catching up as plate after plate of tres bon was gently placed under our noses. The service was excellent throughout the evening and I was most enchanted by the fact that the cocktail and dinner menu are regularly refreshed every two weeks. It is clear the kitchen crew at Bestellen are passionate about playing with their beef.
Highlights included a to die for salad featuring whispers of maple, sweet potato and the creamiest stracciatella. The steak tartare was offered up as an inspiration to the caesar salad. I enjoyed watching Heather take her first bite. A little magic in her eyes and smug mug as she popped a fried fingerling potato chip into her mouth. The Bestellen burger was cooked medium rare and juiced forth across our chinny chin chins. I was most impressed by our two side dishes: a maple butter slathered roasted acorn squash and crispy potato rosti with the drippings of a slowly melting dollop of creme fraiche.
Throughout our feast I had a fantastic time chatting with Heather about our shared love for the fine city of Toronto and the versatility of beef. I was so impressed by the Bestellen experience that it now appears on my Toronto’s Top Restaurant list. If you are craving a little “Canadian Beef Celebration” of your own be sure to make a reservation at Bestellen, the food and ambiance create the perfect back drop for stories worth sharing.
The Annie Taylor
bourbon, aperol, apple liquor, lemon and grapefruit bitters
Organic Cookstown Greens
stracciatella cheese, sweet potato, maple vinaigrette
Steak Tartare “Caesar Style”
fingerling potato chips
caramelized onions, raclette, house-made brioche, frites
Hand-Cut Chitarra Pasta
smoked bacon, egg, padano, pumpkin
carrot puree, caramelized carrot, fried polenta
Roasted Acorn Squash