Last night my dearest colleagues and I went out for a celebratory meal at Mark McEwan's One in Yorkville.
It got too dark on the patio for photos of anything beyond the first course, but the Tasting of Ham with Mustard and Butter and the Lobster Spoons, Butter Braised with Vermouth, above, encapsulate the meal just fine on their own. And I realized last night that I've only ever eaten the worst and least-delicious prosciutto available, as this was creamy and buttery with none of that grisly stringiness found in most. Their house-made mustard was the grainiest I've ever met and perfection spread upon paper-thin, charred baguette and eaten with the four varieties of ham.
And the lobster. Oh, the lobster. I described it as edible silk pajamas. (That might have been the cocktails and lovely Napa Valley Pinot or simply my penchant for an f'd up simile.) Butter braised with vermouth. Rich and with the viscousness only booze can provide. Literally the best bite of food I've had . . . maybe ever.
You'll have to visualize the rest. Other firsts included the tuna sashimi, steaky and cold, and the heirloom tomato with watermelon and feta salad - colourful and fresh, as if grown and picked from under our table. Or how about the braised short ribs, syrupy and sweet, served with carrot and horseradish puree that Sheldon had, or the pickerel with mustard spaetzle and apple slaw that Kristin will not stop talking about. Or the hot fudge sundae with with sponge toffee . . . gah! Hungry yet?
At One the service was personal and sweet, efficient and exactly as attentive as necessary. Maren, our delightful server, read us like a book and cranked up the sass, even describing, for me, the gorgeous man down the way, whose face I couldn't manage to see. The atmosphere is swanky without being fussy, the casual patio as large as the more-formal dining room. Lurky (though pleasant) washroom attendant notwithstanding, it was one of those perfect dinners-out that comes rarely and stays with you a long time.
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If you live here and have spent any time eating, the above likely doesn't come as a surprise, as you undoubtedly know who celebrity-chef Mark McEwan is. (Soon he'll play Collichio in Canada's production of Top Chef!) Aside from a handful of our finest restaurants, McEwan also runs a posh grocery store and an out-of-this-world catering company. He and his team use only the finest ingredients, sourced locally, and even passionately age their own meat, all while filming their fly-on-the-wall television show, The Heat for the Food Network.