A chilly Saturday night and Nicki and I trot off to Smith Restaurant to meet Adam and Michelle for a highly anticipated team dinner and much needed catch up. Located at 553 Church St, I had never actually heard of Toronto’s Smith Restaurant before Nicki suggested it, and after checking out their very limited but homely menu online, I was curious to see how they would deliver.
Following standard VTV protocol, we commenced with cocktails. I opted for the ‘Amelia’, a wonderful concoction of vodka, elderflower liqueur and fresh blackberry puree. It didn’t last long. Good thing Labers kept with protocol and already had wine ordered and on the table…we’re like a well-oiled machine when it comes to dining out, it’s really quite impressive.
So turns out Smith Restaurant’s small menu isn’t so small after all. Folded in the middle of the table, you may not even notice it’s there. Until you open it up…it’s an actual broadsheet newspaper. Kind of annoying for the individual but makes for a pretty funny visual when the table next door started reading theirs!
We began with the Smith Charcuterie which to my surprise and delight featured shaved cow tongue. It was one of my grandfather’s favourite things when I was a child and it was even more delicious than I remembered. We also went for a bowl of the roasted mushrooms. Sounds standard but when paired with a sweet onion jus and topped with some grated Grana Padano, it was packed with flavour and turned the humble old mushroom into a solid comfort food.
Choosing entrees is pretty easy with 4 people and 6 options. It’s less a case of “what shall we have” than “what shan’t we have.” Apparently we’re all on top of our Omegas as we each favoured the meat options. So we decided to omit the Pearl Barley Risotto and the Miso Glazed Sable Fish and save them for next time.
When the plates arrived, we were immediately impressed with the generous portion sizes Smith Restaurant serves. Adam’s duck was the smallest of the lot and would be considered a ‘normal’ restaurant offering. As we dug in, we of course did the dutiful thing and ate off every plate to ensure full coverage. I ordered the pork belly – I am a sucker for the crispy fat and the tender meat nestled underneath. And it is served with polenta…bonus. It was perfectly decadent and had Nicki and I bashing forks as we made it magically disappear.
But my (and I think everyone else’s) favourite dish was Nicki’s Top Sirloin. This surprised me because I eat steak a lot. But it wasn’t the steak that made the dish, as tender and perfectly cooked as it was. It was the mashed potatoes. Smith’s Chef Quinn smokes the potatoes and then mashes them skin on, giving the whole plate a tummy-warming, cottage-comfort element. Add buttery cipollini onion and veal jus and let’s just say I’ll be thinking about that dish for a while!
Comfort food is a term that is thrown around a lot these days, but I have to say that is exactly what we got at Smith on Church Street. Good, tasty, hearty food in an equally warm surrounding. Their brunch is next on my hit list…
Smith Restaurant | 553 Church Street, Toronto | 533Church.com