Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's
Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's at Sherway Gardens is every bit as grand as promised. It's an 18,500 square foot gourmet grocer connected to the luxury department store and it's stocked at every turn with gourmet ingredients, artisanal products, prepared foods, and food stations.
For west end gourmands, this means that a trip downtown to specialty retailers and local artisans is no longer essential.
The bakery section is a good example of the array of goods on offer. Here you'll find artisanal buns and baguettes from ACE , pullman loaves from Blackbird Baking Co. , crusty batards from Fred's Breads , biscotti from Forno Cultura , cupcakes from Sullivan & Bleeker , and the list goes on.
Aisles and cooler cases are stocked with essentials from milk and eggs to familiar name brand cereals and bags of imported dry pasta. Premium and exclusive products abound and are showcased prominently throughout the store.
The wall of high-end olive oils is swoon-worthy, while a selection of truffle products is displayed like perfumes in a boutique.
Food stations are perhaps the most exciting feature; there's a full-on bar at the mouth of the mall entrance, while the Nutella cafe and espresso bar are tucked just inside ready to indulge shoppers with crepes, cronut sandwiches ($6), and Americanos.
A sushi bar is not an uncommon sight in grocery stores today, but this is the first I've seen where the marble rail is set with wine glasses and white serviettes. A menu on the wall lists sashimi and sushi combos ($17), bento boxes ($14), poke bowls ($16), donburi ($15) and salads ($5-$7) along with Ontario-brewed Izumi sake ($9) and mochi ice cream ($5) for dessert.
Other notable attractions include the prosciutto bar showcasing local charcuterie from Pingue Prosciutto , available sliced fresh for eat-in or take-away, and a champagne and raw bar where top-shelf wine labels and craft beers mingle alongside seafood towers, cheese and charcuterie platters, and a rotating tapas menu from corporate chef Tony Cammalleri.
There's plenty of Pusateri's-made prepared foods to be had too. Boxed salads and grain bowls are available for grab and go while the deli counter carries salads by weight and a selection of sandwiches including a turkey and brie croissant ($9.99) and lettuce and spinach roti wrap ($4.99), to name just a few that piqued my interest.
At the fish counter you'll find whole sea bream and snapper surrounded by oysters, marinated fillets, chilled lobster and ready-to-cook skewers, pinwheels and crab cakes.
The butcher is equally astounding as rows of thick striploin steaks and rib eyes are joined by fillet mignon brochettes, Frenched chicken drumsticks, and cornish hens vacuum-sealed in marinade.
The produce section takes discerning shoppers through a circuit of beautifully presented fruit and vegetables.
You'll also find a wall of juices including what is seemingly the entire roster of nut milks, immune boosters and cold press juices from Greenhouse Juice Co. .
Catering, floral and giftware services are available too and make the store a top destination for entertaining guests, or treating yourself, or just generally living the high life.
Premium prices are to be expected but it's likely that the Saks clientele will hardly notice. Serious grocery shoppers are advised to exit through the lower parking level entrance as the proposition of carrying shopping bags through shoe displays that cost more than most salaries is slightly terrifying.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.