There are two schools of thought on Winterlicious (and Summerlicious). One is that it is a great thing, giving people the chance to explore restaurants they may not be able to afford normally. It breaks down social barriers and makes the Toronto dining scene not seem so “snobby.”
The other school of thought (mainly from those in the industry), is that it is like suffering two successive weeks of non-stop root canals. In other words, it is pure hell. Waiters get lower tips, restaurants are booked solid and instead of getting to be creative in the kitchen chefs are stuck with churning out the same few dishes each night.
I understand both schools of thought, but I still participate. In some ways I use it to pick and choose which restaurants I want to go back to and pay full price. And I am lucky to have friends and a boyfriend who are “good drinkers” and “good tippers,” so we do it up right.
As you can tell from above it was the iconic Bistro 990. This is the kind of restaurant that is ideal for Winterlicious, it has a fun history of celebrity attendance and a great atmosphere that makes you feel special just being there. Bistro 990 has a menu of classic bistro fare with a provencal influence. I went with folks who appreciate a good meal.
To start we were split half and half. Jenny and I each had the Bistro Pate with Quince and Red Onion Marmalade. It came with an ample basket of bread crisps and was rich and dare it say it creamy. The Marmalade helped to cut some of the richness.
Homer and Meg had the Mushroom soup, which was hearty and had a nice dose of cream. Thankfully the baguette kept coming in order to sop it up.
For the mains we all opted for the AAA Flank Steak with Blue Cheese, Mash and Bordelaise Sauce. We felt no guilt about ignoring the other option of Tuna Nicoise as it was so damn cold outside. The only thing that would do was red meat. The steak was great but the real star was the Blue Cheese Mash, the next time I make mashed potatoes I am definitely going to try to replicate this.
By this point my control tops were begging for mercy but I had to soldier on because it was dessert time. Again we were spit with Meg and Jenny ordering the Individual Pavlova with Raspberry Mousse and Chantilly. It was nice and light and probably what I should have ordered. I instead went for the Chocolate Ginger Pot de Crème, which was accompanied by a biscotti that also had ginger flavour. It was creamy and rich and put me over the edge.
Accompanying the meal was a nice bottle of Cote du Rhone which was affordably priced at $39. While we were there I had a look at the regular menu and to be honest it wasn’t out of this world. I would go back for a fancy dinner any time.
I hadn’t been out for a fancy dinner in a little while and I love the occasion of it. There is still a week left so if you can get in anywhere make a night of it, even a Wednesday night.