Thursday, November 4, 2010


Truffles truffles truffles. There is truffle madness at Frank's Kitchen, and as a serious truffle fan and advocate, I could not have been more pleased when I sat down to find truffles scattered all over the menu! Last night my bestie Kate and I went to try out Frank’s Kitchen. After reading Joanne Kates’ review in The Globe and Mail (a fabulous one, which are RARELY handed out) I knew this place would be worth trying. Located at College and Bathurst, Frank’s Kitchen has become a new must-try restaurant for Toronto. Reviews of this place are pouring in and reservations are clearly a must. I called last Monday to make a reservation for the following week – but I was greeted by a message machine informing me that they had no reservations left for the week – popular! 

So now to the most important part – the food! I’m always nervous when I have high expectations of a place that it will disappoint, but let me tell you, Frank’s Kitchen did not. Run and owned by Frank Parhizgar (formerly Head Chef of Centro working for 4 years under Bruce Woods and Mark Thuet's Head Chef), you know you are walking into good quality just knowing his background and appreciation for food. When we first sat down the first plate that arrived at our table was a trio of delicious in-house made breads. One was a focaccia type with herbs and a cherry tomato, one was a mini-brioche with a little bit of a glaze to it, and the third was just a fresh white bread twist. They were paired with two spreads – one was a green olive spread and the second was a roasted tomato. The green olive spread was such a perfect accompaniment to the breads – not as strong as a typical black olive tapenade, but executed so extremely well. The breads however were delicious on their own, and did not even need a spread to enjoy them. During our bread tastings we were brought a duo amuse bouche. The first spoon was a little fried goat cheese ball with a refreshing sort of gazpacho like salsa and then there was a shot glass of a warm leek & potato velouté drizzled with truffle oil. When I tried that soup – I had died and gone to truffle heaven. I am usually not even one for goat cheese, but this little mild cheese ball with a crisp light salsa was just the wonderful start to a culinary adventure.

I think Kate and I probably sat there for half an hour devouring the menu wondering how we could possibly choose from the amazing selection of starters and mains available. All the pasta is fresh made each day by Frank and you can tell how the menu is inspired by many seasonal yet Italian ingredients. For starters Kate had a simple salad of arugula, parmesan, fig and mortadella in a fresh lemon vinaigrette. Can you think of anything more delightful in a starter salad? The minute our waiter said one of their features was beef carpaccio I was sold – and then I was even more sold when I saw that it had fresh shaved truffles on top and the green beans were in a truffle vinaigrette. I think this was probably one of the best beef carpaccio’s I have ever had – and I am a serious carpaccio fan, I generally have it when it’s on a menu. The beef was lovely and thin, then layered with a generous piece of fois gras and to top it off French cut beans and frisée in a truffle vinaigrette. Oh and how could I forget the shaved truffle all over the dish. My mouth was watering before I even took a bite!

Prior to our mains being served, we were brought another cute spoon of lemon sorbet as a palette cleanser. The little sorbet ball was tiny, however so flavourful and refreshing and such a nice change as most places rarely serve a cleanser course. It’s those extra “treats” on the house that make a dining experience just that much richer and more appreciated. I would much rather go to a place like Frank’s Kitchen where I am getting not only delicious food but the little extras that are so wonderful I would probably order as a full size portion if I could!

The mains then arrived, two very different plates and very different from out starter courses. I have to admit, I did like my starter more, but my main course was an adventure it itself. Joanne Kates’ had raved about the lobster, and I rarely order fish at a restaurant so I decided to just go for it! My dish was served in a large soup type bowl. The bottom had the wilted spinach, then there was braised fennel, then there were a few homemade spinach ravioli THEN it was topped with a whole (pre shelled) lobster. On top of the lobster was some frisée and then a few vegetables, some cauliflower and I honestly don’t even remember the other veg, but I know they were great. The whole dish was swimming in a buttery lemon broth. It was honestly like nothing I have really ever ate! The dish was just so complex and layered with so many different flavours, your mouth just didn’t know where to go next! Kate had the butternut squash risotto with a full leg of duck. She loved the duck; however her one complaint was that the squash flavour was not as present as she thought it would be so the title of the dish was a bit misleading.

We topped off our evening splitting a peach tarte tatin, which has got to be a house specialty. An upside down tarte tatin, with fresh peaches (which are a nice change to the typical winter dishes with apple or pear) and a salty sweet caramel sauce. MMMM I cannot even explain to you how delicious this dessert was, served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and a thin layer of tart pastry, it was wondrous.

Now that I have exhausted your from this ridiculously long post, I hope it will inspire your taste buds to get on over and check out Frank’s Kitchen. It is easily affordable if you are looking for a nice dinner, and they have a range of wines (and wine prices) so there is something for everyone! Well done Frank’s Kitchen, and thank you for a truly new and complex night of food. It was wonderful! 

Will you try out FRANK'S KITCHEN?! 

photo credit: my own& franks kitchen twitter

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