Where Four Seasons Toronto chef Nicholas Trosien gets to-go spicy tuna rolls, hot rabbit sandwiches and peanut butter pie

Where Four Seasons Toronto chef Nicholas Trosien gets to-go spicy tuna rolls, hot rabbit sandwiches and peanut butter pie

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

Photo by Keith Tanner

More Takeout Diaries

We’re more than a year into the pandemic, but Four Seasons Toronto chef Nicholas Trosien remains optimistic. He likes to look for the silver lining in any circumstance. “I enjoy ordering takeout and seeing what everyone else in the industry is doing. I love to see how hard the culinary community has fought during Covid, and how creative so many restaurants and chefs have been. It’s been inspiring and motivating for me.” Meanwhile, Trosien has kept busy cooking up takeout for the Four Season’s two restaurants, Café Boulud and d|bar. He adds that for those seeking a staycation of sorts, the hotel is still open and providing in-room dining for guests.

The pandemic has also given Trosien space to explore other passions and hobbies he wouldn’t normally have had the time for, like gardening, bread making and painting. But most importantly, it’s allowed him to spend quality time with his wife, Carmen. “She’s my best friend and I’ve cherished the additional time we’ve been given to spend together.” When they don’t feel like cooking, the couple support the culinary community by ordering takeout and delivery. Here are a few of their favourite spots to get meals to go.


225 King St. W., #100, 416-519-9182, minamitoronto.com, @minamitoronto

“Minami is a new restaurant that I just have to mention—it has to be one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. The food offered here is clean and sophisticated Japanese cuisine with French flair—it’s perfect for a date-night in. The takeout menu also happens to include a great selection of craft cocktails and wines that pair well with each dish, including a version of my favourite drink, the Miku negroni. I have a huge love for Japanese culture and studied the language for many years. Japanese food was probably the first cuisine I fell in love with, and I have so much respect for the history, minimalism and techniques.”

Go-to item 1: Spicy tuna roll
Tasting notes: “The spicy tuna roll is probably on every sushi menu around the world, however, this has honestly been the best version I have ever tasted. The spice level is perfect, and each piece leaves you craving another. The sushi rice is always perfectly seasoned and properly cooked. The flavour of the roll is so clean and delicious that I do not even eat it with soy sauce.”

Go-to item 2: Charred broccolini
Tasting notes: “Goma-ae is always a favourite of mine, however, this is my first time experiencing it with charred broccolini. It works perfectly. I have enjoyed spinach goma-ae, but the water content of the spinach diluted the sesame flavour where the broccolini enhanced it. Goma-ee eats extremely savoury, with a lot of depth and umami from the sesame, and the broccolini has great texture and a natural bitterness, which I love. You can also really taste the grill on the broccolini—you can taste the char with each bite.”

Go-to item 3: Salmon oshi
Tasting notes: “This roll is absolutely beautiful—a perfectly pressed rectangle of sushi rice that has clean lines and a beautiful presentation. It’s topped with salmon and finished with a thin slice of chilli. The fattiness of the salmon shines in this dish, while the little bite of chilli adds a bold flavour that complements the sushi. This is another piece of sushi that I do not have to season with soy sauce. I enjoy the natural flavours so much they didn’t need to be masked.”

Go-to item 4: Miku negroni
Tasting notes: “This is a twist on an old classic made with Beefeater gin, Campari, Dolin’s Rouge vermouth, Yama Yuzu sake and a dehydrated orange wheel. This cocktail packs a punch while still being well balanced. The addition of the sake enhances it, while still providing delicious bitterness and beautiful citrus essence.”

Antler Kitchen and Bar

1454 Dundas St. W., 647-345-8300, antlerkitchenbar.com, @antlerkitchenbar

“Antler is a great restaurant and there’s have an amazing team behind it. Chef Michael Hunter and the chef de cuisine, Lewis Black Wilkins, are consistently cooking inspired, no-fuss, rustic Canadian food with a focus on wild game and local ingredients. I always enjoy their house-made charcuterie and cheese board, which is delicious and a craft I truly respect!”

Go-to item 1: House charcuterie
Tasting notes: “Antler likes to showcase their love for wild game in their selection of house-made charcuterie. Some memorable highlights have included duck prosciutto, wild boar pancetta, duck terrine and chicken liver mousse. The team does a great job balancing cured meats—which usually eat fatty and salty, like the duck prosciutto and boar pancetta—while still offering classic French items, like their duck confit terrine that is savoury and less salty. One of my favourite cheeses they’ve served is Bleu D’Elizabeth, as I am a lover of most blue cheeses. The selection on the board changes often, but it’s always delicious.”

Go-to item 2: Bison ribeye
Tasting notes: “Chef Hunter always allows ingredients to shine, and this dish is a great example of just that. The bison is from Alberta and the culinary team ages it in-house. This dish is served with roasted mushrooms and delicious crispy frites.”

Go-to item 3: Hot rabbit sandwich
Tasting notes: “This is one of those craveable items on the menu. It’s a fun take on a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. The rabbit is first marinated in a spicy buttermilk marinade for 48 hours, then deep-dredged with seasoned flour and, finally, deep-fried. It’s topped with smoked cheddar, coleslaw and pickles, and finished with house-made maple hot sauce. There’s a perfect balance of flavour and texture. The rabbit is moist and juicy on the inside, yet crispy on the outside. The hot sauce is sweet and spicy, the coleslaw and cheese provide creaminess, and the pickles add some acidity.”


Heygertie.com, @gerties.to

“Gertie’s is all about sweet pies. It’s named after Il Covo chef Ryan Campbell’s mother, Gerda, and it’s a fairly new operation. It’s a small-scale operation with a focus on creating jobs and supporting the local community.”

Go-to item: Peanut butter pie
Tasting notes: “I love peanut butter, and these pies are a sinful snack in the best way possible. Currently, you can choose a honey or caramel filling. I have tried both flavours and they’re are equally rich and delicious. The pie has great textures, as there is a creamy peanut butter mousse in the filling and crunchy toasted peanuts on top. The crumb is also very soft and tender, and you can tell that it’s truly made with a lot of love. While I do not eat these with anything else—they’re already so good on their own—I could see some ice cream working well them. I can’t wait to see how the product line expands in the future!”