Penny pinching at one of Toronto’s poshest restaurants
What can a cool hundo buy at Scaramouche?
What $100 buys at Scaramouche
The task: Dining out at Toronto’s poshest restaurants
The catch: Stretching a slip of a budget — $100 — so that we are sated by the end of the meal
The reso: Scaramouche at 1 Benvenuto Pl.
Walking into one of the last grand dames of Toronto’s fine dining scene decked out in all the furs (they’re vintage, fret not), we bring the average age down at least a decade. This is the antithesis to King West. You can converse at a normal decibel level and not a single guest is worshipping the blue glow of a smart phone. Instead, they’re bowing down to the altar of lobster.
Foie gras terrine $30
St. Canut pork $43
Side greens $9
Coconut pie $14
During our visit, Lobsterlicious — Scaramouche’s answer to Winterlicious — is in full swing. Unfortunately, the multi-course crustacean feast is out of reach at $72 a pop. It’s clear even a glass of sparkling water, let alone sparkling wine, is out of the question. But we’re here for the posh grub, so drinks be damned.
After scouring the menu to see the best use for our dollars, we opt to share a starter, a main and a dessert, and are quick to apologize to our server for the meager order. She assuages our embarrassment with a genuine smile and a basket of warm, crusty bread. Shortly after, another complimentary treat emerges from the kitchen: A loonie-sized bite that packs a wallop of flavour.
“I hope that amused your bouche,” says the server jokingly as she removes the plates that once held cold-smoked salmon sandwiched between a duo of paper-thin potato crisps.
We laugh and she’s off.
Next up is the foie gras terrine. The generous fatty tranche melts in your mouth and spreads effortlessly atop the buttery brioche. Decadent? You bet. But we don’t feel too gluttonous thanks to a wee strip of salad on the plate (frisée dotted with teeny cubes of apple cider gelée, pickled ramps, grapes and pomegranate molasses).
Our main of hickory-smoked St. Canut pork (the Lamborghini of the porcine world) arrives divvied up beautifully onto two plates, hugging half moons of potato rösti and braised red cabbage. No awkward sharing necessary.
And finally, the coconut cream pie. It has barely hit the table and we’re chomping on forkfuls of jiggly custard topped with Chantilly cream and curls of white chocolate, actually struggling to finish the last bites. All in all, a great success. We roll out happily.