Toronto's culinary scene is booming. We seem to have a never-ending insatiable hunger for new restaurants (a staggering 20 restaurants opened in March) and I admit it, it is often very tempting to solely focus on the latest joints and unintentionally, neglect the not-so-new restaurants (with this rate the "not-so-new" restaurants can include those opened for merely six to nine months). In any event, I do pride myself in revisiting restaurants where I've had great meals, and that's precisely why I found myself back at Ursa (Twitter: @ursarestaurant, Facebook: URSA) last month.
Dinner at Ursa a year ago was very memorable. Everything I had that night was well, unlike anything I've ever had before in the city. Brothers and co-owners Jacob and Lucas Sharkey Pearce's background in sports nutrition plays a defining role in Ursa's eccentric, unconventional menu.
Despite the fact that I've taken a very similar picture last year, I couldn't help myself - these LED bulbs are so alluring.
Cocktails = the best way to kick-off dinner (well for me anyway!)
Big ups to Robin Goodfellow (@robandcheese) for these tasty concoctions :D
WHISKEY SOUR ($11)
Alberta Springs 10 Year Rye, Lemon, Lime, Egg White, Barley Malt Syrup
Beefeater, Housemade Vermouth, Campari
BREAD WITH HOUSE-MADE CULTURED BUTTER ($5)
Hamachi, Hazelnut, Apple, Daikon, Burdock
ELK TARTARE ($18)
Charqui, Bitter Orange, Sumac, Pine Bark, Elk Velvet
Smoked Oat Polenta, Collard Greens, Pearl Onion, Coffeeberry
WILD BOAR ($28)
Toasted Barley, Turnip, Kohlrabi, Quince Mostarda, Lingonberry
ATHOLL BROSE (complimentary)
Robin's description on how this cocktail was made:
"Scotch and ground steel-cut oatmeal sitting together for 2-3 days. Stiffen egg whites, fold in cream, mix in Wildflower honey and then the scotch mixture. Bottle, seal and let Sit for 7 days. To serve: shake 4oz with ice. Fine strain, garnish with shaved nutmeg in a chilled coupe."
FRESH CHEESE, WILDFLOWER HONEY SFORMATO ($9)
SINGLE ORIGIN CHOCOLATE CHANTILLY, PEAR, GINGER, HAZELNUT ($9)
Recently named one of Toronto Life's Best New Restaurants in 2013, Ursa's original and innovative dishes are surely one-of-a-kind. Its use of peculiar ingredients and techniques (i.e. dehydration, fermentation, sprouting) in preserving the nutrients from those ingredients is genuinely inventive. Their whimsical plating is also absolutely gorgeous! In my opinion, Jacob and Lucas Sharkey Pearce at Ursa are, unquestionably, elevating and intriguing the taste buds of many Toronto diners in a very positive way.