Friday, April 17, 2009

One Restaurant - 04/11/2009

Hazelton Hotel
116 Yorkville Avenue
M5R 1C2 Toronto Canada
(416) 961-9600

Somewhat inappropriately named, One is the third of Celebrity Chef Mark McEwan's restaurants in Toronto. The restaurant is located in The Hazelton Hotel, a boutique luxury hotel. The restaurant handles all the catering and room service for hotel guests and is open 24-hours a day. Normally I'd be wary of such an institutionalized hotel restaurant but a number of menu items caught my eye. Most weren't anything too fancy, but prepared correctly they could be quite delicious.

The interior of the restaurant matches the understated exterior. The tables are well-spaced, with comfortable chairs and most importantly for my girlfriend, a stool for her bag. The dining room has high ceilings giving an airy free feel and the walls are made of gilt edged panels of what seems to be a dark stone but is actually some sort of feathery material. The overall effect is a room that manages to be comfortable and elegant without really trying.

Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
Strawberry Champagne - peppered strawberry vodka with champagne and fresh strawberries
My girlfriend felt fresh squeezed juice was the ideal way to start a leisurely meal. I almost went with a martini then I realized it was 11:00 and probably a bit early for such a stiff drink. The champagne cocktail did a good job, with plenty of pepper and fresh berry on the nose and palate, nicely integrated into the champagne and an undercurrent of heat from the vodka to give it some kick.

Bread - Olive, Multigrain, Baguette
All the breads were served fresh and warm. I liked the texture of the olive bread the best although the olive flavor was a bit strong for my tastes.

Crostini - with Whipped Foie Gras and Oven Cured Figs
The whipped foie was overly light, very much like butter both in consistency and flavor. The figs were surprisingly bland, I expected a lot more sweetness especially given the fruit had been dried. Still the course would have been decent if not for the addition of sherry and its dominant flavor of tobacco smoke.

Tuna Sashimi - with Yuzu and Chili
The tuna was very nice, clean gristle free texture and fresh light flavor. Seared ever so lightly, the fish contrasted with the crisp vegetables. However I couldn't detect much of the yuzu and the chili had absolutely no heat. The end result was tuna and soy, not a bad pairing, but the dish was capable of so much more.

Wild Arugula - with Roasted Mushrooms, Crisp Prosciutto, Parmesan Vinaigrette
The restaurant called this an appetizer salad but I thought it was quite generous. The arugula was exceptional with a rich peppery taste and bitter undertones. Additionally, the prosciutto and mushrooms added enough flavor to keep the salad interesting.

Carnarolli Risotto - with Seasonal Mushrooms and Truffle
Technically there was nothing wrong with this dish. The rice was nicely cooked, though perhaps a tad gritty. There was plenty of mushroom and even a generous helping of truffles. But there was something missing, an élan if you will that keeps this risotto from being truly great.

It is hard to make a judgement of the restaurant on so few courses, but One did a good enough job that I wouldn't mind coming back for dinner. The price is a bit on the high side but probably not out of place given the demographic that can afford to stay in the Hazelton.


LM403 said...

I agree, the risotto lacked a certain je ne sais quoi...

Aaron said...

Weird coincidence One in Toronto then One in LA. Perhaps you should try One in NY?

Tangbro1 said...

It was especially strange since both restaurants have sort of a glitzy feel.

Maybe when I visit you in NY we can try the One there.