Gourmand Gourmet

Update: March 9, 2010 – it appears the Le Gourmand LG3, as reviewed below is now closed, as explained by Toronto Life.


My last post about our tasting adventures in Toronto ended with a mention of Le Gourmand.

Le Gourmand (LG3)

2177 Yonge Street (near Eglinton)
Toronto, ON
Phone number not listed for this location, but follow them on twitter

Date of visit: June 2, 2009

Restaurant

On the way back from Quince, we happened to glance across the street and saw the sign for Le Gourmand, which looked like an expensive steakhouse. When we peered through the glass window, we realized that it felt more like a gourmet, European-style cafe. After taking a look at the menu that’s posted on the side of the glass door and realized it was within our budget and that the menu (PDF) looked appetizing enough, we tentatively decided on this place for the following night. Grace went home to do some research online, but came up with limited information since it is relatively new. We both knew that every time a fresh batch of cookies came out of the oven, they would tweet it. With a restaurant that’s keeps up with the times (BlackBerry + twitter) and the rave reviews of their nookie cookies, how could we pass up the chance?

Inside, it looks like a deli cafe, where you can order at the counter (to go) or they serve you at your table. The place isn’t big so the seating arrangement is somewhat tight, but there’s a lot of natural light that comes in through the windows, which is supplemented by candles when it gets darker out. I just hope the ant that was (and he is no more) crawling on the window sill was just a one-time occurrence.

Meal choice, food quality

Grace ordered the Charcuterie mix platter ($18), which is really just a very expensive tray of smoked gourmet cold cuts that you don’t normally see anywhere else. This is paired with some bread crackers, which are slightly crisper than the bread they also serve before your meal. I don’t think I’d order it on its own, but to share it with my Mint Tagliatelle (braise lamb with mint pasta for $19), it was perfect. Actually, it would’ve been good with wine, but that wasn’t in our budget.

Some of the smoked meats were more salty than anything, but the speck, which the server highly recommended was indeed very tasty (not that he had to try very hard to convince us of anything). The mint tagliatelle was a broad pasta dish that had mint herbs inside the pasta, which gave it a great texture, making the noodles seem handcut. Normally, I don’t like ordering pasta because I feel that it’s something I can make at home or that it’s really inexpensive to buy, but the herbs and lamb with the pine nuts were a nice touch, and the tomatoes were really sweet; everything just went together very well. I only wished that it was served hotter instead of being lukewarm.

We ended our meal by sharing a berry consomme for dessert ($7) – the iced lemongrass with yogurt and fresh berries (and edible flower petals too) – also recommended by our server. We wanted something light, and we certainly got that. I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted so good, with the ingredients that looked so (inexpensive and) easy to make. And, we ended dessert with the $1 nookie cookies, a tiny little chocolate cookie that is loaded with an umfph – tastes like you bit into a brownie that melts in your mouth. Definitely for those who like sweets, but not really for me.

Service

When the server wasn’t always around to serve us, another staff would be available for our table. The server, David, obviously is well-known in the neighbourhood, as he would walk outside and wave to the people across the street (further research online suggests that maybe he is the manager). He took the time to describe the stuff on the platter and made some pretty good recommendations. I found it a little unconventional that one would wear a hat inside, but maybe it was because it was the beginning of the shift as that was later removed (we came before dinner started). Grace and I thought that he reminded us of a mutual acquaintance we know (Nate T), which got us wondering how he was doing…

Conclusion

I would make a second visit if I’m ever in this area again but not necessarily as a regular, if only for the pasta alone.

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