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The Chase

Posted by Derek Flack / Profiled on August 13, 2013 / review policy

The Chase TorontoThe Chase is the upstairs component of the highly anticipated pair of restaurants that have just opened in the Dineen Building at Yonge and Temperance. Located on what was formerly the roof of the building, the space features a gorgeous 75-seat patio with sweeping views of the Financial District as well as an upscale dining area marked by an open kitchen and indoor-outdoor bar. It's a stunning addition to the heritage structure and will likely prove a destination spot for the city's well-monied diners.

The Chase TorontoThe two restaurant project comes courtesy of Steven Salm, the former general manager at MLSE's luxe restaurant, e11evn. Heading up the kitchen is Michael Steh, previously of Reds and Splendido, who's crafted separate menus for each space. Located on the ground floor, The Chase Fish & Oyster, lives up to its name with an obvious focus on shellfish and seafood. The concept on the top floor, on the other hand, is what Steh describes as "modern American," which he explains is basically fine dining without the pretentious baggage that so often accompanies the term.

The Chase TorontoA quick glance through the menu generally validates this description. In the absence of a regional focus, the menu is diverse. Along with raw offerings and a la carte vegetable options ($14-$21), there's a wide range of proteins, from salmon ($30) to veal tenderloin ($38) to a whole roasted chicken for two ($71).

The Chase TorontoStopping in for a pre-arranged visit in the late afternoon, we skip some of the more substantial items on the menu in favour of drinks and a few items to tide us over until later in the evening. Unlike the cocktail menu downstairs, The Chase goes a more traditional route, with seemingly basic offerings like the gin or whiskey cocktail ($16-$18). The latter is similar to an Old Fashioned, but adds Bénédictine for a more herbal profile than is common. The wine list, selected by top sommelier Anton Potvin, is extensive and focused on Old World producers, but does feature a smattering of by-the-glass options ($12-30).

The Chase TorontoThe steak tartare ($16) arrives elegantly topped with a quail's egg, before being mixed at table side by our server. It's a quick little ritual that's occasion for some customer/staff interaction and a good example of the desire to avoid being to prim and proper about plating and presentation.

The Chase TorontoThe portion size is substantial, and the dish well balanced. While it's easy to note the presence of horseradish and salsa verde, neither takes centre stage, which allows the beef to do the leg work. I'd prefer it to be slightly saltier (there's none on the table), but this is likely a manifestation of my own sodium addiction rather than a fault of the dish.

The Chase TorontoNext up is the smoked ricotta ravioli ($25). It's a simply presented dish with the pasta laid atop a bright red tomato sauce. While the smokiness is obvious, the house-made ricotta remains delicate, the creaminess meeting its match in the subtle acidity of the sauce. There's nothing spectacular about this dish, but that's precisely what gives away that it's been expertly prepared. It doesn't need any bells and whistles to shine.

The Chase TorontoWe try dessert in the form of chocolate cake ($12). Another simply presented plate, the flour-less cake comes topped with hot fudge that makes its best effort to melt into the hollow core of the dessert but never quite makes it. Deduct a few points for the failed table side theatrics, but it's not a major issue. The cake is rich but not heavy, composed of dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate cream and hazelnut fudge. It's an exquisite dessert if you're a chocolate lover.

The Chase TorontoI linger for another drink post-dessert. This is a very nice looking place to spend time. Though I'm irked by some of my more yappy patio companions (put the phone away; you're just not that important), it's easy enough to push them to the periphery given the surroundings. The service still needs some polishing (we're still waiting on those waters, guys), but obviously friendly, which is the most important thing in my books.

Chase TorontoPhotos by Derek Flack



bring my bucket / August 13, 2013 at 04:15 pm
$25 for 3 pieces of ravioli? Chef Boyardee must be rolling in his grave.
Steven / August 13, 2013 at 04:43 pm
Their rent must be real high.

