Located in a former Victorian townhouse at 96 Harbord St, is a French restaurant specializing in small shareable bistro-style plates. The Chef Zach Koloneir comes to us via Montreal, where he worked his way up to chef de cuisine of the famous Joe Beef. His new restaurant, that opened in May 2019, is nothing like the meat heavy meals at Joe Beef. Here the fare is lighter, with about a dozen offerings that change daily. Some items are classically French, but not all, while he might add a dish to showcase his Jewish heritage, or he serves a delicious Cubano sandwich.

They did a lovely job renovating this narrow space, its last inhabitants were J’s Apron restaurant. For a narrow restaurant, it’s light and airy, finished in wood, beveled mirrors and a marble bar in the back. This nice cozy, casual spot seats around 30 people at either of the two brown distressed leather banquets or the at seats around the bar. The walls are done in the shaker style. They play a decent soundtrack and you can hear conversation here. Thumbs up for changing the plates and silverware with each course. They serve water and wine in beautiful Ridel glassware, yet the dishes are more grandma style, with mismatched dishware. The staff explains the menu very well and are knowledgeable about each dish. They recommend ordering 2 smaller plates, a midsize and a couple of mains.

The menu is concise, and the dishes are small, so you need to order quite a few. They serve all-natural wines, meh, not a fan. Sorry if I sound like a snob, but they just don’t do it for me personally, so please no hate mail.

There are hits and misses on the menu. The lamb was tough and tasted medicinal to me. I preferred the smaller items over the mains. It depends what is being served as items change daily. But there are standouts, like the potatoes dauphine, OMG, the bitesize Cubano sandwich with melted cheese and ham and a perfect thin-sliced dill pickle on top. The stuffed peppers were also a winner. For dessert, the macerated cantaloupe was just okay, but the warm dusted madeleines, with organic honey were the perfect bite. Much better than the ones they serve at DBar or Cafe Boulud.

The chef uses small farms and fisheries, smokers and artisanal cheesemakers. Open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturday.

There is lots of hype about this new spot and we are happy to welcome this newcomer to Toronto.

Happy dining,
Shanea

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