Black + Blue Toronto
Black + Blue steakhouse is Toronto's new luxurious multi-level destination to find top cuts of meat, towering seafood platters, and curated cocktails.
The Vancouver-based steakhouse just opened its first Ontario location in the financial district, taking over the location previously occupied by the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Brought to the city by Glowbal Restaurant Group, the venture is led by CEO and Founder Emad Yacoub who isn't only a former Toronto resident, but also the winner of 2013 Independent Restaurateur of The Year.
Yacoub has amassed decades of experience in the restaurant industry beginning his career as the chef de cuisine at the King Edward Hotel and working his way to becoming the executive chef there. He went on to Acqua Dolce Supper Club and then moved to the West Coast where he started his restaurant group.
"Toronto has a vibrant food scene," says Yacoub. "It's where I began my career over 30 years ago... [This] is a full circle moment."
The two-storey, 9,000-square-foot space can accommodate 275 and features a built-in mezzanine, several private rooms, and an expansive 2000-square-foot outdoor patio.
Designed by Toronto-based Navigate Design, the space is dressed to impress.
There's a set of opulent blue velvet curtains at the entrance, that unveils an awe-worthy view once you walk past them. What greets you is an illuminated bar which wraps around a glowing display of spirits, with fine wines stacked along the floor-to-ceiling back window.
The main floor dining area is filled with cozy booth seating with dark wood panelling that's reminiscent of a traditional steakhouse.
Those details are a contrast to the modern touches found throughout the space such as the upstairs glass balcony, oversized chandeliers, and greenery. There's even a Himalayan salt meat locker and an accent wall where the stock exchange used to be that's made with strategically placed steak knives.
Separating the dining room from the kitchen is an entrancing meat locker where a selection of high-quality beef cuts including Kobe and Japanese Wagyu to Canadian and USDA Prime beef are dry aging.
The restaurant imported roughly 1,000 salt blocks which are used to create an environment that helps accelerate the aging process. This helps to create an environment that cuts the aging time while the flavour and texture of the beef improves.
"Normally dry aging gives you that blue cheese flavour after 52 days. Here, we don't have that, because the salt speeds up everything," Yacoub told blogTO.
The Caesar salad ($19 per person) is prepared from scratch tableside. Dressing ingredients are added one by one and emulsified before being tossed with crisp romaine lettuce and sprinkled with a generous helping of Parmigiano Reggiano.
The result is a refreshing, zesty and crisp start to the meal.
The Colossal Shrimp Cocktail ($39) features three super-sized chilled shrimp.
The shrimp are served with a tangy cocktail sauce and Marie Rose sauce. Both condiments perfectly complement the seafood with its creaminess and subtle kick.
A beautiful nigiri and sashimi platter (market price) is filled with fresh and vibrant Ora king salmon, hamachi, otoro, bluefin tuna, sea scallop, and more.
The platter's fresh grated wasabi highlighted the flavour of the fish without overpowering it.
It's a production with the Beef Wellington for Two ($145) which was also wheeled over and sliced tableside.
Coated in a layer of umami-rich mushroom duxelles, the tenderloin inside is wrapped in an intricate and delicate puff pastry.
Prepared to medium-rare, the beef's lovely hue is exposed when it's sliced open. It's served with truffle jus, baby heirloom carrots, and fluffy mashed potatoes.
A generous serving of buttery Scallops ($65) comes in a ginger and orange beurre blanc with pistachios, herb oil, and bruleed oranges which gives them a citrusy bite.
The fan-favourite crispy Brussels sprouts ($18) are deep-fried, topped with lemon, capers, Parmesan, and chillies.
For a delicious and sweet end to the meal, there are the tableside Crepes ($28) which are flambeed with Cointreau and paired with fresh strawberries and a scoop of ice cream.
There's an extensive list of wines, including a heavy focus on west coast varietals, plus Global's house wines which are also available by the bottle.
For cocktails, there are both classics and signature handcrafted specialties.
The B+B Cosmopolitan ($19) is as fancy a drink as they come. It combines hibiscus-infused Ketel One vodka, Cointreau, St-Germain, lime and white cranberry. For a dramatic effect, it's capped with a citrus smoke bubble.
Gin-based cocktail fans would love the Spirited Away ($16). The drink is made from a mix of Empress 1908 gin, orange, lime, citrus berry cypress bitters, and finished with Fever Tree grapefruit soda.
The ombre of purple to orange in the glass is not only eye-catching, it's also tasty.
Midnight in Paris ($36) is the second most expensive cocktail on the menu (behind the Vieux Carre at $98) and is made with Hendrick's gin, pomegranate, lemon, Cabernet Sauvignon reduction, then topped off with Laurent Perrier La Cuvée Champagne.
Black + Blue is located at 130 King Street West. It's open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., happy hour from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., and dinner from 3 p.m. until late.