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Reviewed March 15, 2004   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Courthouse Market Grille

57 Adelaide St. East - Adelaide/Yonge, Toronto
Pan Fried Crab Cakes | Two morsels of completely soft, completely delicate crab with a thinly deep-fried exterior. It smelled great and didn't taste greasy at all. I wasn't told whether a pinkish-mayonnaise like sauce that came with my dish, was the sauce for the cakes, but I tried putting some on it and it seemed to match. Served with a few sprigs of arugula-like greens, but I can't be sure.

Lobster Risotto, Natural Reduction | Now, as Justin can tell you, I never understood risotto so I'm probably not the best person to rate risotto. But I was rather disappointed at the yellow, grainy risotto that had the consistency of porridge or (this didn't exactly help!) tapioca. I couldn't taste lobster at all. And my friend, who does know risotto, says it was definitely too mushy.

Grilled Lamb Chops, Mini Pesto and Tomato Chutney | The best dish in my tasting menu. The portion was small, but the lamb was perfectly tender and aromatic with herbs of some sort (sorry, I don't know my basil from oregano). The meat came off the bone fairly easily and I was tempted to use my hands and gnaw on the bone ;) The pesto and tomato chutney - which was more like a sweet tomato salsa - were great complements to the meat.

Chicken Satays, with Lemon Grass Mayo and Peanut Sauce | Oops, so I guess that mayo sauce was for the chicken, not the crab cakes! =D I was indifferent about this dish, since I find chicken satays a pretty generic item that can't be improved upon much, from your run-of-the-mill Thai/Asian fusion restaurant. There's nothing to complain about - very tender chicken skewers, with a real peanutty peanut sauce, but otherwise not spectacular.

Salmon Sashimi, "Modern" Style | This is an example of white people branching out to Asian cuisine, which probably impresses most Canadian diners but fails to impress anyone Chinese because we've had it before. It was four thin, rectangular slices of raw salmon with what tasted like hoisin sauce and a few sprigs of green onion, coarsely chopped, on top of it. The sauce tasted like the one you have with peking duck! So although it was indeed a 'modern' take on sashimi, it didn't really work for me because I thought, this usually goes with peking duck and in general it was just too salty to go with something as smoothly sweet as raw salmon.

Conclusion: First off, to explain: I had a tasting menu, aptly named the "Juror's Box" (and I went with my law friends too! =D)) which I thought was a bargain for $22.50. On weekends the items in the box are set, but on other days you can choose from a list of about 10 items. And the presentation was very unique, as well - I expected a bento box but instead I got a three-tiered rack with 2 dishes on each layer. Although it blocked my view of my friends, it was fun to eat from! The ambience of this place is really something - apparently it's a historical courthouse, so there are high ceilings and marble pillars and gilded mirrors that cover the entire back wall, very grand dining feeling. I had a nice round table right in the middle of the dining room. The rest of the menu ranges from $17 for pasta to $36 for a 12 oz striploin, so it's fairly reasonable.

3.7

Adrian's out of 5.0

2.0

Renee's out of 5.0

noteworthy
ambience
value


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