What’s on the menu at Ascari, the Leslieville restaurant’s new King West location

What’s on the menu at Ascari, the Leslieville restaurant’s new King West location

Name: Ascari
Contact: 620 King St. W., 416-366-3673, ascari.ca/kingwest, @ascarienoteca
Neighbourhood: King West
Owner: Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli of Ascari Hospitality Group (Ascari Enoteca, Hi-Lo Bar, Gare de l’Est Brasserie)
Chefs: Executive chef John Sinopoli and chef de cuisine Michael Lam (Il Covo, New York’s the Modern, Sydney’s Quay)
Accessibility: Accessible entrance and washroom

The food

A seasonally changing menu featuring modern interpretations of classic Italian plates and house-made pastas that, according to Lam, include no more than three main ingredients. Lunch offers lighter options like olive-oil poached yellowfin tuna (with blistered peppers, Castelvetrano olives, capers, basil, anchovy dressing) or mushroom-stuffed chicken dressed with jus served with roasted baby potatoes or salad. Coming soon: weekend brunch, with things like poached eggs and caponata on toast.

The Capesante alla Veneziana features a trio of scallops on the half shell with cucumber, Umbrian lentils for texture, and parsley. $18.

 

This iteration of the seasonal Insalata di Burrata features Wisconsin burrata (in the restaurant’s blind taste test, it trumped the Pugliese kind) surrounded by a spring pea and baby gem salad finished with mint crumb. $21.

 

The Orata Crudo brings Mediterranean sea bream, compressed rhubarb, pistachio vinaigrette and Sicilian olive oil. $18.

 

Lam’s Agnolotti di Zucchini tops the ricotta- and mascarpone-stuffed pasta with fried zucchini flower petals, a mushroom purée and brown butter zabaglione. $25.

 

The gluten-free Baccala alla Vicentina con Polenta tops soft Bramata polenta with milk-braised salt cod, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano and crispy shallots. $25.

 

One of the few dishes that migrated from the east side, the popular Spaghetti alla Carbonara includes house-cured guanciale, pecorino, egg yolk and black pepper. $23.

 

The Ippoglosso features a seared filet of Pacific halibut with leek, fregola and pickled pearl onion. $36.

 

Crostata al Limone con Pinoli is a lemon tart made with a pine nut–studded shortcrust pastry. It’s topped with a pine nut tuile and icing sugar. $12.

 

The drinks

A selection of unique and seasonal local large-format beers, signature cocktails made with Italian wines and spirits, and a wine program curated by sommelier Mik Piltz with a focus on the high-elevation wines of the Italian mountain ranges. Coming soon: an aperitivo hour.

The Sole Fruttata is made with Rinomato Americano aperitivo, Tio Pepe fino sherry, Vecchia Romagna brandy, dry vermouth, house-made plum-cardamom shrub, and walnut and orange bitters. It’s garnished with slices of cardamom plum. $16.

 

Burdock’s Ero III (made with Montmorency cherries and pinot noir) is on the current list of bottled beer.

 

A few of the Sicilian bottles on the current wine list.

 

The space

Named after Italian race car driver Alberto Ascari, who was known for his interest in food and wine, the Joven Huard–designed space contains mid-century Milanese-style that has an indoor-outdoor vibe. Divided into three sections, the 110-seat restaurant features a communal piazza in the centre flanked by a window-lined dining room and a cozy alcove that can be used for private events for up to 50 guests. A street-side patio has room for another 24 people.

Here’s the communal area, or the piazza.

 

And again.

 

It’s flanked by this dining room.

 

And this dining space that can be reserved for private parties.

 

Photos of race car driver Alberto Ascari.

 

The open kitchen.

 

And the bar.