Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district at 100 Yonge Street in Toronto, is a new restaurant called Cru. Previously it was Llbs.
Predominantly a restaurant for the “suit” crowd, buzzing with business people at lunch and the after-work crowd. For the rest of us navigating traffic and one-way streets and difficult parking, it is not as accessible. But I was intrigued by Chef Jon Williams who previously worked at Richmond Station, and in London for Michelin Star restaurants including the famous Heston Blumenthal.
I was dropped off while my husband went in search of parking.
The room to the left with a large bar seating 32, as well as some dining tables, was loud, with the music blaring. The room is dark and dimly lit. The curtains are drawn so you can’t see Yonge Street outside. They were kind enough to move our seats to the other side of the room where we could actually hear ourselves talk. This room seats around 60 people. The space is smartly done with marble tabletops, light marble tile floors, and blue and grey leather banquets. The ceilings are high, and the room has several painted murals by Polish artist Pawel Swanski. There is a glassed-in, open kitchen, that is difficult to see into as the glass was tinted quite dark.
The menu is divided into “To Share, Starters, Mains, Sides and Salads”. There are also two tasting menus of 5 or 7 courses. We opted for an a la carte experience.
We started with some sourdough bread with whipped brown butter. The bread is good, but the butter deserves special mention. I’ve had something similar at a Latin restaurant in Miami. The burrata, on the other hand, sounded better than it tasted. Served with dates, honey, and za’atar, it tasted medicinal for some reason. The caviar donuts are good, but the name donuts is misleading. In fact, they tasted like miniature biscuits, with a cream fraiche glaze, radish, and chives. They were nice popables to go with our cocktails. The farro risotto with grilled mushrooms, black garlic, and soy nuts is Instagram worthy, but way too heavy on the salt, as were my scallops with spaghetti squash, and Brussels in an XO sauce. Pity, because otherwise, it had all the right elements. The attic char with delicious roasted sweet potatoes and charred green onions in a chimichurri fared better, but also could have reduced its salt, even though we mentioned to the server no added salt on anything. But this probably meant that everything was pre-prepped and was not cooked a la minute.
The wine list is very impressive and extensive, with fine selections from all over the globe. I only wished they had more selections by the glass. They also offer a large beer selection, ciders, sakes, and some non-alcoholic beverages as well. There are a handful of craft cocktails. I had a Regards Kyoto cocktail with saké, mint, and lavender.
For dessert, we tried a “Millionaire’s” chocolate tart, filled with caramel and topped with gold leaf and with a hazelnut ice cream. Everything is made in-house from the bread to the desserts.
The service is highly personal for such a “corporate” type restaurant. We were impressed with every staff member we met.
They are calling the menu contemporary Canadian cuisine, but I would call the creative dishes more global. The restaurant has potential, but they need to turn down the music, warm up the atmosphere, reduce the salt, and continue with the gracious service.
I suggest taking an Uber if you consider coming here for lunch or dinner. Lunch is served Monday to Friday, and dinner, Monday to Saturday.