Concession Road brings Gallic goodness to St. Clair West
Concession Road ★★½
760 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-658-0460
The latest arrival on St. Clair West is a French bistro disguised as a sparse Copenhagen café: the walls are white and bare, the tables are pale salvaged birch, and the glass pendant lamps resemble Cinderella’s soap bubbles. The food, however, is ornate Gallic goodness. There’s a terrific kohlrabi salad with lentils, artichoke hearts and oven-roasted tomatoes, the acidic crunch offset by a funky walnut-truffle vinaigrette. It’s a much better starter than three gummy seared scallops, which languish in a bland apple-fennel purée and a bizarre spiced vanilla oil that smells like Bath and Body Works. A salt-crusted rack of lamb has a lovely scarlet centre, surrounded by creamy fava beans and a lip-tingling chili-mint jus. But the evening’s most surprising treat is a steamed skate wing stuffed with lobster mousse and circled by a puddle of pinot noir sauce; it sounds like an ’80s gimmick, but the skate is delicately fishy, the pulled crustacean soft and sweet, and the sauce rich and tart. For dessert, a fresh vanilla semifreddo soaks up rhubarb “soup” (better known as juice) and tangy Niagara icewine jellies, but the seasonality stops there: the stodgy, icing-sugared chocolate cake comes with flavourless hothouse blueberries and blackberries. The wine list, created by Scaramouche sommelier Peter Boyd, features an affordable international mix, but, like all new status-seeking restaurants, Concession Road also has an absinthe service for Capone-era cocktails.