Last night, I finally got to try Woodlot, a much-hyped Toronto restaurant that's been open nearly a year. I wanted to see what the hype was all about. I instantly realized all of it is well-deserved. The food is described as "comfort food" but it was not all what I would expect based on that description. The dishes weren't platefuls of deep-fried everything. I would describe it as very fresh, innovative, thoughtful, back-to-the-land type food. It is very flavourful, inventive but not gimmicky. As we ate all the tastiest plates (including a few surprise ones – courtesy of the chef, David Haman), the word EARTHY just kept coming up. It's earthy in the best sense of the word.
I was definitely wowed by all of the food. But if I had to choose, my absolute favourite dish would be the Farm Fresh Chitarrini with corn, ham hock, zucchini, tomato petals and saffron. It was a great balance of creamy, savoury and just enough sweet from the corn. Delicious! Woodlot is perfect place to dine, especially in the fall. The coziness of the food is punctuated by this very warm, unpretentious, lofty space that, at one point, was a garage. At the heart of it is this large wood burning stove (where beautiful bread is made). Interesting fact about Woodlot: their sommelier is also their baker. During the day, the place is actually a bakery and cafe. I also loved that there is an equally well-considered menu of vegetarian dishes and cocktails are also available.
All around an exquisite meal accompanied by wine that also came with impassioned back stories. Even more beautiful that it was an evening shared with like-minded company. What could be lovelier?
Some of the other Woodlot dishes on Foodspotting:
Ember Grilled Hen O Woods Mushrooms
Marinated Grilled Haloumi Crostini with Spiced Chick Pea, Apple Preserve and Basil
Heirloom Tomatoes & Sheep's Milk Ricotta Tart with Tomato Hibiscus Jam and Arugala