Best of the City 2012: four extravagant whole-beast feasts

Best of the City 2012: four extravagant whole-beast feasts

Best of the City: feasts

744 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-658-0568
Chef Nigel Finley at Catch, St. Clair West’s new sustainable seafood restaurant, brings in six-pound halibuts from P.E.I. He throws them on a broiler to achieve that irresistible charred flavour, then bakes them until they’re lusciously moist and debones the fish tableside with a few graceful slices. It sounds about as appealing as watching an episode of Dexter at dinner, but it’s oddly captivating. $185 for four to six.

96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000
At Beast, as the name suggests, chef Scott Vivian isn’t messing around when it comes to head-to-hoof cuisine. With a week’s notice, he’ll bring in an animal of your choice from an Ontario farm and turn every last part—from prime cuts to offal—into a six-course tasting menu fit for a Tudor. We recommend the lamb, from which he creates an elegant progression of plates, including roasted leg, braised neck and grilled ribs. $80–$100 per person.

169 Niagara St., 416-703-4222
If you tasted the heritage Chantecler chicken blindfolded, you’d almost think you were eating game—it’s that rich and flavourful. Edulis chef Michael Caballo bakes the bird with a tangle of alfalfa hay, foraged leeks, spring garlic and fresh bay leaves that impart an earthy flavour. He carves it reverently at the table and serves the luscious meat with summer vegetables and organic greens. $60 per chicken.

972 College St. W., 647-341-6769
With three days’ notice, Bestellen chef Rob Rossi will satisfy your Lord of the Flies fantasies. He brines a piglet from St. Jacob in lemon, rosemary and garlic, steams it for maximum succulence, then roasts it until the skin is gorgeously crackled. Half the fun is sampling (and fighting over) the multifarious cuts (the creamy, chalky brain is not to be missed); the other half is bragging about your primeval accomplishment afterward. $59 per person.

By Denise Balkissoon, Ariel Brewster, Andrew D’Cruz, Bronwen Jervis, Emily Landau, Signe Langford, Jason McBride, Mark Pupo, Peter Saltsman and Courtney Shea | Photograph by Liam Mogan. Styling by Heather Shaw/judy inc.