The great part about working for an online restaurant guide is that there’s always an excuse to eat out! Not only did Nicki and Adam want to celebrate my recent birthday (I’m getting old…) they wanted to show me a go-to spot for business pros in the financial district.
REDS Wine Tavern, located in First Canadian Place was quite a treat. The welcoming entrance, full of coniferous firs and a natural appearance was an inviting touch. Welcomed with a VIP treatment of coat check, we were escorted to the lovely upper deck seating area overlooking the streets of the District. The decor was extremely warm, designed by Burlington’s McMillian Designs. It felt more like a gentleman’s club fitted suitably with tufted leather sofas and rustic touches. The industrial feel of high ceilings and the slew of independent light bulbs hanging so delicately above made for a respite-like atmosphere.
After the excitement of seeing a shuffleboard table, it was time to get down to business: namely, checking out the menu. New to the kitchen is Top Chef Canada‘s Ryan Gallagher, whose presence made the anticipation even more exciting. In true Nicki style, we ordered a “pre-order shareable” of Lobster rolls while deciding on our starters. The Atlantic Lobster Rolls were fresh and zesty, held perfectly together in a warm bun with a side of what I would call spicy hickory sticks, paired handsomely with a 2011 Chateau de Maligny Chablis ‘Carre de Cesar’ Burgundy.
The starters kept rolling with Lambs in a Blanket, presented in a cute little cast iron pan with homestyle minted apple sauce. Something similar to ‘pigs in a blanket’ which you’d normally find at a Christmas cocktail party, these Merguez sausages wrapped in puff pastry were a spicy twist to the traditional app.
After a few more sips and well… mind you, most of us hadn’t eaten a proper breakfast, the main courses arrived. Nicki shelled out the BLT Mussels, which were held in a kind of a ‘Seafood cauldron’ divider which separated the mussels from the lovely juices for soft pretzel dipping. Nicki was flabbergasted, repeating more than enough times, “I gotta get me one of these!”
The birthday girl herself (moi!) ordered the featured dish, a Jerk-style chicken breast with dirty rice and pineapple salsa… OMG, delish! The juicy chicken had the perfect amount of spice and Caribbean flavour… if I hadn’t eaten all those starters, I probably would have finished the whole plate, but that’s why I’ve got Adam to eat my leftovers. (Wink.) Meanwhile, he enjoyed the market fresh white fish, which showcased REDS commitment to only sourcing the best seafood, primarily from the East Coast.
All that food and a bottle of wine later, we were faced with the dessert dilemma and although the Grasshopper Parfait had our server’s approval, we were just too full to fit another piece of food in us! REDS is a must try for a power lunch, a dinner, or even a shuffleboard game over a few pints… it’s a definite vibe to check out.