Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lobster & Chips at Toca in the Ritz Carlton Hotel

The Ritz Carlton Hotel is one of the oldest and most prestigious chains of high-end luxury hotels in the world, so getting one in Toronto elevates our status as a city.  That in itself seemed like a good enough reason to try its signature restaurant "Toca - by Tom Brodi".  So when we read about an item on their menu that was a fusion of two of my favourite foods - lobster, and fish and chips - it seemed like a special way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Our favourite way to eat lobster is simply to boil or steam it and then dip it in clarified butter.  Lobster does not need any other spice or flavouring to mask its natural sweet succulent taste.

We find that the Chinese style of cooking lobster which is to chop it up into pieces and then stir fry it with ingredients like green onion, ginger or garlic does just this.  You mainly taste the extra ingredients instead of the lobster itself.

At Toca, the "Fancy Fish and Chips" consisted of sizable chunks of beer battered lobster, frites sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and accompanied by spicy tartar sauce.  Unfortunately this sounded much better than it tasted as the batter overwhelmed the flavour of the lobster.  Again this confirmed that the tried and true method of eating lobster unadorned is still the best.  In addition, the fries were not very crispy and tasted a bit bland.

Despite the prestige and upscaleness of the Ritz and the rather pretentious name of "Toca - by Tom Brodi", we found the food only average for a high-end pricey restaurant.  Ready to be impressed, we admired the beautiful bread basket and butter, which we thought had the name TOCA colourfully etched into it.  It was a bit of a letdown to know that the "engraving" was just printing on a piece of wax paper.

Our salad appetizers - heirloom tomatoes, gouda cheese and greens with a pesto vinagrette, and BC prawns with romaine hearts, celery salt, bacon tuile and horseradish dressing were good, but nothing special.

I hate to be "putting down the Ritz", but it was a bit disappointing that this spectacular looking hotel did not have a more impressive restaurant.

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