Friend said she wanted to eat light (this was soon after Christmas, after all), so I consulted my restaurant wishlist and came up with a few options, from which she chose Beast. I first heard about Beast, oddly enough, from fellow Pittsburgh-area food blogger Rodzilla, who somehow found out about this place despite being a five-hour drive away. I took that as a good sign.
Beast is definitely intriguing. Located in a row house on a small side street in King West, Beast is a bit of a study in contrasts. The wooden tables, the French doors, the curtains, and the cute patio portray it as a classy joint, but the graffiti-esque logo, the paintings adorning the walls depicting half animal-half humans, and indeed, the name of the restaurant, seem to reveal a mysterious, darker, wilder side.
Beast's owner-chef makes everything in-house and sources from local, sustainable farms, something I really dig about a restaurant. As such, the menu changes weekly to reflect currently available ingredients. The menu options are creative and interesting, another thing I really dig about a restaurant.
Our wonderful waitress explained that Beast's offerings are tapas style and that typically 2-3 dishes per person makes a meal. We took her advice but decide to go on the low side, ordering 4 dishes between the two of us. Before our food arrived, homemade bread was served, which was not only good but also nicely presented in a picture-worthy way:
Then came the four dishes we choose. The Sweet Potato Wedges, Pecans, Maple Vinaigrette, Sultana Raisins were sweet, flavorful, and the chopped pecans provided a nice contrast in texture.
|Sweet Potato Wedges, Pecans, Maple Vinaigrette, Sultana Raisins ($10)|
The Sea Scallops, Foie Gras, Celery Root Skordalia, Arugula was as good as the name implies. A tasty combination that works well together.
|Sea Scallops, Foie Gras, Celery Root Skordalia, Arugula ($18)|
Knowing that I'm a fan of poutine, Friend suggested that we get Beast's version of the "Poutine" (quotation marks original) which is of course not a real poutine. Instead of fries, this "poutine" has fried gnocchi which were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, topped with delicious braised pork shoulder, cheese curds, and creme fraiche.
|"Poutine", Fried Gnocchi, Braised Pork Shoulder, Cheese Curds, Creme Fraiche ($11)|
And I saved my favorite for last: Smoked Rainbow Trout, Farro, Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts. The smoked rainbow trout was the star here, emanating its perfectly smoked flavor through the farro. Simply delightful.
|Smoked Rainbow Trout, Farro, Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts ($12)|
Despite some complaints I've read that Beast's servings are small, I would actually disagree. As tapas, each of the four dishes was larger than I expected. Even though Friend and I only averaged two items each, we were more full than we wanted to be. Here, I was saying as we were making our decisions earlier that I wanted to save room for dessert! So much for that.
Or is it?
Of course I couldn't resist the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was a bit sweeter than I had expected, but satisfying.
|Sticky Toffee Pudding ($10)|
Overall, I liked Beast quite a bit. Interesting, delicious dishes with ingredients that work well together, and the service was top-notch as well. Thanks for an awesome find, Rodzilla!
96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON, Canada
On the web: http://www.thebeastrestaurant.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beast
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/BeastRestaurant
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