Reviewed February 3, 2004   »   |     

JW's Steakhouse

Toronto Mariott Eaton Centre - 525 Bay Street
Cheddar & Garlic Galette with Black Pepper Vinaigrette on Baby Greens | fairly decent appetizer, I felt maybe it wasn't warm enough. Taste wise was alright, but not quite as full of flavour as I had expected; the outer layer was good, but the inside was a tad bland. A little smaller portion for an appetizer.

Smoked Salmon and Poached Pear | with chive cream, this was a rather normal tasting appetizer. The smoked salmon was nothing special, nothing I haven't had or can't buy off the supermarkets. The poached pear, however, was quite good, very juicy and tender.

Ontario Lamb Chops with Mint and Merlot Reduction | with mashed potatoes, one of the better lamb chops I've had. Served medium rare, it was very tender and bursting full of flavor. The mint and merlot reduction give it a little bit of kick to the flavour, which was nice. Portions were very good as well. The mashed potatoes were very well textured, but a tad on the dry side. I couldn't have anymore once I ran out of gravy. I would highly suggest getting this instead of the char if you're dining here for winterlicious; overall, it was a superb entree.

Ginger and Roasted Peppercorn Crusted Arctic Char | with saffron beurre blanc, the first thing that came to mind was, "that's it?" The portions were paltry compared to the lamb chops. However, where it lacked in size, it made up in quality. The waitress had described it as almost anti-fish, and she was right. It was well cooked yet very tender, juicy, and did not have one ounce of any kind of gamey scent, which left a very pleasant taste. Decent entree overall.

Maple Creme Brulee | this ranks right up among the best brulees I've ever had; this was one of the things JW's is famous for, and they certainly didn't disappoint. However, the top maple layer might have been a little bit too sweet. It was also quite an interesting experience just attempting to eat it; I messed up with the first one I got, as the top maple layer was too thick, so I couldn't dig through to the brulee underneath. When I finally got through, my brulee pretty much exploded all over the place. The chef apologized, saying that because the brulees had become mass produced due to winterlicious, some of the top maple layers were a little too thick, and I ended up with one of them. However, in the end, the experience did not put a dent at all into the superb dessert. One small complaint I would probably have is that the brulee was so smooth, it was almost too much like pudding. However, if you mix in the maple with the brulee, it gives quite an interesting taste experience - sort of a crunchy dessert. Be sure to mix it well, since the maple alone is overbearing. If you're here for a normal dining night, be sure to get this.

Pelee Island Winery 2002 VQA Ontario Merlot | half-bottle, $20. Very smooth, decent body, medium viscosity. The taste wasn't perhaps as dry as I'd prefer for a merlot, but still decent overall. Note to more inexperienced wine tasters: half bottles tend to age much quicker, sometimes even twice or three times as quick as a normal bottle, making many recently produced bottles ready to go by the time they arrive at your dinner table.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, none of the items we had, with the exception of the brulee and the merlot, were on the regular dining menu, so that made things a little difficult to compare. We were also disappointed that we couldn't get steak, considering JW's is a steakhouse. Service was also a little below average in terms of attention to detail, but manners wise was top notch; the maitre d' was especially friendly and well-mannered. However, again to detail, he took our coats when we arrived, but when we were on our way out, we had to get our coats ourselves; also, they didn't inform me that I needed a pass for complimentary valet parking, so I had to go back and get the pass or else pay full price for the valet. Our waitress didn't offer us more bread nor water, and only filled up the water cup of whoever asked for it - Jon asked for water, she filled his cup, but Amelia's was next to empty and she was ignored until she asked for water as well. However, overall the experience was quite pleasant. Ambience was very relaxed and comfortable, high class without being overly pretentious. The waitress did take time to explain to us what was what, and gave us some tips on wine tasting. No rush at all through the dinner, and prices for normal dining don't seem unreasonable. I'd definitely come back.


out of 5.0


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