Tuesday, March 25, 2014

East Thirty-Six: New Restaurant and Bar on Wellington St. E.

East Thirty-Six (Twitter: @EastThirtySix, Facebook: East Thirty-Six) on 36 Wellington Street East is the newest restaurant and bar to open in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. The restaurant, which occupies the former Olde Towne Bistro and Oyster Bar space and before that, Lucien, is the newest venture from husband and wife team Julien and Devon Salomone of Church Street's Boutique Bar. With a strong focus on house made ingredients for cocktails and a menu of share-able dishes, East Thirty-Six's restaurant and bar concept is ideal for patrons who enjoy expertly crafted cocktails and eccentric plates

Although considerably "brighter" than Lucien, East Thirty-Six's interior is still on the dark side (I've never been to Olde Towne Bistro and Oyster Bar so I cannot comment about its decor). However many details have been updated with more modern touches resulting in a much more approachable space. Gone are the dated crystal chandeliers (thank goodness!) which have now been replaced with contemporary steel light fixtures. The ceiling in the main dining room also has this cool purple'ish-blue back light.

Banquette seating at the back of the restaurant is perfect for large groups (East Thirty-Six comfortably seats 70).

A semi-private, raised "purple room" occupies the northeast corner of the restaurant. 

Co-owner / mixologist Julien Salomone runs the beverage program at East Thirty-Six. Building upon his wealth of experience working behind the bar in 5-star hotels and haute beach clubs in his native France to his time at Toronto institutions One, Auberge du Pommier, and Nota Bene, and finally as co-owner of Boutique Bar - which was ranked as Toronto's Best Cocktail Bar in NOW Magainze's Best of 2013 - Julien brings a stunning array of cocktails and his trademark flair to East Thirty-Six. 

RUM ROW: Housemade spiced rum, apricot liquor, lemon juice, ginger syrup, tonic float
FRENCH CONNECTION: Muddled cucumber, gin, chartreuse, lillet blanc, coriander syrup, peychaud bitters, coriander tincture

In the kitchen is chef Brent Maxwell (@BrentMaxwell) formerly of the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant empire. Having been in the kitchens at Biff's Bistro, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier and finally chef de cuisine at LUMA as well as chef de cuisine at Spencer's at the Waterfront in Burlington, Maxwell brings his 20 years of vibrant culinary experience to the East Thirty-Six kitchen. 

Below is a recap of what I had at East Thirty-Six's media tasting last week:

Toast and mustard

Castelfranco, kale, endive, ricotta salata aioli, focaccia

Lardo, celery, tequila, lime

Capers, preserved lemon, brown butter, hazelnut, parsley

Chicken liver, sage, and toast

Artichoke, carrot, fennel, white wine, lemon

Foie gras, tarragon, creamed savoy cabbage, apple

Shortbread, macadamia

My favourite plates of the evening were: 1) the slow-cooked cauliflower alongside roasted capers, crunchy hazelnuts, and preserved lemon all tossed in a lovely brown butter sauce, 2) the roasted bone marrow with a generous serving of silky chicken liver mousse, 3) the tender boudin blanc on a bed of creamed savoy cabbage (I couldn't taste much of the foie gras though) and finally, 4) the tangy and smooth lemon custard topped with macadamia nuts and shortbread crumble.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

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