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Restaurants

Richmond Station

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on October 17, 2012 / review policy

Richmond Station TorontoRichmond Station is the highly anticipated first restaurant from last season's Top Chef Canada winner, Carl Heinrich and Ryan Donovan of the well-loved West Side Beef. The duo, who both left their respective positions at Marben earlier this year, have refreshingly modest aspirations; to be the neighbourhood restaurant in a neighbourhood that needs one. "This is isn't fine dining" Heinrich tells me, "it's buying good food, cooking it properly and putting it on a plate."

The space, formerly occupied by Asian-fusion restaurant, Yulla looks totally new inside. The dining room is relatively unadorned letting dark woods contrast with prominent white subway tiles and off-white walls that display oversized prints from the Toronto Archives. Upstairs, in the smaller dining room, we claim front row seats at the kitchen-facing chef's rail and have the opportunity to watch the kitchen staff at work and to chat with Heinrich – who is clearly comfortable in front of an audience.

Richmond StationThe pantry menu is divided into sharing plates, appetizers and mains consists of only 15 or so dishes, plus an ever changing chalkboard of specials that features the seasonal, ingredient driven plates that Heinrich gained recognition for on TV and as executive chef at Marben.

Richmond StationThe Roasted Beet Salad ($13) arrives dressed in a maple vinaigrette, and is perfectly balanced with crunchy, toasted hazelnuts and a delicious creamy, labneh-like, goat cheese.

From tonight's specials, comes the cold Smoked Kolapore Springs Trout ($24, lead photo), served warm atop a dollop of creamy soybean hummus, roasted sunchokes and topped with antipasto and watercress.

Richmond StationFor dessert the Iced Hay Terrine ($9) sounds a little weird, but as pastry chef Farzam Fallah suggests, evokes an autumn hayride. It turns out to be exceptionally tasty, featuring an alfalfa hay-steamed semifreddo, caramelized apples, pumpkin and almond "soil" and apple chip garnishes.

Richmond StationHeinrich wants to keep the atmosphere and dining experience easy and fun, he's hoping Richmond Station will become a place to drop in for a quick burger and a beer or a destination for a 3-course meal with cocktails and wine. Currently the restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Saturday with talk of a lunch menu to be launched next month.

Richmond StationPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

18 Comments

Big Fuckin Mega Boat / October 17, 2012 at 01:55 pm
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I'm not usually one to get excited about salad, but the one you reviewed looks and sounds delicious. I'm excited to try this place. Awesome job with the photos too.
Shannon / October 17, 2012 at 03:19 pm
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I wish they had their menu on their website!!
Shannon / October 17, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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I almost never go to a restaurant before reading their menu online. No motivation for uncertainty.
Mark / October 17, 2012 at 07:13 pm
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Who left the positions at Marben, More like both got FIRED!! For theft and dishonest business practice
*Yawn* replying to a comment from Mark / October 17, 2012 at 09:04 pm
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We pay for a good meal, not drama.
John replying to a comment from Mark / October 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm
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I know them both and that's a big fat lie from an anonymous coward.

They helped build that place from the douchy nightclub it was when they got there to what it was when they left: a great place with great food. The owner of Marben should thank them for his success and "Mark" should have the courage to admit who he is before accusing people.

Two of the most stand-up guys I know.
Jen / October 18, 2012 at 10:25 am
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They didn't get fired from Marben. They left -- and if you've been there lately, you'd know the restaurant is poorer for it.
I was at Richmond Station the same night as the reviewer and it was great! I usually don't like going to a place less than a week after it opens, but they'd already worked out the kinks. The menu is super limited right now, though (which is probably why it's not online yet). They said the charcuterie plate, for instance, won't be available for a couple of weeks. But everything we had, we loved.
Pete replying to a comment from Mark / October 18, 2012 at 10:35 am
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Ha, what on earth are you talking about? Carl left after he won Top Chef Canada. Ryan soon followed. Then did Sasha.
Hungry / October 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm
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Checked out the resto last night. Beautiful space, friendly/professional staff and top quality meals. I am excited to try their full menu and lunch (once they open for lunch!).

