It has been said—possibly by a beer commercial—that Toronto has two seasons: “winter and patio.” That may be a little oversimplified, but Torontonians are famously reticent to eat or drink indoors if it remains clement enough outside to snag oneself a seat on a terrace. The wrap of TIFF festivities, and the migration of stars from our streets back to fairer climes, usually heralds the last few days when one can enjoy a beverage in the sun without the benefits of a scarf or some fashionable gloves. It is also when some of the more well-heated dining rooms gear up for the hectic stretch between now and Christmas, as many Torontonians also like to deal with lower temperatures through gastronomic distraction.
Although perfectionist Susur Lee probably doesn’t have too much to fear, at least from the whims of the market, a number of new and refurbished rooms are going to be vying for a portion of the action during this, the city’s second season. If you want something to talk about with your foodie friends, or with those who get off on truly expansive visions of design, here’s a trio of establishments that are sporting a large amount buzz, and some very decorous pedigree:
The all-new Sassafraz recently held its soft-open for friends and family of the restaurant’s key holders, and could be unlocking its doors to general the public as soon as today. The multimillion-dollar renovation is essentially an entirely new building, so anyone looking to see (and be seen by) the Yorkville set should square their shoulders and muscle into what will undoubtedly be a cheerful zoo as new staff and new customers battle for supremacy.
Down the street at the Hazelton Hotel, Mark McEwan’s One has only just opened its doors, and joins the ranks of absurdly lavish dining rooms occupying the lower levels of rent-a-room establishments. The price point is what one could expect from the creator of North ˚44, but from initial accounts, lives up to the Toronto native’s legacy.
However, if you really want to impress the tony gang of fashionable yobbos that your uncle runs with, and they’ve offered to pay, there’s a new destination for the carnivore in town, poised to open its doors on September 25. Jacobs & Co. promises that it’s not your father’s steakhouse; for both those with money to burn, and those who like to pretend that they have money to burn, the swank, polished atmosphere aims to provide a magnificent backdrop for the consumption of large portions of red meat and bottles of cabernet. Just how swank and how polished remains to be seen, but some of the best minds and wallets on King Street have had a hand in its genesis. Think Hy’s with a more fashionable, modern kick.
Mind you, those without a tax return to squander may just want to pop into Terroni.
Photo by Big Fat Rat.