The Black Hoof Toronto Reviews
Amazing fine dining with a casual vibe May 22, 2011
My beau and I arrived at around 7:30pm on a Sunday night to a packed restaurant. The hostess was helpful - they take down your name and number and suggest one of the bars on the strip to wait in if a table isn't available immediately. She recommended a few establishments in the same block as The Black Hoof, and warned us against the house wine at The Press Club.
They do not take reservations.
True to her word, half an hour later my phone rang and the hostess let us know that a table had opened up.
The restaurant is small and cozy, though well-lit and with trendy fittings. An extensive liquor showing behind the bar. The drink menu is written on a large mirror behind the bar, and the food menu on a chalkboard mounted at the back of the main room. There is a patio out back.
The website states that the mood is boisterous and casual, which is spot on. No need to dress up - although if you show up in something a little more semi formal you won't stick out.
The kitchen is open concept, so that at any seat in the place you can still see the cooks working away. Instead of a gas range, they had a four-burner electric stove; something like what homes are outfitted with.
The menu is meat-centric.. and while you think that might mean a side dish of veggies, you're wrong. If you are anything close to a vegetarian this is not the place for you. It's not a typical meat menu, however. Prepare to try some very interesting meat prepared in very interesting ways.
The smoked beef tartare was perfect - served with crostini and a shaving of fresh horseradish.
The beef heart and scallops was absolutely divine - scallops cooked perfectly, and the few pieces of cauliflower sprinkled on the plate blew my mind (I think they used smoked paprika and cayenne).
The foie gras with pistachio and rhubarb was orgasmic - once again, perfectly done, perfectly plated, perfect flavour combination.
Every dish that we saw served looked amazing, smelled amazing... and frankly I wish I could have tried almost everything on the menu. I'll be going back to try the N'duja with brussel crostini and the duck liver mousse, and definitely for the charcuterie plate.
Prices run from $6 to $24 for menu items. The dishes are smaller than normal (by North American standards) although if your appetite is average, you won't leave wanting. Two people can split an app and 2 mains easily.
Everything is made in house, from the charcuterie to the drink garnishes.
The Black Hoof has come up with some signature cocktails.. and some twists on classics. Their Manhattan was the best I've ever tried, and their "ghostly negroni" was the only cocktail I've seen in Toronto with absinthe. The bartenders are true mixologists and put great care into every drink that is made.
Definitely a place you could go to just for drinks. We sat at the bar and the service was still excellent and attentive, and it was obvious that the bartenders have a passion for what they're doing.
Drinks seem pricey, however most cocktails are anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 oz of liquor. Drinks run from $10 to $16.
They serve beer as well and have a great wine list. They also give you a pick from the "bin ends"; bottles of wine that they aren't serving anymore and offer at a reduced price.
Overall: amazing service, amazing drinks, amazing food. Meticulous attention to detail with the plating of dishes and serving of drinks. Look at spending at least $75 a head if you're drinking with your meal. Expect fine dining with a casual atmosphere.
There is good reason that The Black Hoof has been the most talked about restaurant in Toronto for the past year. A hit among many top Toronto chefs.
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