The ONLY area that could use some improvement, in my opinion, would be portion size. I had the burger and it was delicious! Cooked perfectly as well. However, it was quite small for the $21 price tag. I have had Carl's burger at Marben before and remember it being a bit bigger.

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they are still working out the new restaurant kinks (re: portion size) and I will definitely be back to try some more items!
Mark replying to a comment from Mark / October 20, 2012 at 12:22 am
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I worked at Marben at the time and left shortly after and can tell you it's the truth
Liz replying to a comment from Mark / November 19, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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Be careful with comments like that. That is defamation, and if these cooks wanted to sue, they could ask a judge to order that the records be produced that identify who you are.

If reason and courtesy don't convince you to use discretion, perhaps the prospect of public humiliation and damage awards do.
Hungry Girl / December 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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I went here last night and it was great! Only a couple of things that bugged me...Our waiter didn't tell us any of the specials. The food from the menu was great but would've probably picked a special had we known. Secondly, I had two bones in my sea bream. I don't get grossed out by that kinda thing easily, but still, fish bones in your mouth suck.
katie / December 3, 2012 at 07:16 pm
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I went to Richmond Station for the first time a few weeks ago and was absolutely blown away. I wasn't sure what to expect but the atmosphere, the people, and the menu above all, was incredible. I highly recommend the parsnip ravioli which was devine.
Mike / January 11, 2013 at 11:28 am
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I went last night - nothing special. Certainly not worth going out of your way for.
Sam / February 25, 2013 at 02:45 pm
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Best thing on the menu is their burger, served medium rare and has juice running down your arm. Other than that, nothing else on the menu is that exciting. I've been their three times and the taste of the dishes are inconsistent. During the holiday season, the hostess asked us to move to the bar area so they could seat people. Yes, we finished eating but that was tacky and unprofessional. Will not be going back there. Good luck, Carl. Don't let your young head grow too big...
Joanne / June 19, 2013 at 05:10 pm
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Was there for the first time today for lunch with a client. Unfortunately, by the time we were there for our 1pm reservation, three of the six mains were already sold out. Not impressed. What we did order was excellent, but would have expected to be able to choose from the full menu at that time.
Cam / July 10, 2013 at 10:10 am
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Went for the first time last night with my Aunt who was in town visiting. Top to bottom a fantastic meal and overall dining experience! Atmosphere in the restaurant is buzzing, but comfortable. Wait staff were all very knowledgeable, friendly and very accommodating - I have a severe allergy to nuts and while I've been to many high end restaurants that have simply said I couldn't have a dish (which I completely understand) they, along with the kitchen of course, made everything available to me! Obviously the best part though was the food itself! We shared the fried zucchini appetizer and the beef carpaccio which were both very good. For mains we both ordered the daily special duo of black angus beef (shank and strip loin) with brown butter hollandaise which was delicious. And finished the meal with the Strawberry Shortcake and the daily special dessert - Frozen Yogurt - both of which were outstanding! To top it off I had to ask for a quick photo with Carl (because I'm a huge dork and fan of Top Chef) - not only was he happy to oblige, he invited me into the kitchen to have a peek! So again, overall a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to going back!

P.S. To the people who have a problem with menus not being posted online... first of all they do have some items on their website that are always served. But restaurants that have menus that change daily (usually on a chalkboard in the restaurant) generally do this to ensure that they are always innovating and offering market fresh ingredients... which to me is often the sign of a good restaurant (not to mention a lot of really good reviews!).
Robert / August 22, 2013 at 11:12 am
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My boss’ boss was in town this week so I brought him here for dinner on the recommendation of a friend (give the ‘ole AMEX a workout, ya know?). First off, I was very impressed with the hostess for squeezing me in, her patience with my three phone calls – reserving, canceling and then reserving again – and then thanking me for making the effort to come out when we arrived. Next, the server was very pleasant, knowledgeable of the menu and made a great wine recommendation. Finally, the food was incredible, I had the trout and it was cooked perfectly. Great establishment and an overall memorable experience. Well done Richmond Station, well done.

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