City Betty is an ode to California and New York, serving an ever-changing menu of sustainable bi-coastal cuisine that celebrates Ontario farms.
This means a produce-heavy menu by Chef Alex Molitz who adapts his menu to what’s growing locally at the moment.
The inside of the restaurant has breathtakingly transformed what used to be The Borough with ethereal murals and lots of live plants. A table directly adjacent to the bar is nicknamed “The Lookout.”
Poached Janssen Farms white asparagus ($20) pairs the firm in-season spears with graceful tatters of Fogo Island crab and shrimp and Meadowsweet watercress, herbaceous, crisp, slightly sweet from the seafood and even lightly creamy.
A Fogo frito dish ($16) deep-fries artichokes, oysters, cod cheek and wheels of Meyer lemon.
The lemon could have been seeded more but the deep-fry created an interesting contrast, the whole dish crispy and indulgent yet light, served with a grassy edamame aioli.
Charcoal-grilled ribeye from Walt’s Sugar Shack is sold by weight that night, about $30 for nine ounces apparently. Thick slices are fatty and smokey from being charcoal-grilled, served with a salsa verde, ultra-smokey warm beef vinaigrette, celery root salad and in-season chilled radish that provides some bite.
The Lioness ($12) resembles a spritz, part of a list of Zodiac-themed cocktails. Aperol lends a bitter kick but organic cava and blood orange balance it out, subtly underscored by cardamom essential oils.
The Aries ($14) starts out by giving the glass a smoke wash with burning rosemary, the scent of which fills the restaurant.
This pulls focus somewhat from organic rooibos-rhubarb sparkling lemonade, balsamic syrup and Domaine de Canton liqueur, but a backbone of 4 Roses bourbon ties the cocktail together.
Owner Amanda Gatien worked for years to bring City Betty to fruition with the help of program director Sarah Evans (House of Commons), and makes a point of employing women at her business.
They also do a weekend brunch.