Bywoods on St. Clair is a new Mediterranean restaurant from Tony Cappellano of Boom , the popular brunch chain. The service industry veteran took a hiatus to focus on his daytime business over the last decade, but says he was motivated to launch this new venture after missing the city's nightlife.
Inside the new space, two adjacent dining rooms split seating for 65. They make for an intimate and cozy atmosphere; one side is walled with barn wood and a black banquette while the other features decorative beams and arrangements of two-tops. A front patio will accommodate an additional 20 seats.
The one-page menu from chef Craig Dehne covers starters, flatbreads and mains.
To start, there's a colourful beet salad ($12) with rings of charred red onion that serve as a bed for walnut vinaigrette-dressed arugula and toasted chevre.
Steamed mussels ($11) swim in a thyme-scented white wine broth studded with aromatics, pancetta, and grape tomatoes. The accompanying house-baked bread is deliciously fresh and generously sprinkled with sea salt - it's the perfect vessel to swipe up all the sauce.
Capelletti ($15) is a bit of a misleading dish, presumably modeled after the North Italian Christmas specialty that traditionally sees little stuffed pockets of pasta served in broth. Here, this dish is done with dense little vesuvio pasta swirls tossed in vegetable broth with anchovy crumbs, pecorino and spiced rapini.
A supremed lemon and garlic roasted chicken breast ($22) is served over wilted greens with mini potatoes, heirloom carrots and reduced chicken stock jus.
The bar offers an eclectic list of wines that start at $7 for a 5 oz. glass. A half-dozen beers ($6) are stocked in bottles and include choices like Flying Monkey Stereovision and Mill St. Organic. Cocktails ($10) offer fruity twists on the classics, including a spiced cherry Manhattan. The signature Bywoods is made with gin and shaken with rosemary syrup, lemon, sugar and club soda.
Bywoods on St. Clair is open from Monday to Saturday for dinner from 5pm.
Photos by Jesse Milns