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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

[Toronot] Marquis Lounge and Bistro

Location Review:
92 Peter Street
Toronto, Ontario
(Major intersection: Adelaide St. W and Spadina Ave)

Not too long ago, my company held an employee appreciation event offering some discount tickets and vouchers to certain attractions and restaurants. I ended up picking one up for Marquis Lounge and Bistro for $10 which came with four 50% off dine in vouchers. The restaurant is actually located on the 2nd floor of a Hilton hotel. Walking into the restaurant you will notice
all the empty buffet serving tables. I immediately made the connection that this is probably where they provide continental breakfasts to hotel guests in the morning, and they just use the same dining room to serve dinner at night. Walking past these buffet tables is a small dining area where we were seated next to a perimeter window. It was fairly empty even on a friday night, with only 2 dine-in tables, and several take out orders. Despite that, it took forever to get any service from the two waitresses who were serving that night.

The menu is not too complicated, but had some interesting naming conventions. There is one dish per meat category, several pastas, and a handful of appetizers. We basically chose our dishes based on which animal we wanted to eat that night.

Pre-Dinner Bread
Standard loaf of bread that came before our meal. The loaf was dangerously hot and I probably burnt my finger picking it up. It went well with the butter which tasted like it was spiced with some onion and other herbs. The main courses took so long to arrive that I was tempted to eat the whole loaf!

"British Columbia Crab Cakes" ($12.95) - Two home-made crab cakes served with a cilantro mint salsa
I normally don't like cilantro, but found that these crab cakes were pretty tasty with the cilantro mayo on top. They could have been fried a little crispier on the outside, but generally tasted quite good and was well presented. We actually found a tiny crab shell in one of these 'homemade' cakes!

"O Canada" ($24.95)- Ontario Frenched Rack of pork with a Blackcurrant Chutney served over Baby Bok choy, Japanese Eggplant and Sweet Potato

I have to admit I was sold on ordering this because of the blackcurrant chutney and not the pork. But I'm really glad I did order this because I really enjoyed it! The pork had a nice barbecue taste to it, almost as if you grilled it in your own backyard. The edges were crispy, and the centre was juicy. It was a bit drier moving away from the centre, but the blackcurrant chutney really compensated with that. The mash sweet potatoes, blackberry chutney and grilled eggplant were all very very good compliments and it almost reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner! Perhaps that's why I liked this dish so much -I mean, who doesn't like Thanksgiving dinner?

"A Taste of the Ocean" ($20.95) -Mixed seafood in a dill rose sauce tossed in bowtie pasta

When the pasta first arrived, it didn't seem like it had too much "taste of the ocean". It looked like it was just a huge plate of sauce and pasta. But once we dug into it a bit, we uncovered that settled at the bottom was a generous portion of shelled mussels and calamari! But like most other pasta dishes I try, I didn't feel there was anything really noteworthy about it. Nothing terrible nor exceptionally good.

"An Ontario Outing" ($32.95) -12oz of Certified Ontario Strip Steak Served with Grilled tomato, Sauteed Mushrooms, Garlic Spinach and a Herb Peppercorn Sauce

In the photograph and in person, this piece of steak definitely looked more than 12 ounces. No complaints though, because Curtis who ordered this has a pretty large appetite! It was cooked well to the medium rare request, but overall was not the greatest cut of meat. Some parts of the steak were very tough to cut and chew! The seasoning was flavourful and hinged more on the sweeter side (which is generally how I like most my food). I also really liked the grilled tomato, smokey and juicy.

At the end of the meal I wanted to order a creme brulee, but found it difficult to consume any more food- I was stuffed! Overall I found it to be a mediocre experience, and I'm apathetic about whether I would eat here again. Maybe if I was in the area, but the food and venue is not something I would crave and go out of my way to seek out; especially if I didn't have those vouchers.

Marquis Lounge and Bistro on Urbanspoon

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