February in Toronto tends to be a month of “downs”. The skies are greyer, the air is an awkward mix of cool and humid, and the days are shorter. However, the first week of February is also a great time for culinary explorations. Here, the city’s famous “Winterlicious” is in full force.
“Winterlicious” is a sort of food festival in Toronto. During these few days, several of Toronto’s finest restaurants serve a three-course meal at a discounted price. It’s a great time to try an eatery that you’ve had your eye on, but have been weary of splurging on. I’ve been in Toronto for two years now, but this was my first “Winterlicious”, and it was a great one. As I headed off to Yorkville, one of Toronto’s well-known neighbourhoods, I figured that I should try to save up an appetite for what could possibly be a very filling meal. And I was right; by the end of things, I felt stuffed.
Brownstone Bistro is a classic eatery that is refined without being overly pretentious. Its interior is pleasant, and is reminiscent of the Parisian cafes I frequented while in Paris. It also has a slight “American” edge to it, making it a classic, yet familiar, place to eat.
Our menus offered three different choices per course. I chose their soup of the day as my appetizer. As the cream of mushroom soup arrived, I was a little surprised at myself for ordering a soup that I rarely ever have. However, on this rainy day, a bowl of warmth seemed appropriate. And I was glad to have it; rich, creamy, and strong. It was the perfect way to start my meal.
My entrée consisted of steak and frites. As an occasional vegetarian who rarely cooks red meat at home, it was a splurge for me. The steak was cooked perfectly, at a cross between medium and medium-rare. Anyone who knows me understands my love for fries (or potatoes in all forms). Brownstone Bistro managed to offer some perfectly-done dishes without much direction, which made it impressive for me.
For dessert, we were offered another three choices – strawberry cheesecake, crème brûlée, or fruit. As a big crème brûlée fan, the choice was easy. It’s rare for me to dislike any crème brûlée, so I wasn’t surprised that I found it to be the perfect balance between cream and sugar.
The only negative to Brownstone Bistro, for me, was that they served my cappuccino at a cooler temperature. I personally love my coffee to be hot, regardless of what form its in (except for Iced Cappuccinos from Tim Hortons!). Despite that, the rest of it made it a perfect outing for my first Winterlicious. Brownstone Bistro’s food is delicious, its service is spectacular, and its atmosphere is relaxed.
Sometimes, all you need is a classic.