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I Went Walking Through the Garden… – Dandylion

June 10, 2015

Dandylion (1198 Queen St. W) is a wonderful example of a vegetable focused menu that really left its mark on me. I am generally all about fat, salt, sugar, and more fat, but I was struck by the light, simple, and flavourful dishes that the wonderful Jay Carter (of Centro and Susur Lee’s many endeavours) and his team created. This was another restaurant at the top of many best of lists (#2 Best New Restaurant – Toronto Life, #5 Now Magazine New and Notable) and at the top of my restaurant bucket list. The menu consists of a rotating three appetizers, mains, and desserts making it easy to try an assortment of dishes that are simple yet present each ingredient as if it were the star. Dandylion is a refreshingly bright note in the Toronto restaurant scene and a must try!

IMG_2652[1] Sourdough bread and fromage blanc (Complimentary): I am happy to see a restaurant that does not charge for bread, and baked in house at that! The fresh baked bread with a crusty exterior and soft chewy centre covered with the soft cheese was a great start to the meal.

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Asparagus, trout, fennel ($18): A dish that truly exemplifies the veggie-centric focus of Dandylion! The asparagus was perfectly cooked and fresh. Combining the trout, fennel, and asparagus in each bite was basically like biting into a garden!

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Pork terrine, mustard, green tomato ($16): One cannot go wrong with pork terrine! The fattiness and creaminess of the terrine with the crunch of celery and tomato made this dish both hearty and light. Making pork terrine into something I would classify as light is no easy feat. I loved the grainy mustard sauce to coat each bite. One of my favourites!

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 Cod, charred beans, bonito sauce ($24): So many delicious vegetables on one plate! Beans, zucchini, and romaine, oh my! The fish was tender and flaky with a crispy exterior that I loved. I sopped up that bonito sauce with every last ingredient left on the plate!

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Roast striploin, corn, shrimp butter ($28): I took a taste of this dish and the meat was so tender and juicy. Again this was a dish that could’ve been heavy but with the addition of the corn salad, felt very light.

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Yogurt sorbet, rhubarb, pink peppercorn ($9): Sweet, spicy, and again chock full of vegetables! One of the lightest yet most satisfying desserts I’ve had in a long time. The combination of rhubarb and sorbet worked very well together, and the flavours aligned with my love of a tart dessert. However, there was just enough sweetness to balance everything out.

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Chocolate cake, matcha, avocado ice cream ($10): This flourless chocolate cake was decadent without being too sweet and heavy which is tough to achieve! The matcha avocado ice cream was the perfect cold and creamy accompaniment again finding a great balance between dessert and something we commonly utilize as a vegetable (avocado).

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The Golden Rule: Beautiful atmosphere, attentive service, and light and refreshing food! Dandylion was a great example of the importance of vegetables and simple flavour combinations in a dish. I actually felt good leaving the restaurant despite tackling six of nine menu items. I would recommend going with a small group so you can try a healthy portion of the menu! A wonderful feature of Dandylion is that the menu changes constantly, so it is definitely an opportunity to go back and witness more of the kitchen’s creativity at work!

The Golden Scale: 8.5/10!

Twitter: @DandylionTO

Unofficial Instagram: penelopegale2014

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