I didn’t tell you guys this, but I did Summerlicious once this year. I’d seen Bistro 990 time and time again walking along Bay Street and I figured that it was about time to try it out. I’d heard good things!
This turned out to be a big, big mistake. Don’t let these oddly high quality photos (I don’t know how I managed to shoot so many good shots…) fool you!
Location: 990 Bay Street
Price: $35 per person, here was the menu http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/se/restaurants.nsf/Summerlicious/D51BEDD243FF545F852572D500761DE5?OpenDocument
Phone Number: (416)921-9990
Right. This happened a while ago, and the fact that I still remember all this is indicative of my displeasure. For one, my family and I were put into a dark back corner where it was difficult to flag down staff and get things done. I remember having to try multiple times on multiple occasions to flag down assistance for dirty cutlery, the bill, to ask where our mains were, for coffee…
I know Summerlicious is a busy time for restaurants so it’s difficult to judge their actual quality based on my Summerlicious experience. But here’s a tip: if Summerlicious is for promoting your restaurant, don’t do a lousy job of promoting it! If you can’t handle such a high load of customers without losing such a great deal of your quality (at least in my experience), don’t leave people (who may be food bloggers) with bad experiences who could potentially write about it on their websites! 😛
I learned something important from this chilled cantaloupe, orange and mint soup. Never mix these things together, or else you get a taste oddly reminiscent of garbage. Perhaps my palette simply isn’t refined enough for such a dish… but if anybody wants to test it and tell me what they think of it, be my guest. They also gave us EXTRAORDINARILY hard bread at this point. Like I had to chip away at it with my knife. They had also put coarse salt over the top. Way too salty…
Unlike the soup, this was something that I could eat without holding my breath. A good sign! The crispy panko layer melded well with the creamy goat cheese, and the vegetables underneath were buttery and smooth. I guess the usage of goat cheese is a preference, but I’ve always found large blocks of goat cheese to not be too great because of that somewhat unpleasant flavor that comes with lamb/goat. Usually it’s subtle and I can handle it, but with goat cheese that flavor is heightened to its maximum. Thankfully, the panko crust and the balsamic reduction help to balance this out somewhat. Somewhat…
Our mains took a while to come out and when they did, they turned out to be pretty small. My mother didn’t like the couscous, and she complained that the mahi mahi was overcooked and too salty for her taste.
For $35, I got a steak and fries? Was the steak at least incredible? No, it wasn’t. It was medium rare, they got that much right, but at that point I was grasping at the straws to find good things to say about Bistro 990. I just can’t understand why such a reportedly good restaurant would fall so far short of standards. $35 for steak and fries! Can’t they be a little more creative?
Each dessert came with ice cream, and all the ice creams turned out quite yummy. This white chocolate and raspberry tart was actually surprisingly good in comparison to the rest of the food we had that night. The sourness of the raspberries cuts into the sweetness of the white chocolate well, and the buttery tart gives a contrast of textures.
I don’t know if you detect freezerburn. I did! The ice cream still tasted good though. So did the cookie, which I assume (hope…) they made themselves. It was chocolate chip!
Cheesecakes are hard to mess up, but this ended up being a very good iteration of the cheesecake. Buttery, sweet, cheesy, light… this was the best part of the otherwise somewhat dismal night. Yep, that’s right.
Conclusion: Don’t go to Bistro990 for Summerlicious, or Winterlicious either probably. 😛