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Reviewed February 10, 2004   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Pangaea

1221 Bay St. - Yorkville, Toronto, Canada
Quail | grilled, on pumpkin seed polenta, onion & apple jam, rosemary jus, $14. This was very pleasantly surprising how good it was. The quail was very tender and juicy throughout. Small for an appetizer, but typical size of quail. The polenta was an nice complement to the quail, with the exception that they could have told me it was mashed potatoes and I couldn't tell the difference. The onion & apple jam were placed separately on the dish for good reason: they were completely out of place, and really had no business being part of the otherwise nice appetizer.

Rainbow Trout | pan-seared, on corn and potato chowder, with foie gras butter, $29. The good: the corn and potato chowder with foie gras butter. Simply incredible. I couldn't get enough of it dipped on my trout. Which leads me to the bad: the trout had a very gamey taste, which disappointed me. If it wasn't for the chowder, I would be give this entree a very marginal rating. However, the trout was soft and well-seared without being overly crispy. Portions were average. A good entree overall, but not great.

Lamb Shank | braised, on barley with stilton, roasted vegetables, in truffled braising juices, $38. Very tender entree, with surprisingly good portions. The shank was still on the bone, and the roasted vegetables were a nice touch. The lamb was a little too salty, but otherwise still a decent entree overall.

Winter Bread Pudding | with whipped ricotta cheese, wild berry preserves, and vanilla cream, $12. Incredibly disappointing of a dessert; it was nothing more than a well-prepared sponge cake that wasn't even that good. If you're going to give me a dessert like this, at least don't give me a dessert spoon. For the love of God, give me a fork instead. Very unpleasant experience, which really disappointed me since Pangaea is supposed to be famous for their desserts; well-known pastry chef Joanne Yolles's desserts are supposed to be "sublime". They weren't at all in this case.

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Following Review by Matt Mark

Honeydew Soup | While I've never had the pleasure of sampling cold soups before, this was a fine introduction into this category. With it's subtle flavouring and a smooth texture, I'd definitely recommend this appetizer.

Grill pressed chicken, on parmesan polenta with roasted vegetables and fresh sage | Who would have thought that chicken could be so good? While trying to be reasonably conservative, this was probably the best chicken dish I've ever had (note though, concerning meat, I'm a big beef fan - tenderloin and prime rib please :P).

Fresh summer berries on sweet pastry with whipped mascarpone cheese | Nothing spectacular, I'm admittedly partial towards rich chocolate cakes.

VQA Red Wine | For an extra $10 for a glass, I said 'what the heck'. While I'm still learning the ropes of wine tasting, I appreciate a glass of wine during dinner. I don't remember the particulars, but this sample of VQA was decent, moderately dry.

Ambiance | This is where I lost out, probably because I was facing into a cubby area where we were seated. The white wall was sort of bare and boring, and it was quite dim, which probably helped =) I think my other companions facing out enjoyed the environment much more.

Service | If a stiff manner is desirable in a good serviceman, I think the service was pretty good. Our waiter would hide around the corner and keep looking to see if I would hail him over.. ah whatever, you're there with company and not dining with the waiters.

Conclusion: Canadian cuisine that was both okay yet underwhelming at the same time. Service was only passable; other than to fill up my glass, they didn't check on how we were doing, or even if we were ready to order. Presentation of food was below average. Complimentary bread was very average, and the roasted artichokes that came with it wasn't that great. Ambience was quite nice, however. Interesting that at 8:15pm, they decided to dim the lights on the entire restaurant. It felt quite cozy and comfortable. Prices for normal dining are tolerable. Overall, I wouldn't mind coming back to this restaurant, but there are many better ones out there. The only parking available is paid meter parking on the street or in the covered Green P lot. (Justin)

I'll have to rerate, according to a rating system that I haven't created yet =) (Matt)

2.9

Justin's out of 5.0

4.2

Matt's out of 5.0

noteworthy
ambience


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