They say that sharing is caring. That seems to be the winning formula this summer at O&B Café Grill, Yonge & Front
. Chef de Cuisine Zuzana Harsaghy
has created a trio of spectacular sharing platters that have taken the restaurant’s bar and patio by storm.
Serving four to six people, these tasty dishes are perfect for large groups, whether it’s a get-together after work between coworkers or a birthday celebration among friends. Taking inspiration from traditional cuisines such as Spanish tapas, Italian antipasti and Japanese sushi, sharing platters offer a much more relaxed approach to dining, where guests can graze at their own pace.
“The sharing factor brings people together,” says General Manager César Mesén. “Sharing is a great way to break the ice and is very conducive to creating conversation.”
Chips & Dips Platter
The Chips & Dips platter features assorted crudités with blue cheese dip, artichoke goat cheese dip, pico de gallo and hummus, corn chips, flatbreads, grissini and knots. It goes without saying that this platter is much more than your average tray of tortilla chips and salsa. It’s also visually stunning. When you carry one of these platters through the dining room, it’s sure to turn a few heads.
The Seafood Platter is another great conversation starter. The two-tiered tray includes the always-popular tempura shrimp, eight black tiger shrimp with traditional cocktail sauce and eight pieces of spicy salmon tartare maki, delivered by EDO fresh every day. It also features beautiful Szechuan peppercorn maple charred calamari. One highlight is the ahi tuna poke taco with lime coconut sauce.
“The ahi tuna tacos are a Hawaiian or Polynesian twist on a regular tuna taco,” says Chef Zuzana.
Wings, Sliders, Ribs & Things
Chef Zuzana’s personal favourite, however, is the platter of Wings, Sliders, Ribs & Things, which showcases one pound of jerk wings, four classic sliders, one pound of Zu’s zesty, nasty baby back BBQ ribs, four samosas, four chicken pakora lettuce wraps, and four vegetable spring rolls.
Zu’s Zesty Nasty Baby Back BBQ Ribs
Zu’s Zesty Nasty Baby Back BBQ Ribs have been a big hit. The sauce is made with tomato, Frank’s Red Hot, a little bit of mustard to give them that sharpness, and maple syrup to sweeten the deal. The final product are ribs that are sweet, spicy, and fall-off-the-bone delicious.
Sharing doesn’t stop with the food. The restaurant has been mixing up a variety of signature cocktails in pitcher format as another way to encourage guests to share the fresh flavours of the season.
“It’s almost like ‘family-style’ drinking,” says César. “When you order these pitchers it feels like you’re having your own little party.”
An array of O&B Signature Cocktails
From the traditional Sparkling Berry Sangria to the super refreshing Watermelon Lemonade, there are plenty of options for the table. Looking for something a little bit different? The Kicker Mojito, César’s personal favourite, combines Havana Club Añejo Blanco with mint, shaken with lime, pineapple and agave syrup. Instead of finishing with soda water, our mixologists use ginger beer, which adds a spicy kick as well as some effervescence.
Although patio season in Toronto is sadly coming to an end, O&B Yonge & Front plans to keep the sense of sharing alive with brand-new large format cocktails. Come October, look out for more spice notes and homemade bitters that reflect autumn and all its glory. As for Zu’s zesty, nasty baby back BBQ ribs – don’t worry. Those aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!
All photos by Cindy La
Turbot Ceviche - Buffalo Yoghurt, Clay Pepper Dust, Sea Buckthorn, Mountain Cranberries
The lure of berry season has always been too intoxicating for me to resist.
There’s something innately beautiful about berries – their bright, vivid colours and the delicate balance of fresh sweetness with a hint of tartness. With the short berry season upon us, Executive Chef John Horne
’s new tasting menu at Canoe
is more than timely. Staying true to his philosophy of highlighting ingredients in a unique way, John has introduced a few varieties of berries you may not have tried.
Tamworth Pork & Foie Gras Terrine - Blackberries, Pickled Field Strawberries, Hazelnut Mascarpone
Drawing on the power of food memory, John’s inspiration for Taste Berry comes from his belief that almost every Canadian has a moment in time related to a berry. “Whether it’s you and Saskatoon berries, or my pastry cook Martin and his mom making wild strawberry jam, we all have a berry-related memory. In Ontario, picking strawberries as a kid with your mom in the summer is common – and most of those berries are eaten before they hit the basket,” John remarks.
