The Gist: The upscale bistro is one of the best looking spots in the city. Complete with main dining room, bar, open kitchen and private dining area, the hotel-like vibe is not often found in a restaurant. Especially not one on Queen West near Ossington.
Grub: Seasonal ingredients are used to create a modern, globally inspired menu. Carbonara Raviolo ($14) is a modernist deconstruction of the classic dish with bacon, cremini, whipped porcini egg white, crispy basil, pecorino cheese, filled with roasted garlic mascarpone. And Entice Fried Chicken EFC ($23), served with warm potato salad, creamy coleslaw, mango jerk sauce, features boneless chicken, completely transforming the dish to elegant comfort food.
Brunch too offers a twist on the usual fare with selections of sweet and savoury - French Toast Rolls ($15), Mussel Frites ($15), and Butternut Squash Rosti Minis ($15).
Libations: In addition to a host of red and white wines, prosecco and champagne, there are cocktails (Mai Tai $15, Gateway to OT $18, and Arnold Palmer $12) as well as molecular cocktails such as the Cucumber Granita ($18) with Vodka or Gin, cucumber water, black pepper syrup, lemon juice, and liquid nitrogen.
Fixtures & Fittings: Owner Ali Kaabi (known as Ali K.) born in Iran, has traveled around the world, finding inspiration for his luxe setting in many places across the globe. He spotted lights in a showcase in Holland, and got Lightform in Niagara to order them. The sumptuous chairs are from Italy. The wallpaper is from Belgium and has a gold shape similar to the restaurant’s logo. The cutlery and plate ware are from France.
The bar with TV screen built right into the bar top was Ali’s way to make the experience interactive. The glass-walled open-concept kitchen was so that “guests can see what’s going on. It’s more entertaining.”
Even the bathroom is spectacular. The tiles are from Italy, the toilet is tres fancy duravit (universal washroom) and neometro (stainless steel toilet) and hands-free (the restroom downstairs features a black stainless steel toilet), and even the music played in the room is difference from the rest of the establishment. Soothing, relaxing, plinking sounds make a trip to the loo an oasis.
And that bronze hand sculpture that stretches out from the front door? The initial greeting and handshake comes courtesy of a mold done of Ali’s hand. It took two hours to make the mold and two week to create the bronze and patina.
Off the Menu:
Summer vibes come in strong with the Strawberry Rhubarb Salad ($12) with candied walnuts, buffalo ricotta, arugula, frisee, and edible flowers.
Spicy Vegan Black Bean & Corn Fritters ($12) with tomatillo dip will get your pulse racing.
Pasta doesn’t have to mean heavy, as illustrated by the Linguini Vongole ($25) with clams, picked herbs, crushed fresh chili sauce, white wine and clam sauce.
A tender fillet of Sea Bream ($27) is served with roasted broccolini & mushrooms, spiralized zucchini and beets, wilted bitter greens, tarragon white wine sauce. Along its side, a fascinating monogrammed lemon squeezer (that looks like a fancy tape dispenser) that allows you to draw out real lemon juice without having to get your hands wet.
A healthy dinner choice, grilled Lamb T-Bones ($28), served with roasted cipollini, roasted bitter melon (not often seen on menus and as bitter as it sounds), curry leaves, and cauliflower "couscous."
For dessert, Tres Leche Waffles ($11) are served warm under glass. In addition to Mexican chocolate wafer and strawberries, whipped cream gets poured over the waffles, making it the perfect, if slightly indulgent (they are mini sized), finish to your meal.
How Cool is This?! Entice is one of the few select placed where you can try Louis XIII by Remy Martin. Each decanted takes four generations of cellar masters over a hundred years to craft. It will cost you. Big time. ½ oz $89, 1 oz. $179, 2 oz. $359, bottle $5,200.
At the Stove: Ryan Wilson-Lall
FOH: Assistant Manager Jessica Krecisz
Head Honcho: Ali Kaabi
Deets: Open for dinner as well as brunch on weekends with daily specials available. A private dining room accommodates up to 10 guests.
Visiting Hours: Dinner: Tues to Sat5:30pm - 12am
Brunch: Sat & Sun 10:30am - 3pm
Map It: 1036 Queen St. W. (near Ossington)
Phone It In: (416) 368-4231