Just before TIFF, America Restaurant opened in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, halfway up the Trump Hotel Toronto on the 31st floor. Formerly Stock Restaurant, it was reborn through the partnership of INK Entertainment and Oliver & Bonancini Restaurants, undergoing a complete transformation in less than two weeks. On Thursday, November 6th, we were invited to discover the tastes that America had to offer.
The menu, presented to us by Chef de Cuisine Bill Osborne, takes us across the United States. From Hawaii, there was the Ahi Tuna Poke Cocktail, with pineapple, macadamia nuts, coffee, and coconut. The coffee in particular provided an unexpected flavour that worked well with the freshness of the tuna and pineapple. From the northeast there were oysters, and the Cream of Chicken and Lobster Chowder. The chowder was delicious, and surprisingly not heavy like most chowders I’ve tried, and oyster crackers provided a nice crunch.
Frogs sourced from the Florida Everglades were used in the Crispy Frog Cobb Salad. It was unlike any Cobb Salad I’ve had previously. While it had some traditional ingredients like eggs and avocado, the cactus and frog are not components you’d normally find. Other appetizers include the Foie Gras Flapjacks and the AAA Steak Tartare. I can guarantee you’ve never had pancakes like these – where else can you find buckwheat flapjacks with foie gras, then topped with peanut marzipan and peach caramel? This was pure, luxurious eating.
Thankfully, despite the richness of some of the ingredients, the appetizers overall were actually quite light, which is a good thing, as there were mains still to come. From the heartland of America, there was the Roasted Grain-Fed Chicken. This was very juicy, and the Mexican truffle and gravy provided a lot of flavour. There was also the St-Canut Pork Loin & Porchetta, with apple cheddar spatzle, collard choucroute, and smoked bourbon butter. It was a classic combination of ingredients, and it did not disappoint. Both of these are large format dishes, and they literally came on large silver platters, meant to encourage social dining.
Other mains include the Squid Ink Chitarra and the Lobster Rockefeller. I enjoyed the chitarra pasta quite a lot – the black garlic gave the sauce boldness, and the squid ink gave the pasta its dark colors. It was very beautifully and precisely presented; an absolute masterclass example of plating. The Lobster Rockefeller was also delicious – the crisp Idaho puffs contrasted nicely with the creamy steakhouse spinach and philly cheese dip.
Finally, from the deep south there was the Roasted Scallop Jambalaya and the Beef Shin BBQ. This jambalaya was a twist on the classic, with foie gras instead of chicken, and octopus and scallop instead of shrimp. The octopus could have been a little more tender, but the rest of it was perfectly cooked. The seasoning was spot on, providing just enough heat. The Beef Shin BBQ was definitely the showstopper of the night. Chef Osborne came out with the entire beef shin still on the bone (top image), which was a sight to behold. He then took it to the back to prepare it for the table, coming back with a dish with macaroni and cheese, and some heirloom carrots.
We were incredibly full at this point, but there was dessert still to come, and with a name like All-American Dessert Bonanza, who can resist? The dessert was a collection of fine chocolates, clusters, barks, and sweets, playfully served on a mirror platter. I found myself scanning several times just to make sure I had tried everything that was available. Along with our meal, we also sampled three different wines from their extensive menu, thoughtfully chosen by our sommelier to pair with the particular courses they were served. We also tried a handful of delicious cocktails.
Our tasting at America Restaurant took us through an enjoyable journey through American cuisine. We were presented with American classic dishes with exciting modern twists. Every course had luxury and grandeur written all over it, befitting of the Trump name. With meticulously prepared, delicious dishes and exemplary service to match, America Restaurant is a great new addition to Toronto’s fine dining scene.
America Restaurant is located at 325 Bay St., just south of Adelaide St. West, on the 31st floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto. It is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night eats. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are “After Dark” nights with bottle service and a live DJ. Full hours can be found on the official website.
All photos by John Tan except where indicated.
Also check out the opening event at America Restaurant.