Nothing but the news
If any of you plan on being in Edmonton on June 12, come and join me for the first in a series of wine and food extravaganzas we’re calling Masters of Wine and Food. It’s a Bordeaux night and we’ll be opening some pretty stupendous wines, including 2004 Pavillon Blanc, 2003 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, 2002 Château Pichon Lalande Comtesse, 1995 Château Mouton Rothschild, 1990 Château Palmer, 1986 Château Beychevelle and 2003 Château Lafaurie Peyraguey, matched to wee tastings of delectable dishes from chef David O’Connor. A very good time will be had by all.
While I’m sitting here, boning up on my classified growths (that’s gonna leave a mark), a message wafts in through the open window, born on the breeze of gossip, and comes to rest on my keyboard. Well looky here: it’s from Scot Woods, the chef whose work at Habitat won such applause until his departure six months ago. He tells me he has been keeping busy doing stages at Sushi Kaji and Kaiseki-Sakura while honing his butchery skills at The Healthy Butcher on Queen West and travelling round France. He’s off to Chicago soon for a three-week stint at Alinea, then coming back to Toronto to open a new restaurant in partnership with the much-missed Simon Bower, whom I haven’t seen since YYZ ended up in the alphabet soup. They have signed a lease on the property at 36 Wellington Street East, currently home to Pravda Vodka Bar, take possession July 3rd, and plan to be open by mid-to-late August. It sounds to me like a very good duet. Bower is a hugely experienced restaurateur and front-of-house guy; no one can upsell a dish from the kitchen like Simon. Woods has talent coming out of his ears but needs a stable environment and the confidence and clout that comes with owning a piece of the action.
Another debut… Corinna Mozo is from Montreal with Cuban and French Canadian parents. She went to Stratford Chefs School, then moved to Boston where she garnered rave reviews for her work at Chez Henri, Truc and then Glory, in Andover. Now she’s moved to Toronto and will be opening a new place on the deeply trendy Ossington Avenue—number 92 to be precise, where The Sparrow once fluttered. Thinking ahead to a September opening, she envisions a menu of brasserie food, “the kind of stuff chefs like to eat after their shift,” plus some items from her own background such as Cuban empanadas and pressed sandwiches. Judging by the adulation of the Beantown scribes, we should count ourselves lucky.
And still more news… Ace manager and all-round good-sport-when-confronted-by-critic-in-fat-suit-and-wig Lynn Stimpson is leaving Cava for a new adventure. She and former Crush GM Derek Valleau are taking over JOV Bistro’s location on Bayview Avenue to open a new Indian restaurant (so far only Superman knows its name). While the food will be classic north Indian, the beef will be top notch, the desserts a revelation, the wine list as serious as satellite radio and the service as good as any you’ll get in the city—or so the promisers promise. The aim is to do for Toronto what Vikram Vij did for Vancouver. But I hope that, unlike Vij, they take reservations.