I was so happy to get a last minute table. We ordered the mystery tasting menu with a short flight of wine (3 glasses). A tasting menu should be a chance for the chef to she what they are made of, not a vehicle to clean out the pantry. This was the latter. We were told that the chef had access to a 700 lb bluefin tuna line caught off the Gaspe... I think we are 100 lbs of it that night. Four of seven courses were sea food. First course was urchin based. It was a good, not a great start...little did we know it was downhill from there. Second course was three kinds of tuna presented "messy style" in my view. Things everywhere on the plate, no order, no symmetry, no art. Okay fine the tuna was okay. Next the confit of trout...superb tasting, but again...presented in a mess of bits and pieces that detracted from the great food.
Who is designing these plates? Monkeys? Five year olds? It was a terrible visual spectacle.
Next course...TUNA...seared, boring tuna with stuff everywhere. Ate about 1/4 of it, it was stringy, seasonless seared tuna part deux. It came with tiny bits of very tasty smoked sturgeon.
Next course, pigeon. Bland, limp skinned pigeon....with more unnecessary stuff around it. Ate about half of it.
Next came cheese, all from one farm, sheep cheeses soft, semi soft and hard. It came surrounded with tomato things...I can't otherwise describe this plate...tomato sorbet which was inedibly bad, tomato gelee that overpowered any of the cheeses no matter how little you took,tomato powder...who knows. None of it worked. We hardly ate any of it.
Desert course...OLIVES?!? Candied olives, olive oil on a quarter of a poached pear. Long pepper sorbet? A savory desert, it just didn't work.
Two of the three wines worked okay, the one red of the night, I forget the varietal and the country, made the pigeon worse not better. Super tannic, no depth. Drank about half.
I also despise chefs who create a tasting menu which consists in any way of off the menu items. Chef: if I wanted to order off the menu I would have. This tells me one thing, the menu is lazy or uninspired.
The servers did a good job of explaining the dishes but never once in seven courses asked us what we thought when we finished, even with half finished dishes taken away.
The service was ill timed with huge delays to no delay. No pacing whatsoever. I can't recall a worse tasting menu and I've had many. I usually say something in such extreme cases, but I was angry, tired and hungry at $325 before tip and only one of us drinking. The one red I had was $34 for a small pour. Complete rip off.
This place, as the hotel staff suggested when I returned, is past it's best before date. Would never go back. I have always considered Toque a Canadian institution, but , alas, no more.
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