Thursday, 14 March 2013

Toronto Restaurant Review: Sidecar

Sidecar is a gem in Little Italy that I stumbled upon in my casual perusal of restaurants one day. Actually, because my gym is also nearby, I'm usually particularly hungry after my workout (actually, ravenous would be more appropriate) when I walk past the restaurant. Thus, making the day that I finally went in all the more epic. With its simple but tasteful presentation, excellent service, and fresh ingredients, this is a great place that is definitely too often overlooked.

Although I would be happy coming here any time, their mid-week (Sunday to Wednesday) prix-fixe is an exceptional value at only $25.

For the first course, you have a choice between two salads or the soup of the day. The Sidecar Salad, with jicama, corn, red onion, cucumber, tomato, radish, feta in a creamy oregano dressing, is good. But, I actually do crave a good Caesar more often than not, and was very content with my "Romaine Hearts". The dressing was amazing.

Romaine Hearts (Truffled Caesar Salad)
Sidecar Salad 

For the mains, you have a choice between a Steelhead Trout, Steak Frites, Roasted Chicken or Tagliatelle. Pretty good, and pretty standard. You cover all your basic proteins and have a great vegetarian option as well. I was a little unimpressed with the slicing of my steak, but the flavours were good and the aioli was particularly rich and bright.


Seared Steelhead Trout with swiss chard, Israeli couscous and a white wine butter sauce
Steak frites with aioli

For dessert, non-chocoholics beware: there is only one option! But I'll be hard pressed to find someone who can deny a combination of chocolate, caramel, and brandied cherries. And as my mom would say about foods that she likes and could eat a lot of (roughly translated from Mandarin), "you don't get tired of this taste". I agree!

Flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel sauce and brandied cherries

Positives
  • Great cocktails. I didn't have one myself, but I wish I had ordered one of their famous ones (hence "Sidecar" as the name of the restaurant! Note to self to do first thing when I go next time!
  • Outstanding service. I am honest when I say that I have yet to have such good service in Toronto. Partially attributable to the old-school European standard that they try to maintain, partially due to the surprising lack of patrons, and mostly due to our excellent wait staff, they really knock this criterion out of the park
  • Thoughtful menu. The reason why they can offer such good prices is because the menu is clearly well planned to maximize ingredient usage and focus on the execution of the dishes rather than any bells or whistles. I really appreciate this. Think about this next time you go to an over-priced establishment that has more garnish than substance on a plate that has more "white space" than food and you will know what I mean
  • They serve many local, organic and free-range products
  • Almost everything is made in-house. Like, the bread, the butter, stocks and sauces. Pretty impressive if you ask me

Negatives
  • If you like a bustling environment, you won't find it here because it's really, really low-key (for many though, this is not a negative at all!)
  • Washroom is not wheelchair accessible, and the stairs a bit steep for an able-bodied person in heels and/or inebriated. I'm just saying...
  • There's only ONE dessert option for the prix-fixe menu

Final Note: For the price, location and service, this was a great restaurant to go to and if I had more time on my hands, I would go back very, very often!

Rating: 4/5
Note: This review is based on a dining experience from a few months ago, but the menu is exactly the same, and I suspect the servers who have been there for years will also be the same! :)

Sidecar on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you do not like the one dessert on the prix fixe menu, just ask for another of the regular desserts. They will most likely substitute the Vanilla Crème Brûlée or Apple Raisin Cheddar Fritters instead.

Annie Chu said...

Good to know, thanks!

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