Four of Toronto’s best food splurges

Four of Toronto’s best food splurges

Despite the ascendancy of comfort food, some occasions still require more than a tricked-out sandwich. These four posh dishes are worth the splurge.

The chitarroni all'astaco from Mistura (Photo by Daniel Shipp) 

CHITARRONI ALL’ASTACO
Handmade spaghetti noodles are tossed with sweet chunks of lobster meat in a sublime sauce of ripe tomato and buttery-soft leeks, with a flicker of red chili–ginger heat. Every part of the palate is brought to life by layer upon layer of flavour. $22. Mistura.

HAMO WAN SOUP
To honour Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri festival in July, Masaki Hashimoto builds a menu around this eel-like fish, flown in fresh from Japan. Fluffy poached morsels of the delicate white flesh, meticulously deboned, arrive in an ethereal hamo stock refreshed with a sugar snap pea purée. A slice of Japanese squash rests in the bowl like the new moon reflected in a pool. The braid of subtle flavours is as refined as the artful presentation. Six-course prix fixe $150. Hashimoto.

BLACK ANGUS RIB-EYE STEAK
A hulking 32-ounce, 36-day-aged cut from Nebraska is first seared in a cast iron pan, then finished under an 1,800° F Montague broiler. The result is an impossibly tender, pink slab with a caramelized crust. Served on the bone on a platter all its own, it’s simply the best piece of beef we’ve eaten all year. $96-$121. Jacobs and Co.

FRESH SOFT-SHELL CRAB
One impossibly plump blue crab is sheathed in a whisper-thin tempura batter, then quickly deep-fried. The result is a body full of sweet meat, and crunchy, oily tentacles, best dipped in sweet ponzu sauce (ordered separately). This treat only comes around once a year (May’s full moon marks soft-shell crab season), which is probably for the best, given the $21-per-tiny-crab price tag. Ematei.