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Restaurants

Glas Wine Bar

Posted by Joshua Chong / Reviewed on February 26, 2014 / review policy

glas restaurant torontoGlas Wine Bar in Leslieville packs more prestige than the nearly two years of quiet acclaim lets on. For a supper spot whose owner and chef, Danny Pantano, racked a decade of Michelin-starred experience from his tenure in Italy, Glas lacks the city-wide exposure you might expect. Yet, once you've gone, its modest status feels more by design than chance.

For starters, place settings are capped at twenty; an open kitchen makes it all the cosier. No bumping elbows exactly, but rubbernecking to spy on nearby dishes is a cinch. Also, the rhythm of the meal, whether it's prix fixe or menu-hopping, assumes a casual, unrushed tenor. Not that the service is slow. Usually it's Pantano himself, punctual at all the right moments, refilling, removing, resetting and reengaging.

glas wine barFor those interested in eating local Glas is a good fit. Entrees change seasonally and food can be paired with $6 (or so) 3-ounce samplings, all featuring Ontario wineries such as Malivoire, Creekside Estates and Hinterland, to name a few.

glas wine barFrom start to finish, not a ribbon of celery root or micro salad frond is out of place. Whether it's snacks such as the double-toasted-then-dehydrated clusters of spiced nuts ($5) or comfort food plates such as baked mac and cheese with sauteed swiss chard, braised lentils, and carmelized onions ($16), Pantano's polished arrangements don't betray his experience.

glas restaurant torontoDelicate-as-glass devilled farm eggs ($5) are one such example, rainbowed across a chestnut-hued wooden slab and topped with a wag of smoked bacon, sprinkle of paprika and a sprig of shisho. I will say, though, that the yolk, cut with a sharp parmigiano rather than the mayo norm, made the cold halves more neutral and flatter tasting than desired.

glas restaurant torontoThe crostini (3 for $6; 5 for $10; 7 for $14), were likewise easy on the eyes. The honeyed ricotta, fluffy and creamy, was by far the most delicious of the lot, the subtle sweetness of peppered Ontario wildflower honey nudging just above the clean flavour of the ricotta.

The crostini with beet tops and smoked local bacon was a winsome follow-up, but the bruschetta mix, like the eggs, were a tad too chilly, and could've used bolder seasoning and more marinating to open up the flavours of the crushed tomato.

glas restaurant torontoThe beet insalate ($12) was outstanding. A thick cord of multi-coloured seasonal beets, is garlanded with more of that shiso leaf, and rests in a shallow stream of Italian black truffle puree and horseradish foam. Must have.

The shoulder-cut slices of flatiron steak (top photo) went well served on a base of creamy mustard mashed potato with red wine-braised red cabbage draped in a frizzle. The locally-sourced meat was quite sumptuous and tender, deep and rich, and, again, saddled comfort with class.

glas restaurant torontoThe mains may be relatively small, but mains such as the Italian meatballs will leave you barely able to consider dessert. 60 to 40 percent beef to pork, the recipe calls for breading soaked in milk, herbs, smoked paprika, sautéed leek, and Szechwan pepper. Looming on a bed of stone-ground polenta the perfectly tender meatballs are quenched by homemade smoked marinara, with ricotta and chives added for good measure.

glas restaurant torontoFor those on the lookout for caloric atrophy, the 50/50 cream to milk ratio in the lavender-scented creme brulee ($6) is the wise option, but it holds no candle to its full cream kin. I'd opt for the mint-garnished walnut coffee cake in a light cocoa sauce ($7) as a pick-me-up after a long session at Glas.

glas restaurant torontoNote: In a neighbourhood known for brunch, it only makes sense that Glas has its own weekend brekkie menu. Features include a country frittata with spinach, parm and sundried tomato with a side salad ($10), and a crispy potato rosti flecked with smoked salmon, poached egg and side shredded cucumber salad ($12).

Discussion

11 Comments

Rob S / July 1, 2012 at 07:12 pm
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My Girlfriend and I ate at Glas last night. Very impressive flavours and attention to detail in food preparation. Flavours were subtle and complex. The food is all about quality, not quantity. The Herb crusted Kalopore Springs Trout was out of this world! Very affordable VQA Ontario wine selection. I am sure to be a regular.
Ana / July 23, 2012 at 05:02 pm
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My boyfriend and I have vowed to go to GLAS at least a couple of times a month, it is delicious. Decadent, rich, creamy, and complex are just a few adjectives that come to mind when I am asked to describe the food. Yum.
Kasia / July 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm
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I went to Glas with a group - we had a great meal! Affordable, delicious food! We had chilled pea soup, fish tartares,duck, and more. The duck was a highlight: cooked rare, skin slightly crispy with a touch of salt. Also, friendly, attentive service.
GR / October 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm
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The food was excellent. A must try but reserve first as many were turned away Saturday night.
BillyO / February 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm
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I have brunch here once, really good. Nice little hidden gem spot in the east end, though it might not. E so much of a hidden gem after this good review
odd / February 26, 2014 at 01:59 pm
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Im surprised its taken this long to review Glas.
Ryan / February 26, 2014 at 06:06 pm
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"not a ribbon of celery root or micro salad frond is out of place."
Doesn't seem very deconstructionist.
Leslievillian / February 27, 2014 at 05:09 pm
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My gf and I had a meal there. Unfortunately two of our dishes were over seasoned (much too salty) to a point where we couldn't even finish them
Food Lover / February 28, 2014 at 07:25 am
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Best hidden gem in TO - hands down!
Dan Pantano replying to a comment from Leslievillian / March 4, 2014 at 11:21 am
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Sorry about your experience Leslievillian. I assure you that we make ever effort to ensure a pleasant evening, and hope we have the opportunity to remedy this oversight. My sincere apologies.
Josie H / October 19, 2014 at 06:36 pm
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We had Sunday brunch with our young daughters 13 and 9. We ordered french toast made with organic peanutbutter and jam for the girls and eggs benedict duck confit for myself and eggs benedict with salmon for my husband. Everything was absolutely DELICIOUS ! We will be coming back! Great place to eat.

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