Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arcadian Court (Winterlicious)

My second work lunch for Winterlicious was at Arcadian Court. Similar to the my work lunch earlier in the week at La Maquette, it wasn't my choice of restaurant. When I looked at Arcadian Court's Winterlicious menu online, I was not that excited about the items offered. However, knowing that it was only a $15 lunch, I know I shouldn't have any high expectations anyway. Plus, I don't even have to pay, so I really should just keep my mouth shut.

I've never been to Arcadian Court before, so unlike La Maquette, I didn't have any views against it or for it before going. But similar to the lunch at La Maquette, I ended up really enjoying the food. For $15, I was beyond full - the portions were really generous. Not only were the portions good, every course in my 3-course lunch was also very delicious. Can I emphasize again that this lunch was only $15? Continue reading and I'm sure you will be amazed too. 

Arcadian Court is on the 8th floor of The Bay at Yonge & Queen. I didn't know a restaurant existed at The Bay before this, but a friend of mine told me that he has been to Arcadian Court for a wedding reception. When I got out of elevator, what I saw was this enormous grand hall with booths on the sides and tables in the middle.

Arcadian Court offers a full buffet at lunch as well as a la carte.

Arcadian Court is very grand, very open with their high ceilings; you won't feel crowded eating in there for sure. The thing is, when I was sitting at one of the tables in the middle of the hall, I felt I was attending and eating at a wedding reception rather than having a normal lunch at a restaurant; I felt like I was so tiny and little in the huge hall. The tables there were also very low in height, so that kinda felt weird because I felt so tall and huge at the table, but also small at the same time. You get what I'm saying? =D

One thing I do love is that there was live piano music  - a very classy touch, something that you appreciate much much more when you know your lunch is merely $15.

Baby Spinach Salad - Tossed with Bermuda onions, toasted walnuts, cherry tomatoes, sundried cranberries and crumbled local goat’s cheese with a raspberry vinaigrette.  Great salad. They didn't skimp out on the goat cheese and dried cranberries, and every spinach leaf was fresh and perfect. Now that I think back, and also looking at the picture, I don't remember eating / seeing the cherry tomatoes or onions. One thing I didn't like was the vinaigrette - it was really thick, almost like gravy. Totally not a vinaigrette but it still tasted good.

Antipasto Puffs - Mixed grilled vegetables & sweet potatoes bundled in phyllo pastry, served with wild rice and garden fresh vegetables (vegetarian). I was extremely curious about what an "Antipasto Puff" was so I ordered this. I was also not too interested in the other items on the menu, which were the Maple and Teriyaki Salmon (I hardly order salmon) and Waldorf Court Chicken Salad (I already had a salad). 

My expectation wasn't too high with this puff but when our server came to the table with it, I was impressed by the presentation and the colors - the whole plate was beautiful. The puff was huge, which you probably can't tell from the picture. Not only that, it tasted great. The phyllo pastry was so thin and crispy. When I broke the puff open, I saw a beautiful array of vegetables such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes inside (and probably other veggies too). It was so pretty~ The tomato salsa on the plate and the rice underneath gave a nice contrast in texture to the mushiness of the veggies inside the puff. 

I ♥ this puff! This antipasto puff totally delivered in all aspects: presentation, taste, and portion.

I finished it. I was so full afterwards. 

Chocolate Pate - Smooth chocolate served with raspberry sorbet and seasonal fruits, accented with raspberry coulis. I usually eat very light during lunch (and binge on dinner) and I was ready to skip dessert after that huge puff. But I always lose the battle when it comes to chocolate and without much of a fight, I gave in to this pate. Obviously, not a raspberry sorbet but a mango sorbet instead. Chocolate pate is exactly what you would imagine it to be - very dense and very chocolately. It was not too sweet, which was good. The sorbet along with the fruits on the side was a nice refresher between bites of the dense pate.

Got some shots of the other two desserts my colleagues ordered.

Seasonal fruit - With mango sorbet

Strawberry Croquembouche - Choux pastries with whipped cream and strawberry and chocolate spears, drizzled with caramel.

Everyone was very satisfied with the lunch. Two other colleagues had the Caesar Salad and a Carrot & Ginger soup as appetizers and the Maple and Terriyaki Salmon as their main. They said the salmon was very moist and not dry at all. I personally saw the size of the salmon served and it was definitely a very generous portion.

We were all so very impressed by this lunch at Arcadian Court. It exceeded all of our expectations. 

For those who have lost faith in Winterlicious, which admittedly I have after experiencing some terrible food and services from before, I hope my blog posts at La Maquette ($20) and Arcadian Court ($15) can redeem some of that confidence back for those in doubt. Sometimes the smaller and less popular restaurants are the ones that can pleasantly surprise you during Winterlicious. 

Arcadian Court on Urbanspoon

Arcadian Court at RestaurantGuideBook.com