Best New Restaurants 2012: No. 2 Acadia

Best New Restaurants 2012: No. 2 Acadia

Best New Restaurants 2012: 2 Acadia

Chef Matt Blondin

The cuisine is billed as Acadian—the cooking of South Carolina and Louisiana married to the briny flavours of the Maritimes, refracted through modern French techniques. If it sounds high-concept, that’s because it sprang from the mind of chef Matt Blondin, who came up through the modernist kitchen at Colborne Lane during the molecular gastronomy craze of the early aughties. Determined, creative and fanatically precise, Blondin turns out complex dishes that buzz with originality. He pairs four cubes of luscious North Atlantic albacore tuna with the smoky, soulful zing of a southern dry rub. Rich gumbo, made with black rice grits, spicy tasso ham and prawns, is as colourful and comforting as a sunset. Cod cheeks battered with blue cornmeal are downright rococo, served on a multi­coloured column of pickled shrimp, sugarcane chow chow and pear squash. The artful plating—curlicues of bitter chocolate over veal cheek, scallops topped with paper-thin chicken crackling and Parmesan shards—is not only visually playful, it builds layers of flavour that surprise and delight diners, dish after dish. Acadia is a restaurant that soars above its pretensions, taking southern cooking in Toronto from barbecue to baroque. 50 Clinton St., 416-792-6002. See our listing for more information »

Steelhead Salmon with Fennel, Persimmon and Andouille Jerky

(Images: Raina and Wilson)