Vv Magazine’s food writer, Libby Roach, gets an up close first look at new Parkdale restaurant, The Commodore and discovers this might be a new west Toronto gem.
Parkdale has more than it’s fair share of destination worthy restaurants, and The Commodore, soft opening this week, is about to join in those ranks. A hot bed of culinary cool, Queen and Dufferin has long been a sought after location to open a restaurant, with neighbouring institutions like Chantecler, Grand Electric and most recently Miss Thing’s bringing in throngs of savvy scenesters into this gentrifying west end hood. The Commodore, owned by Chef Jon Vettraino and a few silent investors, has brought together a feel good dream team of industry pros who not only have the chops to create a tight menu and swoon worthy bar, but similar to what the Jays seem to be harnessing, a group of likeminded people who actually like and respect each other- something that is critical and often overlooked in operating a restaurant.
One thing that’s never overlooked in this city is the design, and here, the highly covetable slightly nautical look is curated by the impressive Marx Kruis, of Kruisbuilt, which most recently created the dream like design at Bar Isabel. With a subtle blend of woods, including the white wooden planks reminiscent of a boat hull, the look is offset with a clever mix of mood lighting, including some salvaged from the recently set free Captain John’s floating restaurant. The high back banquettes are a lux look in navy, but also thoughtfully comfortable with added lumbar support. With 36 seats the white walls and mirrored bar keep this restaurant looking open and airy, a perfect complement to Chef’s pretty plates.
The Calamari Ragu Risotto ($13) is served on one of those antique plates, a colourful dish with rustic roots. Same goes for the cheekily named Sweet Cheeks ($12). Tender pig cheeks are roasted for three days and crowned with caramelized apples, bathed in a maple apple cider glaze. Expect seafood with nods to Chef’s Italian roots, like the stunning Swordfish Crudo ($13) with pickled sea asparagus, mild Trinidad peppers, crispy chicken skin and garnished with pretty shiso leaves.
The bar program is run by Jessica Mili and Matt Fairbanks (The Drake) who will be keeping the scurvy at bay with their citrusy cocktails, two of which will be flowing on tap. Tea based cocktails are also in the works, and expect the rotation of their drinks menu to be influenced by the time of year. Also being offered is their in house made Ginger Beer, as well as taps featuring some of Ontario’s finest beers, which will rotate seasonally. Wines are not relegated to only domestic; here worlds collide with impressive bottles from all over the world.
General Manager Jason Romanoff (Mercatto) has plans for dinner service, Wednesday through Sunday, from 5pm until midnight, with the bar staying open until 2am. Soft open as of this week; expect big crowds for this new spot, anchoring them in as one of Parkdale’s newest hot spots.
Will you be visiting The Commodore? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.