Thank goodness for the food trucks below.
Evan / August 13, 2013 at 05:39 pm
Spendido? Typo, freudian slip, or clever joke?
Mel Tipsy / August 13, 2013 at 05:41 pm
Hotly anticipated by who exactly?
Natasha replying to a comment from bring my bucket / August 13, 2013 at 06:16 pm
I wish blogto had a like button, cause that comment would get a thousand likes haha
Taylor / August 13, 2013 at 06:43 pm
So you reviewed an oyster and fish house by ordering steak tartare and ravioli? Great. That's helpful.
BM / August 13, 2013 at 06:44 pm
Thanks for the review. I'm definitely going to drop by.
jt replying to a comment from Taylor / August 13, 2013 at 07:55 pm
must agree, what about the seafood?!
LB / August 13, 2013 at 09:02 pm
Looks like a great dining experience - menu and ambiance. Looking forward to trying it out. Service is always a bit off at the beginning.
LB replying to a comment from Taylor / August 13, 2013 at 09:05 pm
Taylor and jt failed to read the part of the review that states this is a separate restaurant from the one downstairs, before leaving their snarky comments.

Also ... BlogTO is a great resource for what's happening in the city, and covers a wide range of offerings ... if it's not your thing, why muck up the discourse with attention-seeking nonsense.
I'm speaking to the chorus of idiots above.
mmmmm / August 13, 2013 at 09:11 pm
Thanks for the advert Derek. Of course I will be dropping by to get me some of that whole roasted chicken for 2 @ $71.00.
jake / August 14, 2013 at 03:00 am
if this place is to expensive, get great food without the food below at fiore restaurant
Lisa / August 14, 2013 at 11:09 am
Thanks for posting blogTO - this place looks fabulous, can't wait to take my date and check out the rooftop and enjoy unique cuisine. It goes to show that your readership surpasses 20-something angst and there are still people who appreciate how our city is constantly evolving.
Matt / August 14, 2013 at 03:05 pm
"Fine dining without the pretentious baggage"?

