Smörgåsbord – Nuit Social


Nuit Social
1168 Queen Street West

While Toronto is generally tired of “small plates” (which were really just a way to charge big prices for not much food), real tapas bars are still a novelty. Ones that pull off an authentic style of service as well as serving great food are even more rare, which is why I’m kind of stoked to have Nuit Social within walking distance of home.

Chef John Rosal’s menu is designed for sharing, but is completely customizable. Separate sections for meat, olives and cheese have around eight options each (plus specials) and are all available as one, three or five choices, allowing diners to create bespoke platters, and more importantly, try new selections.

An additional menu of shareable plates include sizeable portions of things like fried artichokes, arancini balls and scallops. The dessert menu is short with just three options but they are at least interesting twists on classic dishes.

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Taking on the Tapas Trend

It’s not easy being a pioneer.

When the Fernandez sisters opened Embrujo Flamenco (97 Danforth Avenue) in 2002, few knew what tapas were. The concept of snack-like items, served on small plates and meant for sharing while enjoying a quick after-work drink was, while not unknown in Toronto, still vaguely foreign when the items were all Spanish in origin.

The sisters (Jais running the front of house, Mali as the executive chef and Eren running the business and marketing) had a plan to bring authentic Spanish cuisine to the city. They created a restaurant that offered tapas and flamenco dancing performances for a taste of Spain that Toronto had not seen.

From the start, an explanation of tapas was required so customers not familiar with Spanish cuisine would understand the process.

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Good-bye 2007, and Take Your Little Plates and Locavores with You.

Everywhere you look in the media are round-ups of the best and the worst of 2007. Food writers are no exception and over the past week or so we’ve been inundated with Top 10s, predictions, best recipes for the year and more.

Being the crank that I am, here is my list of the Top 5 things from 2007 that I officially deem to be over.

5. Fois gras. Issues of inhumane treatment of geese and ducks aside, I just can’t get into fois gras. I’ve tried, really I have. But it will forever remind me of eating liver-flavoured Crisco shortening. In fact, as disgusting as the concept may be, I think I’d actually prefer to have to eat a gob of plain Crisco.

4. Teeny tiny burgers. 2007 seems to be the year Toronto discovered White Castle without actually having one in our city. The slider hamburger showed up at almost every foodie event I attended this year. Yes, they’re cute. No, I don’t want one.

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