Monday, March 10, 2014

Lot St: Locally Driven, Ontario Proud, Toronto Inspired

Did you know that in the early 1900's, Queen St. was called Lot St.? Paying homage to the neighbourhood's history, Lot St.which opened in August of last year, has also used "LOT" as an acronym for what diners can expect at their Queen West restaurant:

Locally Driven
Ontario Proud
Toronto Inspired

I was not at all surprised by the clever wordplay. Head chef Peter Pietruniak (@ChefPeteTO), who took over the Lot St. (Twitter: @LotStreet Facebook: LOT Stkitchen in September, has always been an advocate of local food. Petruniak once told me...

"Even before getting into this profession, I always try to eat local and make the effort to look for grown-in-Canada products. I also try to avoid eating at major chain restaurants. Supporting local has many benefits; it helps local farmers and small businesses, as well as reducing carbon footprint.  I will take a fresh Ontario peach over ANY tropical fruit; it is fresh and not ripening on a truck as it crosses the border.  I have read about many chefs who try to really show what their country has to offer. The best chefs Adria, Keller, and even Edward Tuson at Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island want to know where their ingredients come from.  Every chef should want that and every chef should know that food doesn't just come from the back of a truck."

There are both warm and cool tones at the restaurant. Reclaimed wood and exposed-brick keeps the room warm while the stainless steel and copper pipes elements give an industrial feel to the space.

We sat at the bar last Friday night. Chef Pietruniak was working away just 5 ft from us the entire evening.

Four rose bourbon, cinzano, cherry bitters, luxardo cherries

Campari, casis, ginger syrup, lemon, float of ginger beer

Instead of ordering ourselves we had chef Pietruniak serve us whatever he desired. This is actually an option on the Lot St. menu:

Let the kitchen work within your budget and preferences to create a meal

With a budget of $35 per person, my date and I had the following plates:

Egg bread served with maple syrup butter

Belgian endive, royal gala apple, heirloom carrots, radish, goat cheese, oat streusel, maple vinaigrette.

Egg, pickled shallot, parsley puree

Ginger, chili, garlic, pear

With kimchi

Rutabaga, turnip, sage oil

House kimchi, pear, cilantro

Pear ginger compote

Duck, house made beer gravy, Quebecois cheddar curds 

Smoked chocolate, coffee marshmallow

If you think the food looks great wait till you actually go and taste it. The evening started off with a wonderful house made bread - I swear I've never had so much butter on bread before! I felt quite guilty about this but that maple syrup butter with applewood smoked maldon salt was very hard to resist. Following the bread was a series of vegetable dishes: first was a beautiful salad of endive, apple, carrots, radish and goat cheese (this was off the menu but may make its way into the spring menu), then came two of my favourite dishes of the night: the roasted mushrooms and the sesame Brussels sprouts. I don't remember the last time I had a warm veggie dish as delicious as these smoky roasted mushrooms (the addition of the egg on top was fabulous) and those perfectly spiced Brussels Sprouts (with hardly any bitter taste to them). Other highlights for me were the pearl barley risotto, the confit pork belly and the s'mores tart. The risotto with rutabaga (which I love) had a rich and decadent cream sauce. Although delicious this risotto dish can fill you up really quickly so beware. The confit pork belly with it's nice crispy skin reminded me of my Mom's roasted pork belly :) I enjoyed the pear ginger compote with it while my date preferred the pork belly on its own. Even though we were ready to roll out of the restaurant I still had a second stomach for dessert. The wonderfully sweet coffee s'more tart was literally what you'd expect: s'mores - a better version of it - with a hint of coffee flavour in a tart. It was a phenomenal way to end our meal.

 My dinner at Lot St. was terrific and I highly recommend you go check it out. With a budget at $35 per person, chef Petruniak treated us to a fantastic dinner of ten delicious small plates. Portions were perfect and we left very full and satisfied. Pietruniak puts a lot of care and attention into every single plate and it definitely shows. I can always expect beautiful things from him.

Some specials from Lot St. that you should know about (taken from their website):

TUES – Pints $5 (All Local Craft Beers). A Pint And A Plate $10
WED – Buck A Shuck Oysters
THURS – $25 Featured Wine Bottles / $5 glass of red or white
FRI – Old Fashioned Fridays ($10 Old Fashioned cocktails)
SAT – A Chance For Our Bartender To Create A Feature Cocktail

And remember to tag Lot St. on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Foursquare 'cause you can get 10% off your meal!

Related Post:

Lot St on Urbanspoon