The landmark hotel, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, was one of the first in North America to undergo the chain's global initiative to refresh its properties, which included a complete overhaul of its food and drink program.
Named after the building's 43 floors, 43 Down – as in, 43 floors below the top floor – transforms 3,047 square feet of Sheraton's lobby into an open concept that features a 55-seat bar and 62-seat lounge.
A community hub for locals and guests, the refined space also deviates from what's expected of a traditional hotel restaurant: It's only opened five nights a week and is focused mainly on drinks.
"The premise is to be ever-changing and ever-evolving with the season," Director of Food and Beverage Mark Moffatt tells blogTO.
"So colder seasons will have heavier cocktails that use bourbon, whisky, or rye as the base. There's more torch or smoke for the warming of the soul. Every season the cocktails will change around that [concept] but there will always be theatrics behind them to make them a conversation piece."
In addition to inspired rifts on classic cocktails like a Boulevardier "In Ice" – as in, it’s served inside an ice sphere, there's the Coconut Clover Club ($25).
Made using Dillon's gin, lemon juice, coconut syrup, and egg white, the frothy egg white foam topped sour is garnished with edible flowers.
Listed as an Under the Dome cocktail, The 43rd ($30) arrives at the table in a glass-enclosed birdcage that's filled with sweet apple-wood smoke.
Showy and aromatic, the boozy cocktail is a well-balanced blend of Buffalo Trace, Maraschino liqueur, and Dillon's vermouth.
There's also Smoking in the Sidecar ($28) that's trapped in a smoke-filled cloche which is unveiled at the table. Here is another spirit-forward number that features Hennessy VSOP with Cointreau, Etobicoke-based Chasers' lemon juice and sweetened with simple syrup.
Smooth and balanced in flavour, it's a sophisticated take on the classic that has a rounder body thanks to the apple-wood smoke.
Like all the bar's Oxidized classified drinks, the Nutty Times ($21) is made with dry ice.
Featuring Buffalo Trace bourbon, Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX, Bénédictine – a herbal liqueur from Normandy in France, plus Dillon's orange bitters, it's a pleasing too-easy-to-drink concoction that's garnished with a dehydrated citrus wheel.
Seasonally appropriate tipple could include the White Christmas Margarita ($20).
It's a sweet leaning festive cocktail that contains Tromba Blanco, Triple Sec, coconut milk, and lime juice, that's served from a teapot into a glass garnished with a dried cranberry skewer.
Changing every six to eight weeks, the food menu is inspired by the season and 43 Down's inventive beverage list. Everything from the light bites to the large format crowd pleasers is all shareable.
The interactive Winter Squash Burrata Bulb ($45) pairs wedges of honey-roasted local acorn squash with saffron-stained buffalo mozzarella cheese.
The latter is served with a pipette filled with an herb dressing that you're instructed to inject into the cheese's creamy centre, resulting in a cool and fresh herb-stained spread that pairs with the dish's sourdough crostini.
Meant for two to four people, the vegetarian-friendly course is finished with pepita seeds that capture elements of the season, but the execution is a little clunky.
For something more delicate, there's Dillon's Gin Cured Bay of Fundy Salmon ($32).
Here, thin slices of beet-cured salmon are served with a side of lightly dressed mixed chicory vegetables and garnished with whipped ricotta plus pickled onions. The real star of the plate was the windowpane potato chips which each had a perfectly pressed parsley leaf trapped within its centre.
Served with a citrus remoulade, the Atlantic Salt Cod Bacalhau ($29) comes on a refreshing blood orange and celery salad.
The Asian flavours-inspired Smoked Aurora Duck Drumettes ($27), are slicked with a glaze made from cherries and blackberries. It's a crowd-pleasing finger food that's finished with toasted peanuts, green onions, and fresh chillies.
The Charred King Oyster Mushroom Steakettes ($24) season meaty king oyster mushroom steams with sweet soy. Served on a creamy bed of sunchoke puree with roasted sunchokes and braised shallots, the vegetarian-friendly dish is finished with truffle and herb oil and serves as a gussied-up side dish more than a main course.
The impressive Tomahawk Steak Frites ($184) starts with a tableside presentation of the whole 45 oz Van Osch Farms AAA Ontario beef that's cooked to your liking before it's brought back to the kitchen.
When the course returns to the table the Tomahawk is sliced off the bone and topped with bright chimichurri sauce and sided with a whole roasted garlic bulb, glazed baby carrots, roasted tomatoes, and fresh-cut fries with truffle aioli.
Designed to feed two hungry diners, the meat-centric course can also comfortably feed four meal-sharing companions.
43 Down joins Sheraton's lobby revamp which includes its café, Dual Citizen, in addition to private studios, and soundproof phone booths that are all a part of the hotel's massive renovation. It's open Tuesday to Saturday starting at 5 p.m.