Prairies Venison - Tongue Tortellini, White Garlic Purée, Tamarack & Saskatoon Berry Mostarda
His own most memorable berry-related moment is rooted in childhood. As a youngster playing in the field across from his grandparents, John found a large patch of blackberries. With his curious and inquisitive palate in full force even as a child, John spent 20 minutes picking and tasting the berries. “I was trying to figure out why some tasted better than others. I remember lying on my back, munching on blackberries as the Snowbirds started to practice above me. Maybe that’s what I’ve always had a love of flying. It’s something that will always stay with me,” John reminisces.
And like berries, things in life aren’t always completely sweet. “I also remember being scratched to hell from the blackberry thorns, being scolded by my grandmother, laughed at by my grandfather and the sting of peroxide,” John laughs.
Pan Roasted Skate - Beluga Lentils, Gai Lan, Verjus, Currant & Miso Marinated Octopus
Everything is coming up berries. But you shouldn’t wait too long – Taste Berry will only be available for approximately two more weeks, or until the berry season is over. Reserve your table
before the berries disappear.
And yes, I may be from Saskatoon, but I never really liked Saskatoon berry pie. In my heart are childhood memories of strawberry shortcake. Let it be our little secret.
Fromage Blanc - Wild Strawberries, Pistachio & Basil
Everything changes with the seasons.
It's a simple but powerful mantra that is reflected in Executive Chef Jason Bangerter'
s new menus at Luma
. When I dropped by for our photo shoot in the spring, I could see the fresh ingredients bursting from the dishes.
Since the new menus are seasonally inspired, they may change as quickly as you can blink. Here's a look at the new lunch
And the rumours are true - Chef Jason's Lemon Tart is back due to popular demand.
I can't speak for everyone, but I always have room for dessert
Niagara Gold Beef Burger
Seasonally Inspired Pasta
For the entire duration of Winterlicious 2012, John Horne
had a cat strapped to his back.
A guest had given our Executive Chef a stuffed cat to remind him of how he was stuck on a flight from Halifax to Toronto for four hours, when a cat named Ripples escaped from its carrier and into the cockpit
. It became a mascot of sorts, tied to John's back every day until the very last service. Where the plush toy wandered off to, we'll never know.
As usual, reservations for Canoe are extremely limited, but you can call 416.364.0054 to see if any tables have opened up. With $25 lunch
/ $45 dinner
menus like this, it's not hard to see why Canoe is one of the most sought after bookings.
No cat on John's back this year, but I sure miss Ripples.
Here's a look at Canoe
's inspired dinner menu for Summerlicious.
Whipped Sheep’s Milk Mousse - Tender Shoots, Cardamom Crisp & Radish Vinaigrette
Chilled New Farms Cucumber Soup - Yarmouth Lobster, Dill & Hewitt’s Buttermilk
Slow Cooked Heritage Salmon - Watercress, Puffed Wild Rice & Kabosu Mayonnaise
Rock Cornish Hen - Zucchini, Three Grain Salad & Green Tomato Chutney
Wellington County Beef - Roasted Carrots, Steel Cut Oats & Portobello Bacon Jus
Albacore Tuna - Succotash, Corn Jalapeño Chutney & Tomato Fennel Broth
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse - Devil’s Food Cake, Coco Caramel & Nutella Pastry Cream
Frozen Yoghurt - Raspberry Soda, Milk Crumble & Vanilla Oil
Torched Bread Pudding - Niagara Plums & Osprey Bluffs Honey Sabayon
is in the house.
Our Corporate Executive Chef just happened to be alongside Chef de Cuisine Steven Kwon
in the kitchen when I came in to capture the Summerlicious
buzz at O&B Café Grill, Bayview Village
. It's a hint of great things to come, as Chef Walsh has been spending quality time with Steven at the restaurant. Stay tuned.
Until then, here are our Summerlicious offerings at O&B Café Grill, Bayview Village, which you can enjoy as a $15 lunch
or $25 dinner
. Call 416.590.1300 or reserve online.
After you dine with us, don't forget to enter our contest for a chance to win the Ultimate Dinner Party for 12 with an O&B Summerlicious Chef of your choice. Now, that's a party.
Chefs like to take photos of their food too.
Summer Squash Salad - spinach, ginger pickles & maple ponzu dressing
Watermelon & Tomato Gazpacho - basil, olive oil & brioche
Organic Lollo Rossa Green Salad Niagara Stone fruit preserve, Parmesan & Riesling dressing
Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs - spiced honey, wheatberries & cauliflower à la Grecque
Garganelli Noodles - summer vegetable jardinière, creamed tomatoes & fresh mozzarella
Broiled Atlantic Haddock - caramelized lemon, Ontario asparagus & marinated new potatoes
Slow-Roasted Ontario Pork Shoulder - spiced honey, wheatberries & cauliflower à la Grecque
Pineapple Carrot Cake - lemon cream cheese icing