SalivATE – April 2011

Okay, so I’m a little bit late with this one, but we surely ate some good grub in April. Check it…

Cardinal Rule (5 Roncesvalles Avenue) is a cool new diner on Roncesvalles just north of Queen, where comfort food really does get a fun twist. Above, meat muffins are wee meatloaves in a phyllo cup.

Cardinal Rule’s Granny’s curried apple salad – greens, apples tossed in a curry dressing, dried strawberries and warm pecan-crusted goat cheese. Yes, it rocks.

The daily changing maki and cheese at Cardinal Rule is another example of how owners Katie James and Marta Kusel have fun with food. It’s macaroni and cheese with a daily filling (both meat and veggie options available), rolled in panko and deep-fried.

Beer-battered fish and chips with a house made coleslaw that’s topped with bacon… just because.


Brisket panini from Cardinal Rule, the meat marinated in cola and spiced rum, served with really awesome latkes.

Desserts are made in house at Cardinal Rule, and sometimes they like to experiment. Such as with these brownies, which feature a caramel and pretzel crust.

Never mind that silly negative review that’s going around, Ortolan Restaurant (1211 Bloor Street West) is a fabulous little neighbourhood place with great food and service. The menu changes regularly, and we got to try this skordalia (potato, olive oil and garlic dip) with artichokes.

Why don’t more people eat sardines? Ortolan had sardines on offer both as an appetizer and a main, and the app version, which had the tasty fish atop local buffalo ricotta laced with lemon, was brilliant.

Gnocchi with sausage ragu. Insert Homer Simpson noise here. Seriously.

Lovely rare flank steak with onions.

Entrees at Ortolan are a la carte, which is a great excuse to try the fava bean puree topped with chicory (aka. dandelion).

And for dessert, olive oil cake topped with stewed figs. Yeah, Ortolan rocks.

We went to Bier Markt (58 The Esplanade) for the launch of their special promotion for Jupiler Blond from Belgium and tried some dishes made with, or paired with, the beer. Chef Michael Cipollo has updated the fondue, which now comes with bread, apples and fingerling potatoes.

Also part of the Jupiler pairing menu, a veal schnitzel with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

The 10 oz T-bone burger made with Kobe beef and sirloin, plus double-smoked bacon and fries. Comes with a big knife to cut that sucker into sharing-sized pieces because there’s no way you should be eating this thing alone.

Liege-style waffles. More like a cookie than the fluffy things you get for breakfast, but awesomely good.

At a media event to check out Brassaii‘s (461 King Street West) spring menu, we had this beautiful ostrich carpaccio with truffled white bean and mushroom salad.

Lobster corn fritter with a south-west tomato tapenade.

This grilled ahi tuna was served with artichoke, tomato and caper salsa, and oddly, mashed potatoes.

Brassaii’s veal tenderloin medallion was served with asparagus and orzo with basil pesto. We didn’t love the tomato goat cheese, as it masked the flavour of the veal, which was tender and sweet.

A chocolate affair rounded out dinner at Brassaii. Milk chocolate chili ice cream and a chocolate cupcake flank the truly brilliant white chocolate mille-feuille, where, instead of layers of puff pastry, a  thin tender strawberry fruit leather topped white chocolate mousse. We’d love to see this paired with a mango sorbet and some other summer fruits.