What’s on the menu at Casa Madera, the swanky new Mexican-Mediterranean restaurant inside 1 Hotel Toronto

What’s on the menu at Casa Madera, the swanky new Mexican-Mediterranean restaurant inside 1 Hotel Toronto

Name: Casa Madera
Contact: 550 Wellington St. W., 416-601-3593, thecasamadera.com, @thecasamadera
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Noble 33, a U.S.-based restaurant group with properties in Los Angeles, London and Scottsdale
Executive chef: Olivier Le Calvez (El Catrin)
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Helmed by Olivier Le Calvez—a half-Mexican, half-French chef who has spent much of his life bouncing between Paris and Mexico City—it’s no surprise the kitchen is churning out cuisine without borders. The menu mixes Mexican and Mediterranean flavours—think a very Franco take on a carnitas taco that swaps out pineapple and pork for duck confit and orange.

Although Le Calvez refined the menu, it’s a collaborative effort. Noble 33’s co-founders Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha, and the corporate executive chef AJ McCloud, were just as involved. For them, ensuring every dish added a soupçon of theatricality to each table was paramount. Expect flames, dry ice, dishes served on hot rocks, and over-the-top, American-sized mains like an epic seafood tower piled high with top shelf Piscean delights.

This Aleppo pepper-spiced hummus is served with house-baked pitas. $22.

 

The beet and jicama salad, served on a bed of whipped goat cheese, and topped with candied walnuts and orange segments, can also be made vegan. $24.

 

Big-ticket proteins might be the showstoppers at Casa Madera, but there’s also an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan offerings. On top of the menu’s plant-based options, a number of the dishes, such as the ceviche blanco, can be made vegan. Here, they’ve swapped out striped bass for roasted yellow beets, but the rest—grapefruit supremes, citrus marinade, fennel flowers, habanero, aji amarillo and pepitas—is the same. $18.

 

Here, a classic carnitas taco has been given a duck à l’orange makeover. Pork has been swapped out for duck legs poached in duck fat and orange peels. Served with orange supremes, red onion, serrano peppers, garlic crema and a chipotle cherry salsa atop nixtamalized tortillas by local tortilleria, Maizal. $24.

 

Although many of the dishes blend Mediterranean and Mexican flavours, there are a handful of more traditional options on the menu, too, like these tiger shrimp tacos topped with avocado tomatillo salsa and jalapeño cabbage. $24.

 

This is the most luxe of the three sea food towers on offer. It comes with Kaviari caviar, grilled Gulf of Mexico shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, Nova Scotian lobster tail served two ways (poached and turned into lobster cocktail), steamed mussels, clams and a dozen seasonal Canadian oysters. $325.

 

Here’s another very extra option: a Fred Flintstone-appropriate, 32-ounce wagyu tomahawk steak. It comes with truffled potatoes and confited tomatoes, roasted garlic and smoked butter ($295). If that isn’t enough, for an additional $25 they’ll shave a generous portion of truffles on top.

 

Although this plate’s portion size isn’t eye-popping, its price tag is. This Kobe A5 comes from a Japanese farmer who hand feeds his steers and only slaughters 10 cows per month—five of which are then sent to Casa Madera. The foamy garnish? Well that’s whiskey barrel–aged soy air. $110.

 

Salted caramel and chocolate truffle served with Swiss meringue, vanilla pavlova kisses, chocolate crumble, crunchy almonds and chocolate ice cream. $22.

 

This gold-painted chocolate orb is filled with peanut butter–chocolate mousse. On the side, there’s cashew agave brittle, oat granola and mango sorbet. $30.

 

Executive chef Olivier Le Calvez
The drinks

Cocktails are the drink program’s focus here. The menu—created by Carla Lorenzo, Noble 33’s L.A.-based corporate beverage director—is divided into the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. “Each cocktail is meant to be mini experience that evokes a sense of place,” says Lorenzo.

Mayahuel, one of the “earth” cocktails, is named after the Aztec goddess of agave because this a mezcal-based bracer. The drink comes together with fresh pineapple juice mixed with a kiwi-prickly pear puree, lime, mint, and twee Fernet sidecar as a garnish. $25.

 

Flip to the “water” portion of the menu to find Quintana Roo, a mezcal-based play on a margarita meant to transport you to the beaches of Tulum. The drink’s Caribbean Sea colour comes from blue spirulina agave. $25.

 

Cielo Nocturno is an unapologetically extra Aperol Spritz. It’s served with flair (peach essential oil-infused dry ice is wafted over the drink tableside) and garnished with edible glitter and dried butterfly pea flowers. The actual cocktail is made with Cocchi Americano, peach liqueur, white port, lemon and prosecco. $23.

 

Playa Paraiso is also served with a side of aromatherapy. The dry ice is infused with eucalyptus and cinnamon. Once the fog fades, you’re left with a mix of blanco tequila, fresh watermelon juice, coconut water, Benedictine, lime and agave. $25.

 

Those other drinks had smoke, this one has fire. The Solstice comes to the table with a passion fruit husk set ablaze. It’s a sweet-and-citrusy blend of blanco tequila, passion fruit syrup, a tri-pepper juice (orange, red, yellow bell pepper), lemon juice and Grand Marnier. $25.

 

La Fuente is one of the zero-proof cocktails on offer: a mix of Seedlip Grove, coconut water and blue spirulina is garnished with a snap pea blossom and a coral-evoking tuille. $21.

 

Group shot!

 

The space

With a name that translates to “wood house,” it’s not surprising that Casa Madera is awash in wood. Rockwell Group, the designers behind the 1 Hotel Toronto, brought their eco-aesthetic into the 180-seat dining room.

Timberlost, a Toronto artist known for using foraged, dried flowers in her installations, also created multiple pieces for the restaurant, including this one.
The live edge tables were created by Just Be Woodsy, Toronto artisans who repurpose about-to-die city trees.

 

There’s plenty of greenery enlivening the space, including dozens of ivy plants spangling the rafters.