There seem to be a lot of places holding themselves out as "bistros" these days in Toronto, and sometimes, this definition lends itself to a pretty loose interpretation. Jules? I think it does a fairly respectable job. On a Saturday night, we were lucky to get a last minute reservation at the very popular restaurant and settled in to a simple and well-groomed $24.50 prix-fixe.
Overall, I think for some, the food will be "amazing". For others, "terribly mediocre". And finally, for a rare few, result in a horrible gastronomic dilemma. Allow me to explain.
First Course: French Onion Soup (other option was a Chèvre Chaud salad)
Amazing: the flavours were very well developed in the base and the bread was delicious and had a perfect amount of butter. The cheese was really good too.
Mediocre: The soup lacked some heat (temperature-wise) and the green onions were very odd.
Gastronomic Dilemma: The cheese was at the BOTTOM of the bowl. Benefit: made it less messy. Drawback: you don't get the wonderful broiled texture of baked cheese (and boy, do I love Gruyère!). Innovative or completely faux pas? You decide.
|French Onion Soup|
Second Course: Salmon; Steak Frites
Amazing: Both proteins were cooked very well, especially the salmon. Good flavours, well balanced, good temperature. The salmon was served with kind of a ratatouille on the bottom too.
Mediocre: The steak was a flank steak (so, not exactly the most tender cut) and for me personally, was a bit over-seasoned.
Gastronomic Dilemma: The fries. Half the people who come here say they love the fries because "they taste like (a better version of) McDonald's". The other half? "They taste like McDonald's".
Note: I forgot to take a photo of my own main. I must have been very hungry.
When asked, our server brought on some very nice mayo as well (I asked for aioli and she insisted that "didn't have aioli, but their mayo is pretty good)". Spoiler alert: it's kind of the same thing here...
Third Course: Crème Brulée
Amazing: It was pretty light and creamy and all around delicious.
Mediocre: It's served in a pretty unimpressive standard ramekin with no particular depth of flavour. Just kinda standard.
Gastronomic Dilemma: How much "brulée" is too much "brulée"? This is an area of personal discretion as to how long you think someone can justifiably come at your crème with a blowtorch (yes, I just wrote that!). For me, it was too much. For my sister (who will also eat my burnt marshmallows at a campfire) it was fine.
Final Notes: Despite my mixed review, this is a restaurant that is charming and sophisticated without being overly stuffy. The decor is super cute, the staff are nice, and the chalkboard specials are plentiful and looked and smelled amazing. Next time I come, I will definitely be making a selection from the specialities board. These boards are basically giant platters of meat (the lamb looked divine!), fries and salad served on a wooden board. The table next to us had a small party and had ordered a few platters of each and the look on their faces reminded me of diners at a Medieval feast. I'm definitely going to be coming back here.
|Their "Shareable Specialities"|
Rating: 4/5 (but certainly debatable!)