Introducing: Michael’s on Simcoe, a new downtown steakhouse from the old manager of Harbour Sixty
This TIFF season was a busy one for the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe, with the opening of the new Shangri-La Hotel and Soho House Toronto. Just around the corner, Michael’s On Simcoe opened briefly during the festival and saw visits from the likes of Marion Cotillard, Emily Blunt and Colin Firth. The titular Michael is owner Michael Dabic, who worked as a general manager at Harbour Sixty for almost 10 years before striking out on his own. Unsurprisingly, his new restaurant, now open to the public, is squarely aimed at the suits in the financial district across University Avenue, with a menu that features steak, seafood and modern Italian.
The ultra-modern space was designed by Thomas Tampold and Eliana Diamond of Yorkville Design Centre. The dining room’s centerpiece is a glittering, painstakingly hand-assembled, 600-piece Murano glass feature flanked by plush, semi-circular banquettes. High-tech features include state-of-the-art LED mood lighting and three vanishing 55” TV screens built into the mirrors behind the bar. (Also of note for the folks behind the Canada’s Best Bathroom competition: the women’s bathroom features Toto Neorest bidets.)
In the kitchen is chef Boris Babic (formerly of A1 Autostrada in Concord), who focuses on the meat and seafood side, while sous chef Steve Morsi executes the Italian dishes, making pasta from scratch daily. The menu features appetizers like a seafood salad ($22) with scallop, shrimp, octopus, fennel and olives and a classic beet carpaccio ($12). The Italian mains feature luxe ingredients: the ravioli ($29) is topped with pieces of poached lobster, and the risotto ($29), naturally, is truffled. Steaks are all hand-selected USDA Prime, with cuts that have been dry- or wet-aged from 21 to 35 days. Prices start at $28 for a 7-ounce tenderloin and stretch up to $64 for a porterhouse. The wine list is a work in progress, currently offering about 150 labels, and, behind the bar, the focus is on those classic steak liquors: scotch and bourbon.