Come again, $71 for a whole chicken? Oh but it does serve two so that's not so bad...
Moi replying to a comment from Matt / August 14, 2013 at 04:08 pm
Steph / August 15, 2013 at 12:36 am
I went to The Chase for dinner tonight, it was my second time dining since the opening last Friday. The ambiance, decor, crowd and FOOD is absolutely DELICIOUS/AMAZING.
My first night I got the Clam Chowder, the Po'Boy sliders, Muscles, and Fries. Everything was delicious... I left very satisfied!
Tonight I had the Tuna Tartar and Cod Fish. Excellent once again, I'm obsessed with the Tartar. The drink menu is also impressive and the staff is super friendly.
HIGHLY recommend this restaurant- the staff are all very friendly as well. Congrats to the geniuses who opened this restaurant!
Steph / August 15, 2013 at 12:38 am
Sorry I repeated my staff part twice. But I guess that gets the point across :)
JustAGuy / August 16, 2013 at 03:31 pm
This place is UNREAL!!! Fantastic food/service/drinks.
JayZFoster / August 20, 2013 at 02:01 pm
Is this a good spot for a date?
Jack / August 20, 2013 at 02:16 pm
Went on Saturday to the main restaurant, not the oyster bar. Good food but not for the price. Three people, three appetizers, three mains, one dessert, one cappuccino, one of their more reasonably priced bottles of wine (I think there only two reds under $70) came out to $330 before tip. Service was excellent, and the food was good, just not blow your mind great for that price. The thing that drove me absolutely bonkers though was their reservation system. You can only book through Open Table. I tried booking Fri night for a Sat reservation, the only times they had available were 5:45 and 9pm. We showed up at 5:50 and had almost the entire restaurant to ourselves until about 8pm. They said it was because everyone who reserved a table went out on the patio instead which, for some reason, their reservation system doesn't account for. Only first week being open, so hopefully they work out the kinks.
Jack / August 20, 2013 at 02:17 pm
Forgot to mention, the upstairs space and patio is absolutely gorgeous.
DowntownGal / August 24, 2013 at 08:51 am
The ambiance is great, food is good, service is mediocre. What kills it is the fact that smoking is allowed on the rooftop patio. If you enjoy ingesting cigarette smoke while eating dinner- go for it. I certainly will not return for this one simple reason. Total disappointment.
mark replying to a comment from bring my bucket / August 24, 2013 at 04:11 pm
There are actually 6 per order.....and chef boy-ar-dee is dog food.
Joe Blow / August 26, 2013 at 02:52 pm
Staff are horrible here. Typical of Toronto's terrible management where the male managers are hiring with their dicks instead of actual real professionals. If I want to see young bimbos with tits I'll go to a sports bar. When I'm paying top dollar I expect professionals that know the job and product. Honestly, fire your incompetent management, they get competent ones who will get competent staff!
Christina / September 13, 2013 at 07:36 pm
First I must say is that the staff is horrible. There is not one single professional person there the night I went. I don't know who does the hiring here, but they need to step up their game. I've been to a ton of fine dining restaurants and if I'm paying top dollar for a meal I expect top service. Hiring bimbos at your restaurant doesn't help. I won't be returning or recommending this restaurant to any one.
Christina / September 13, 2013 at 07:43 pm
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the rude hostess who wears too much make up. I felt like I entered a hooters. I don't know what kind of people you are trying to attract to this restaurant but apparently it's those suits that come after hours to hit on younger girls.
Fred / September 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm
You can get better service at jack astors than at the chase. If it doesn't look like you have money coming out of your asshole.. Don't even bother with this place.
Alex / September 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Friday September 20 first time at The Chase. Heard about it through 'blogTO' (love you guys). Patio nice, but a little tight. Waiter was highly intelligent and personable. When the bill was presented, was a little taken back. Two people $245 for 3 orders oysters, 3 mixed cocktails (i.e. Old Fashioned) and small glass of orange juice. Ouch.
Reviewer / September 30, 2013 at 12:06 am
$71 dollars for a roasted chicken that serves two and $95 dollars for halibut that serves two. Brilliant! Whoever thought of this idea is magnificent and I applaud them! Why would I go support a low key family run business that makes a 10 times more delicious dish for much cheaper when I can come to The Chase and give my money to all those greedy investors that support this restaurant! Great thinking. Can't wait to dig in.
Jane Rodgerson / October 3, 2013 at 06:40 pm
I was really wowed by the mediocre everything. Dinner for two $350. That's kinda all that's worth saying about this place.
katey / October 23, 2013 at 09:57 am
All I have to say is this place is so fake " from the front of line hostess's to the managers, there is no real passion behind this place. I have been to many fine dinning restaurants and there's nothing "fine at this place except for maybe the expensive interior and décor. The price's are outrageous and it appears like more of a midnight brothel at the chase than a so called fine dining restaurant.
Suzie / October 28, 2013 at 01:03 pm
Fine Dining....for the blinded. My Child could cook better then them....and present it with better kindness. I do not work my hours to come and waste my time in such a dull atmosphere. I felt I was walking into an audition rather then an actual prepared restaurant. You can go throw your oysters back to the Atlantic Ocean....and go get your faces and humor redone.
Mark / November 23, 2013 at 02:18 pm
We went here last night and were downstairs at the high-top tables near the bar. I'm torn here. Food was delicious, the highlight being the scallop dish with foie gras and brioche - amazing! Pricing is a shocker even by increasingly outrageous Toronto standards though. $21 for the scallop dish and it had ONE scallop. Lucky we asked about the stone crab claw price before we ordered because it was $19.50 PER CLAW! If you get a plate of these, it literally would be cheaper to fly to Miami and get them at Joe's Stone Crab. We popped upstairs and the dining room is one of the most classy/gorgeous places to eat in Toronto. If we decide to splurge again, we'd definitely would go upstairs because at least you get the full ambiance.
The Town / January 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm
Not joking. We went to McDonalds after we ate at the Chase. We (wife and I) were still hungry after our 350$ 'dinner'.
Jack replying to a comment from bring my bucket / January 29, 2014 at 05:32 pm
You sound like someone that doesn't need to be at this restaurant...your name is bring my bucket, you eat the ravoli in the can and finish your beer and then you can have your bucket. ;)
why / June 18, 2014 at 07:51 pm
ANOTHER expensive restaurant in King West? Ugh. I'll stick to the Wheat Sheaf across the road for unpretentious service, friendly atmosphere and cheaper prices. Or, 416 Snack bar where food portions are small but fairly priced and supremely delicious. Oh and the staff there are awesome!
ha replying to a comment from Suzie / June 20, 2014 at 01:40 am
Hilarious! And well said! Nice wum. :)
Eva / December 16, 2014 at 02:18 pm
I was here on December 15 for lunch. The place was quiet and I felt a little out of place. Everyone here dressed in suits. But the waiter, Quinn, quickly calmed me. He was a nice soft spoken man. His service was excellent and he made sure that my parents and I had an enjoyable meal! Yes, a little on the pricey side and the place got quite loud. There was a company Christmas party going on and there was one lady with the loudest cackle that didn't help with the noise level!

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