Mideastro Yorkville turned two years old yesterday, celebrating the milestone with friends and family inside their swank Yorkville space. The 150-seat restaurant invited diners to explore flavours that emanate from over 11 countries around the world. Head Chef Benny Cohen had a gleam in his eye as he thanked guests for their loyal support, while sharing in his culinary vision.
“It can be a challenge to put ingredients from 11 different countries down on one plate,” he says, “but it gives me the opportunity to share my love for the strong culinary heritage that surrounds the Mediterranean region.”
Chef Benny imports his ingredients directly from producers all over the world and has curated a menu that he calls “traditional with a twist”. A dish like his Persian grape leaves – stuffed with dried mint rice, ground tenderloin in tomato hearts, lemon, fresh mint and pine sap, on a bed of Lebanese sumac tahini and red and white quinoa tabule – are more than just a tasty mouthful of words. Each element of a dish like this has something to offer, allowing the diner to quite literally pick them apart with distinction.
I briefly wished that Mideastro wasn’t quite so classy, so that I might order an entire bucket of Chef Benny’s shrimp falafel. Sit me down in front of a good flick and hand me a few dozen of these falafel battered prawns with tangy tzatziki feta, punchy pickled vegetable tartare, humus masabaha, aji panka and herb tahina and you wouldn’t find me until after my post-movie nap.
For the wine lovers around town, place your palate in the capable hands of award winning Master Sommelier Bruce Wallner, winner of last year’s Best Ontario Sommelier Competition. With a wine selection as diverse as the menu itself, Bruce has the capability to create sublime medleys alongside your meal.
A white wine from the Santo, made of Assyrtiko grapes from the island of Santorini in Greece as well as a 2004 Taurasi Riserva from Struzziero, produced in Campagnia, Italy, paired beautifully alongside the main course trio: Halibut with whipped fennel cream, quinoa tabule and lemon pesto with Syrian olives, crispy quail with root vegetable tartare and pineapple reduction, and my personal favourite, Miami ribs marinated in ginger, garlic, mint, date honey and orange juice.
Though we had to catwalk the sidewalk construction on our way in, Mideastro Yorkville is becoming a staple along the developing strip of Yorkville Avenue.
“The area around our restaurant is currently undergoing renovations with new residences and eateries popping up between Bay and Yonge on Yorkville,” said Leon Goldstein, owner of Mideastro Yorkville. “[We] are so excited to be a part of this cultural redevelopment.”
As the intrigue of Toronto diners is forever expanding, seeking out new flavours and pairings, Mideastro Yorkville would seem to be a breading ground for new culinary fusions. Here’s to the years ahead!