Silver Spoon, situated near the top of Roncesvalles Ave, serves seasonal and local fare under the careful watch of chef owner Rocco Agostino . The restaurant offers a finer dining option in the traditionally Polish neighbourhood without being being so upscale or pricey to clash with the comfortable vibe of the area. And being neighbours with the popular Revue Cinema makes it easy to do dinner and a movie.
Chef Agostino's Italian roots influence the cuisine, such as the venison carpaccio and use of fava beans (typical of his family's southern Italian village), but so does his French training, perhaps no more evident than in his perfect duck confit. But the cuisine defies typical categories, with a heavy emphasis on what is fresh, local and seasonal.
Going to Silver Spoon expecting a typically Italian or French meal is the wrong approach in a restaurant that continually serves up fantastic meals with the finest ingredients.
After several recent visits with a number of dining companions, it is clear that Silver Spoon aims to provide a high quality dining experience that is focused on the food. The best ingredients are mixed with creativity in the kitchen to produce flavourful, well balanced dishes.
An excellent example of this is the duck confit, which right now is juniper berry infused and served with a lychee and blueberry jus (not to mention organic veggies and potato hash). Although at first glance berries and duck confit seems off, the result is a perfect blend, with succulent juicy meat, crispy skin and a touch of sweetness from the berries that, to borrow a phrase, kick it up a notch.
The menu gradually changes with the season, and some dishes seem to get simply modified. The Ontario pickerel has been served with Israeli pearl couscous, wild boar bacon and a saffron cream sauce for the last several months, but when fiddleheads were is season they accompanied the dish while now it's mushrooms and fava beans.
Other items, such as the rack of lamb and rib-eye, are menu staples, although their sauces or sides may change periodically. The lamb is another example of the fine flavour balance, as the pistachio, mango and mint crust provides a depth of flavour that would not be possible with only one of the ingredients.
The specials on offer each night are often the way to go, as they are always a reflection of the season's finest ingredients, and often items that aren't around long enough to make it onto the regular menu. A perfect example is the pan seared and oven roasted arctic char that has been on special recently, served with a sweet pea puree, purple fingerling potatoes, and the most deliciously sweet organic heirloom tomatoes. And I will order the venison chop special at every opportunity.
The starters have also consistently been superb, even the two salads that sound so simple in their description: they are perfectly balanced and very memorable. My favourite is the house smoked rainbow trout, which is some of the best smoked fish I've ever had - and typically trout is low on my list of smoked fish preferences. Aside from the superb fish, the complementary wild rice pancake and maple gastrique again yield superb balance.
Desserts are also lovely, although I'm usually pretty full as I can never pass up a first course before my main. The desserts are perfect to share, though, and each bite will be savoured. The goat's cheese stuffed French toast is of particular note, and is a favourite of several of my dining companions, at least one of whom typically hates goat cheese.
Silver Spoon excels in every area it should, a restaurant to please casual diners and foodies alike. The servers are friendly and attentive, and the food is the focus, from the amuse bouche to start to the last bite of the evening. The prices are also quite reasonable; most of these dishes could easily be served at Toronto's top restaurants, where they would go for twice the price. Although the interior design is not as slick as Canoe , it works for the neighbourhood, and while I appreciate the careful plating and nice decor, I'm focused on the food, and Silver Spoon hasn't disappointed once.
Photos by pastabroccoli .