Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Forth in Greektown

Located at 629 Danforth Ave. just south of Pape is The Forth, the newest project from chef Chris Kalisperas (formerly of Brassaii) and his investors, The Signature Group. This ambitious new restaurant is a multi-story, 8,000 square foot space decked out with copious lighting and enormous floor to ceiling windows. With two separate dining areas - one on the main floor and the other on the second floor - the entire restaurant can accommodate up to 160 seats. Suffice to say there's ample seating here.

Despite the fact that chef Kalisperas' background is Greek and The Forth (Twitter: @TheForthTO, Facebook: The Forthis in the heart of Greektown, you won't find anything Greek on the menu. Rather, The Forth offers contemporary Canadian cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Kalisperas also emphasizes on sourcing locally and seasonally (which usually means the menu will change often). 

 A massive wine wall separates the kitchen and the first floor dining room.

Oh, and forget the stairs. Take the elevator to the second floor where you'll find more seating space and a lounge area. There's no doubt about it - you can really feel the grandeur and elegance of the The Forth once you're up here. Take note of the cool duo projection screens showing black and white historical photos of the city (they are also visible from the main floor).

Upstairs dining area opposite the projection screens.

I was privy to a private media dinner at The Forth several weeks ago. Let me share with you what I had :) First off, a cocktail to start.

Remy Martin + cassis + darjeeling + strawberry tea + lemon juice + egg white

Then some house made bread.

The food menu is split into "Snacks", "Appetizers", "Mains" and "For Two". There were three of us at the table and we shared the following plates:

Warm marinated olives + almonds

Sourdough + pine nuts + lemon + basil

Popcorn + lime + cilantro

Salted granola + marshmallow + strawberry

QUAIL ($16)
Grilled quail + cauliflower + apple + quail egg sabayon + endive

Hand cut beef tenderloin + potato crisps + devilled egg + capers + parmigiano

DUCK ($28)
Roasted dry aged breast + coriander + carrot + mustard greens + quinoa + Saskatoon berries

BEEF ($36)
60 day dry aged Ontario strip loin + shallot + potato + braised shin + asparagus + soubise + chanterelles

White chocolate + lychee + jasmine

Ginger + coconut + lemon balm

Chili + Saskatoon berry + creme fraiche

All around classy and sophisticated plating by chef Kalisperas (@chriskalisperas). In terms of flavour I enjoyed the contemporary spin on most of the dishes. While some pairings worked better than others I applaud Kalisperas' whimsical twists to traditional classics such as octopus with popcorn, and foie gras with marshmallow. Standouts of the night for me were 1) the delicate, creamy burrata with grapes on fresh sourdough, 2) the octopus - cooked sous-vide then seared to order - served with buttered popcorn puree garnished with actual popcorn, 3) the gorgeous steak tartare alongside shaved parmigiano, dollops of "devilled egg mousse" then topped with house made Thai Chili and Szechuan-flavoured potato chips (the chips added a lot of texture and flavour to the dish), and finally 4) the succulent, roasted dry aged duck breast, by far my favourite savoury dish that evening. Moist, tender duck meat with perfect crispy skin....absolutely delicious. I loved the slight sweetness from the carrot puree and Saskatoon berries as well as the slight crunch from the quinoa. All the components on the plate just worked really well together. The desserts were stellar too. Creative with spot-on flavour combinations, pastry chef Alicia Staszczyszy did an immaculate job in showcasing sweet and savoury notes without overpowering the palette.

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

The Forth on Urbanspoon