It doesn’t get more opulent than steak dinner in a castle.
Add to that, Warhol and Mr. Brainwash prints, an extensive wine list with bottles topping out at $12K, and dazzling dining rooms (there’s three) where everything is jaw-dropping, Liberty Group’s 15th property is its most exquisite.
This modern twist on the classic steakhouse is an experience not-to-be-missed.
Naturally the focus here is steak – various cuts of the finest beef from across the globe – but an array of fresh seafood selections, including sea bass, tuna and salmon, appetizers, salad sides, and desserts, are just as noteworthy.
The very selective list of purveyors includes Canadian and U.S. beef, as well as wagyu from Japan and Australia. An exciting feature is the Wagyu Filet Tasting ($250), which allows you the extraordinary and rare opportunity to compare flavours and textures of three types (4 oz. each): American Mishima Reserve, Australian MB9+, and Kagoshima, A5, from Japan.
But don’t feel you have to go big or go home to get a taste of intensely marbled beef – dig into the Wagyu Steakburger ($38) served on a brioche bun with “castle” fries.
For the full steakhouse experience, don’t miss the Table-Side Classic Caesar Salad ($20) and Seafood Tower ($85 for 2/$160 for 4) of king crab, lobster, jumbo prawns, oysters and salmon crudo.
Dishes are à la carte, so you can order mains and a variety of sides to share as well as customize the meal for you and your guests.
Oliver Stern (Toronto Temperance Society, Bar Begonia) leads the mixology program here, with an extensive range of whisky, scotch and tequila, and carefully crafted cocktails – signature house sippers as well as classics.
The King Louis will set you back a cool $500, thanks to its baller components of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Grande Champagne Cognac, Balvenie 30yr and aromatic bitters. But don’t let that scare you off. Most cocktails run $16 to $22 and the staff is eager to create something entrancing to match the food, decor and service.
The oldest cellar in Toronto has 2,500 international bottles with over $1 million worth in the cellar alone, so have at it.
The tome-length wine list features “a lot of premium back vintages and really notable producers from all regions,” says Sommelier Natalie Pope, and is accessed via tablet.
And in case you’re thinking everything is from elsewhere, Pope has a soft spot for our local vino. “I’m a big fan of Ontario wines,” she says. “I think it’s important we have a good representation.” And she assures they come with “really approachable price pints.”
Fixtures and Fittings
“We tried to preserve the heritage site as best we can,” Nick Di Donato, President + CEO, Liberty Entertainment Group says. Respecting the tradition while influencing with a modern edge, the original billiards room in the Gothic Revival style house of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt was relieved of its table and chandelier, and giving a most upscale reimagining by Liberty Group’s VP and Creator Director, Nadia Di Donato, Nick’s wife. “This was an opportunity to pay homage to its heritage and play with the design,” he says.
Thus, the imposing moose head set grandly over the bar. “Henry,” as he’s known, is a nod to the original moose that was famously auctioned in 1924. The auction has been captured on mirror and set behind the bar. And Sir Pellatt’s own knives and other silverware from the castle are on display near the raw seafood bar.
The striking antler chandelier was custom made. “It gives the feel for a steakhouse,” Di Donato says. The Oak Room also imbues that ambience featuring all original oak paneling, restored and renewed.
The artwork was curated over three years and not to name drop, but includes modern pieces with intense colours by Andy Warhol (hint: the only two Canadians he ever painted), Salvador Dali, and commissioned works by Mr. Brainwash.
The setting is simply breathtaking. Even the water glasses are stunning.
“We believe that a restaurant is about the complete experience,” Di Donato says
Off the Menu
Down By The Bay ($16)
A bright, refreshing composition of Ketel One Vodka, Aperol, watermelon shrub, soda and lemon juice.
Royal Sour ($20)
A frothy delight that delivers the perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter by way of Tanqueray Gin, Campari, raspberry, lemon, egg white and aromatic bitters.
House-made sourdough and lavash with house-made butter – today: Tandoori (complimentary)
Conundrum: you seriously can’t fill up on bread before a meal like this but how does one not scarf down this delectable bread and silky rosette of butter that transports you to the Indian subcontinent.
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($32)
Thinly sliced Wagyu gets a garnish of olive oil and maldon salt. Then, truffle crumb, pickled enoki mushrooms, charred honey mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds and garlic chips are layered on top, finished with fresh parsley and lemon zest.
You experience the richness of the Wagyu, but thanks to the delicate depth of each slice, it never overwhelms or cloys. And despite the long list of ingredients above, the garnishes don’t detract, but instead elevate the dish to close-your-eyes-and-try-to-remember-this-always majestic.
Big Eye Tuna Tartare($26)
Diced to size daily and mixed with a signature sesame soy sauce, this fresh, clean tuna is going places. But not quite yet. First, avocado and avocado puree are plated using a ring mold. Topped with the tuna, then yuzu compressed watermelon, the dish is finished with furikaki and puffed amaranth. Served with black sesame rice crackers, the juxtaposition of bright flavours and sumptuous textures will have you ooh-ingand ahh-ing from start to finish.
40oz Porterhouse, Highriver Alberta ($200)
This sounds like a lot of meat. It is. It sounds pricey too. It is, but keep in mind it’s a ton of meat. That, and it’s obviously meant to be shared, so split between four people, it suddenly isn’t so out of reach.
The Canadian beef is brought to room temperature and then lightly seasoned to order. Grilled in the charbroiler to the desired temperature and set to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, before flashed and served according to the guest’s preference (sliced or whole), accompanied by a selection of house salts – Spanish black lava, smoked Maldon and pink Himalayan.
Rich, buttery meat with a great char and smoke imparts a subtle grassy mineralness that captivates with every bite.
Polenta Squares ($14)
Cheesy cornmeal is cut into bite-sized squares, fried in cornstarch, hit with togarashi, parmesan and lemon zest, and served with a charred jalapeño aioli, beating out any other option for best side dish.
The dining room accommodates 140 guests. A patio will be added in 2018.
Note: Valet parking is available.
At the Stove: Meagan Andrews, Chef de Cuisine; Eddie Chung, Chef de Grille; Michael Ewing, Corporate Executive Chef & Vice President Operations
Head Honcho: Nick Di Donato, President + CEO, Liberty Entertainment Group
FOH: Derek Grandpre, General Manager
Map it: Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace)
Sunday to Wednesday: 5 pm – 12 am (kitchen closes at 11 pm)
Thursday to Saturday: 5 pm – 1 am (kitchen closes at 11 pm)
Phone it in: 416-353-4647
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