If you've ever been set up on a blind date by an awfully convincing friend, then you'll have a faint taste of our Sassafraz experience. The infamous yellow Victorian house accurately claims to be "the heart of Yorkville" and is raved about by seemingly all of Toronto. Needless to say, we visited Sassafraz with our hopes held high.
All the decor is immaculately white and we fell in love with dining room: overlooked by a skylight with a vine-covered backdrop, complete with a waterfall. Sassafraz, like the imaginary guy in our blind date analogy, skyrockets off the aesthetics scale.
The menu consists of French-inspired Canadian cuisine and every dish is made with the freshest ingredients sourced from across the country. We started our meal with the Chowder ($12) and Terrine ($19), selected the Itsumo Tuna ($39) and P.E.I Flank Steak ($29) as our mains, and ended our meal with the Pineapple ($12) and Churros ($12). We also ordered a couple Winter's Punch ($6.95) to drink.
Our drinks arrived shortly after the bread (which was everything complimentary bread should be). They were made with fresh lemonade, cranberry, pineapple juice, ginger beer, and proved faithfully refreshing companions throughout the meal.
Winter's Punch ($6.95)
Bay scallop, conch, celeriac, and Siracha oil made up the Chowder and was topped with a vintage cheddar crouton. The flavours worked well together, combining perfectly with the soup's creamy and rich texture.
The Terrine was accompanied by a multitude of flavours – apricot glaze, confit cipollini onion, pickled grapes, and candied sage – and it was essential that each bite contained each element, a feat that was hard to achieve. Looking at our empty plate, we couldn't help but consider the dish Sassafraz's take on Spam.
The Itsumo Tuna was fresh as heck, served with tender purple potatoes, kumato tomatoes that were a little too soggy for our liking, Siracha emulsion, soy glaze, and edamame that tied the dish together perfectly.
Itsumo Tuna ($39)
Our PEI Flank Steak was made medium rare and topped with bordelaise sauce, but it was the seasoned potato wedges which stole the show. To be honest, we could have done without the meat (which wasn't the most tender) if we had an entire plate of those hauntingly delicious potatoes instead.
PEI Flank Steak ($29)
Our first dessert was Churros, Spanish donuts finished with cinnamon and sugar and served with chocolate chilli and cajeta. It's kind of hard to mess up Churros, and Sassafraz's was no exception. In fact, these would be indistinguishable in a lineup.
The second dessert we ordered was aptly named Pineapple, made with pineapple and ginger jelly, filled with cream cheese mousseline, and sitting in a river of strawberry and black pepper sauce. Emerging victoriously from the center were three thyme tuiles which we quickly devoured before seriously debating hunting down their recipe. You'll never be too full for this dessert.
As far as most blind dates go, our experience with Sassafraz was nothing to complain about, but when your bff is promising you that this is "the one" ... you might be in for a let down.