The Commodore’s Jon Vettraino excels at small plates
The Commodore ★★★
1265 Queen St. W., 416-537-1265
At this maritime-inspired Parkdale room helmed by ex–416 Snack Bar chef Jon Vettraino, cubes of roasted kuri squash served with a tart ramp leaf purée, croutons, cashews and anchovy butter evoke holiday stuffing in the best way. The Hard Salad is a pimped-out caesar with pickled turnips, purple and sharp, mellowed by savoury fried shallots, shaved almonds and a dusting of grana padano. A wee portion of swordfish crudo is fresh and cool, but ultimately overwhelmed by all its accompaniments: pickled sea asparagus, Trinidad peppers, shiso, mustard seeds and crispy chicken skin. The duck confit crêpe—like a fancy Vietnamese banh xeo—is seasoned with sweet mayo, chilies, peanuts and mint (pictured above). The two lone desserts, an apple-and-almond streusel tart and a pumpkin pudding, are both excellent.