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Restaurants

Chantecler

Posted by Ryan Spencer / Reviewed on April 12, 2012 / review policy

Chantecler TorontoChantecler has made quite the impression on the Parkdale restaurant scene. Located between Dufferin and Brock on Queen, it may not be as buzz-worthy as Grand Electric but prior to my arrival I had already heard numerous friends rave about the consomme and gnocchi. Named after the only Canadian heritage breed of chicken, Chantecler serves updated classic fare that incorporates Asian culinary influences.

Chantecler TorontoWith no reservations and a cozy dining room, we went early, but not early enough, as there still was a twenty minute wait, which has become a trend in this area (see the previously mentioned Grand Electric). The harvest wood tables and intricate tile work has a warm inviting feel, and the kitchen is wrapped along the perimeter of the dining room, which allows full view of the main event.

Gnocchi ChanteclerWhen a friend remarked that Chantecler's style was best described as Asian Fusion, I hesitated. It's a genre that's been around for quite awhile and is often poorly executed. My instincts were, however, proven wrong when I tried the Gnocchi ($13). Pillows of pureed potato cover an amazing cod and (béchamel?) sauce with a dusting of nori. These are harmonious flavours, but in a different tune that I've never tasted before. The nori, however subtle, adds an extra umami note, which sends the dish over the top.

Beef cheeks (lead photo) are enjoying a resurgence as of late, making appearances on several menus around town. Chantecler has followed suit with its take on meat and potatoes. A mash of parsley root, with bone marrow, is pooled below beet braised beef cheeks ($19). The parsley mash had a delicate, even a hint of green, taste with a firm consistency. The beets lent little by way of flavour, but dyed the beef a vibrant red. This is a good option for guests who want to steer clear of the surf and stick with the turf.

Chantecler TorontoConsomme is time consuming. It involves several stages in which any number of errors could render the dish terrible. It's often overlooked for that reason. Cookbooks often remark that a consomme should have a 'beaten clear' appearance to the broth. A play off pho, the consomme ($14) here is more satisfying than expected, with a broken yolk, smoked chicken and cilantro garnish. It certainly lives up to the hype I had heard about it.

Chantecler TorontoThe pacific cod ($19) is paired nicely with the king oyster mushrooms. The Bonito Butter sauce adds a mellow fumé flavour that unifies the dish. Fork tender yet flakey, the fish was cooked perfectly.

Overall, the menu can be a bit pricey, especially the wine list, but I'm not complaining. The dishes were all top notch and warranted their prices in terms of quality and refinement. More importantly, Chantecler offers something new — new flavours! It's always a treat to be challenged with something that's truly different. I look forward to getting a fork (or spoon) on what Chantecler has cooking up next.

Chantecler Toronto

Discussion

19 Comments

Rich / April 12, 2012 at 09:21 am
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Food looks great

Definitely seems like the type of place to wear a toque and/or blue jays hat to. C'mon Queen'sters... pretend like you're civilised even if only for show.
Sans / April 12, 2012 at 09:24 am
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Resto may be great but those photos are the least appetizing I've seen since BlogTo's review of T&T Grocery.

Wtf is that second dish supposed to be?
Arooo! / April 12, 2012 at 09:26 am
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Beards n' dark frames.

The only way to live.
George / April 12, 2012 at 11:41 am
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The food here is simply amazing! From the staff to the ambiance, this has quickly become my favorite restaurant in Toronto.
Eva replying to a comment from George / April 12, 2012 at 11:48 am
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Thx for your shill!
Tom Tomato / April 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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This place is simply divine. I bread tomatoes for a living, so I know when produce is fresh. And, I can tell you that this place has the freshest food.

Try them today. You won't be disappointed in the least.
Martin / April 12, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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So the website is a twitter feed? I guess if I wanted to see the menu I'm not worthy of eating here.
Taylor700 replying to a comment from Sans / April 12, 2012 at 01:52 pm
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I was thinking the EXACT same thing. Your comment made me laugh. "Least appetizing since T&T..."; Too damn funny.
No name / April 12, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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How do you even pronounce the name "Chantecler"? If you are not French speaking, you end up sounding like a hoser.
jen / April 12, 2012 at 05:01 pm
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It looks like they took those pics on their iphone.
im sure the food is amazing, but that looks like a hummus and poo platter.
Sans 2 / April 12, 2012 at 06:03 pm
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First plate looks like someone took a Sunday morning Red October after a night of Filipino food and hard drinking.
Caitlin / April 12, 2012 at 08:28 pm
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The I tried all the dishes mentioned in this post and I have to say that they were all divine.

The photo's might not be the best but don't let that impact your opinion of this restaurant.
marvin / April 13, 2012 at 11:21 am
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I don't know if anyone noticed but is the person in the last photo flashing the customers? LOL
ager416 / April 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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johnny poon's cooking is truly next level, and the hospitality is from the heart, no question - there's nothing like this in the city. the sauce with gnocchi is a potato emulsion, by the way. note to reviewer: just ask! it looks amateurish to guess.
mmm / April 14, 2012 at 12:10 am
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The food looks delicious, can't wait to try it!
DDD / April 18, 2012 at 07:57 pm
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I really wish these places accepted reservations....it's too hard to find the right night and time, set up babysitting and rush to the restaurant only to have to wait in line. No thanks. (I know, I sound like a grumpy old man)....
the lemur replying to a comment from No name / April 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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'Oh noes, restaurant name seems difficult ... potential for embarrassment ... better not go'

shahn-tuh-CLAIR

Johnny Cash / May 3, 2012 at 11:27 am
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The food is pretty good. Lots of rich, creamy, fatty plates. Small portions. Somewhat over priced. The photos here do not show the most interesting parts of the restaurant, like behind the bar where there is a vintage looking AGA-style range where food is prepared, and some nice mosaic tiling.

matt / May 19, 2014 at 03:18 pm
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I literally could not eat the food there. Nothing makes sense at all. The textures are wrong. Too much soft on soft. Too much sriracha and mustard. Sriracha? Seriously? Nobody eating had a look of delight - just that look of "are we hip yet?"

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