First Look: 417 Restaurant & Lounge, a new Danforth spot that seeks to rise above Greektown clichés
By Karolyne Ellacott
Ahi tuna ceviche, $13 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)
Born and bred on the Danforth, there’s no doubting Eleni Gountanos’ loyalty to the ’hood. So when the space at 417 Danforth Avenue freed up (which just so happens to be where Gountanos met her husband, back when it was Myth), Gountanos took it as a sign, opening up 417 Restaurant & Lounge along with her parents, Anthony and Sophie Pavlou. As a response to the lackluster night scene on the ’Forth, this modern Mediterranean-inspired resto-lounge aims to become a lively east-end destination for drinks and dinner.
With wall-mounted fountains, mirrored artwork and blue lights aplenty, the mammoth space is hard to miss, let alone forget. Divided into various levels, the restaurant seats around 200 and includes areas that can open up to the street to draw the attentions of passersby.
Trying its best to avoid Greektown clichés, the menu is headed up by chef Kai Zyganiuk, who has cut his teeth at restaurants around the world (including Toronto’s Black Moon). He describes the menu as regional Canadian cuisine tinged with Mediterranean flavours.
For dinner, starters include a tomato and melon gazpacho ($7), served with an orange pepper granita, pea sprouts and crostini, while a grilled lamb chop and slow braised shoulder ($36) make for a noteworthy main. The meat is finished with a drizzle of merlot jus and served with a side of purple yam mash, asparagus and charred onions.
An open-faced lasagna was a veg-friendly special at last week's grand opening, featuring a medley of roasted wild mushrooms tossed with parmesan cream, garlic confit and baby arugula. As mom Sophie laughs, “We’re not gonna serve souvlaki!”
417 Restaurant and Lounge, 417 Danforth Ave., 647-352-4300