66 Wellington St W,
TD Tower Concourse Level
Last night my friend Mandy and I kicked off the Summerlicious season at Bymark restaurant. The last time we went to Bymark we had a lunch reservation, so this time we thought we should try out their dinner menu instead. It’s a $45 prix fixe menu, not including drinks. Wine starts at around $11.00 a glass and cocktails are $15 and up. My individual bill was over $70 after tax and tip, making this one of the most expensive Summerlicious meals I’ve ever had.
We went in with high expectations, since this is one of celebrity chef Mark McEwan’s restaurants. Mandy and I decided to turn our dinner into a bit of a competition, and determined who ordered the best dish for each course. Mandy won overall, and I ended up with a serious case of dish-envy. Oh well, maybe I’ll come out on top next time!
Oh, and please excuse the quality of the photos. We shot them with our cellphones because I don’t like to take my DSLR to restaurants. I think the big camera is distracting to other patrons…but I may have to get over that if I want better photos for my blog…we’ll see.
This is the appetizer that I selected. It’s the Ricotta Gnudi with arugula, green peas, shaved parmesan, and brown butter vinaigrette. The gnudi (a ricotta dumpling of sorts) had a mild cheesy flavour and semi-firm texture. It paired well with the saltiness of the parmesan and the freshness of the peas, but I thought the bitterness of the arugula overpowered the subtle flavour the gnudi. Actually, I don’t think I like arugula…If you do, you’ll probably enjoy this dish.
Mandy and I decided that her appetizer won over mine. She ordered the Albacore Tuna Sashimi with pineapple, jalapeno, yuzu mayo and black garlic. Honestly, I wish I had ordered this. The tuna had that perfect, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and every element on the plate worked together to make a cohesive dish. There was heat, creaminess, crunch… you have to try this!
If you haven’t had good sashimi before, you should know that it never tastes “fishy”. That gross fishy taste means that the fish isn’t fresh, and that wasn’t the case here.
For my main course I ordered the Smoked Chicken Pasta with preserved Italian chilies, rapini, crimini mushrooms, bariole olives, and roasted garlic. I really enjoyed this! I loved how the creaminess of the sauce worked with the mild heat of the chilies, and the chicken was moist and flavourful. My only issue was that the portion was quite large, and I couldn’t finish it. I’m sure other people will appreciate the generous portion though. Mandy wasn’t a big fan of this one, but it still won over her main course. EDIT: I’ve been craving this pasta since I had it. It’s that good.
Mandy ordered the Pan Seared Scallops with tamarind glazed asparagus pakora, baby carrots, and coconut beurre blanc. I don’t know where to start with this dish… it just didn’t make sense to me. The scallops were delicious, and the coconut beurre blanc (foam?) was nice, but they didn’t pair well with the other items on the plate. Pakoras are a deep-fried South Asian snack food, made from vegetables dipped in a special batter, served with a dipping sauce. They tend to be a bit greasy and very strongly flavoured. While the Bymark pakoras tasted authentic, I didn’t think they didn’t belong on that plate. I didn’t care for the baby carrots either, they were bitter and added nothing to the overall dish.
For dessert I ordered the Chocolate Tart with pistachio caramel corn, and caramel banana ice cream. The chocolate tart was ok, but not my favourite. It paired nicely with the ice cream. The popcorn was also nice, but I thought it was a random addition to the plate.
This is the Strawberry Rocky Road dessert with lemon curd, toasted marshmallow, and strawberry mousse. Again, Mandy ordered the winning dish. Thankfully, she is always willing to share with me. This dessert is a stroke of genius. I loved the playfulness of the deconstructed plating, and it was so tasty! You can see the tiny bits of strawberry on there, and I think those larger pieces were angel food cake. The strawberry mousse was very light, and those brownish-white blobs are super-soft marshmallow. My favourite part was the lemon curd though, it was so good!
Overall, we enjoyed our meals. The staff members were nice, the service was excellent, and we were so full when we left that we practically waddled out of there! I would recommend Bymark for a special evening out or a dinner date.
I’ll be posting more Summerlicious 2013 reviews at the end of this coming week. My next reservation is at Azure restaurant!