The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy? Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them my choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
2nd Floor Events – 461 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4, (416) 263-0122
Traditionally, I write my Daniel’s Dish visits in regards to restaurants in the city of Toronto. But every now and again, an experience is so memorable and outside of my regular restaurant structure, that I simply have to tell you all about it. This is the case in regards to 2nd Floor Events launching their new catering menu and customizable event packages. I recently had the opportunity to join an intimate group of media colleagues for the launch of this new service, and I have to say I was blown away by the experience. I have always had nothing but good experiences when it comes to event catering and this was no exception!
Not only have we attended events at 2nd floor events in the past and enjoyed the fact that the space is so different during each visit, but the fact that it also now has in-house catering allows you the ability to enjoy that one-stop-shop experience when building your event.
The space itself is a unique one in the heart of downtown Toronto being that it is HUGE. Not only does it boast a beautiful full length bar, but also is actually the perfect canvas to build upon for any theme you can think of. I would go so far as to say it’s actually beautiful just the way it is without any addition with it’s high ceilings and wood accents. BU, if you’re like me and enjoy creating something unique and one of a kind, this is one of the best venues to do so.
Along with a knowledgeable team and experienced culinary staff behind the scenes, the catering menu is one with options available to please any crowd and any size function up to 350 people standing. I think one of my favourite things about the menu that I learnt is that each item available can be made in full size serving or hors d’oeuvres presentation. Whether you want a formal meal or rather passed bites of delicious food, the possibilities really are endless.
Of the items that I had the opportunity to try, and in typical Daniel’s Dish style, I have selected the items that best represented the skill and ability to wow your guests when thinking about your next event.
The full length bar amenities offer anything you can think of when it comes to a cocktail to sip on during an event. While we enjoyed wine with dinner, that’s not to say that you couldn’t create a signature drink for the evening with the staff of 2nd Floor Events. Not only are the bartenders knowledgeable and friendly, but they aren’t hard on the eyes either… if you catch my drift. The process of building your bar experience is as simple as 1, 2, 3!
1. Choose your Bar Structure.
2. Choose your Bar Level.
3. Choose your Bar Add On’s (optional).
The ability to plan the alcoholic components of your event all while choosing the experience, decor AND food all with one main contact truly help to create a sense of unison from start to finish. No more are the days of several event planners, caterings and event decor people. 1 person. 1 event. The end.
Being that I plan a LOT of events at my day job, it leaves me assured to know that the next time I need a work function in the heart of Toronto that isn’t stuffy or restricted to restaurant availability, I can pick up the phone and call my friends at 2nd Floor Events. Personally, I also see many nights ahead with media and family alike being enjoyed along the vibrant atmosphere of King Street West.
Of the few appetizers I had the opportunity to try throughout the night, the Baby Arugula Salad with Duck Prosciutto was my favourite. Traditionally speaking, you don’t see prosciutto that isn’t pork on a menu these days. The upscale interpretation offers the balance of salty duck combined with a bitter green salad, candied walnuts, empire apple cider dressing and a beautiful presentation. In my opinion, it was a great introduction to the aesthetics of the food available on the menu and the skill of the chefs in the kitchen. Light, playful and with just the right amount of finesse, I ate every bit of my plate and may have asked Julio to share his with me as well.
In other Daniel’s Dish visits, I would pick one main course and speak to it’s ability to capture the essence of the restaurant. With the catering aspect factored in to this particular feature, I simply couldn’t limit myself to just one item because I don’t think it would have showcased the variety available to you. So… I had three dinners. Is that too much? Maybe. But you only live once!
#1 – Pan Seared Sea Scallop with Heirloom Carrot Purée. I mean… need I say more? Sweet scallops seared to perfection are plated alongside a sweet and savoury carrot purée in an elegant combination of taste and texture. Add to the mix Forbidden Rice (not my favourite thing I tried, but I’m also not a huge rice person) and star anise and you’ve got a seafood based dish that should capture the eye of your guests as well as their hearts.
#2 – Line Caught Pickerel with Peruvian Blue Potato. I think this was my favourite dish of the entire night based upon the fact that it was so well executed. Pickerel, for those of you who are unaware, it a quintessential Ontario fish and a major industry in Canada. Light bodied with mild flavours, it offers the ability to be transformed in numerous ways depending upon how you want to cook it. In this particular instance, paired with potato, bacon, leeks and salsa verde, it became something I would expect at a five star restaurant. For those of you fish fans out there, this interpretation of a fish you’ve come to love, truly took me to another level insofar as the taste and sentiment of the dish. The ability to be served in a bitesize version also made me smile because it means that guests who wouldn’t want a full serving could enjoy it if you created a menu allowing them to have just a taste.
#3 – Finally, Julio’s favourite dish of the night (though, this will come as no shock to anyone who knows him)… The Pistachio Mint Crusted Ontario Lamb Rack with Chermoula Rub. For those of you like myself who weren’t previously aware, Chermoula is a “mixture of herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, garlic, cumin, and salt. It may also include onion, fresh coriander, ground chili peppers, black pepper, or saffron.” (thank you wikipedia) The Moroccan inspired addition to the dish truly showcased the capability to serve various kinds of food during your 2nd Floor Events visit. Paired with red & black quinoa, baby turnips and saffron jus, this middle eastern delicacy won over each and every guest during our visit.
These dishes all spoke to me in different ways and helped me to realize that no matter what your tastes or diet restrictions may be, there is something for everyone on the seasonally inspired menu. I would challenge you to not find atleast 1 item that would wow your guests and satisfy their appetite for delicious food in the heart of downtown Toronto.
If I could offer one piece of advise to the chefs of 2nd Floor Catering, it would be to not be so shy with the seasoning of the food. It could just be me, but I love bold flavours and sometimes the simple addition of a dash of sea or kosher salt can make the world of difference.
If I could sum up what a beautiful dessert means to me, it would be the following four words. Chocolate Pot au Crème. Not for the faint of heart, I would caution you when trying this perfect way to end a meal because it is so good you may want a second and third.
Intense milk chocolate is combined with fluffy whipped creme for what is the best balance of decadence in my opinion. I am partial to chocolate and this still has me smiling when I think back to enjoying it with a strong coffee or after dinner apératif. The ability to enjoy a beautiful dessert that is freshly made not only speaks to the space and event capabilities, but the time and dedication of the chefs who work tirelessly to create an experience in just one bite for you and your guests. After all, I’ve said it before, but food is the best way to travel the world without leaving your seat. It is the gateway to the soul.
Secret You Should Know:
Our PR maven friend Michelle Easton is no stranger to 2nd Floor Events and their catering abilities. She recently hosted her intimate New Year’s Eve wedding at the space and was able to customize an event so memorable that it was even featured in Wedding Bells Magazine! Be your event a wedding like no other as Michelle and her handsome husband created, an intimate work gathering, or just an excuse to get your friends together for a night to remember, I recommend you check out the new catering and event options at 2nd Floor Events today.
With events such as the famous “The Midnight MRKT” (see video below) and many others taking place year round, I would encourage you to like the 2nd Floor Events Facebook page and follow @2ndFloorEvents on Twitter and Instagram to stay in the know of the happenings taking place at this prime destination for food, fun and an event your guests will be talking about for months to come once you’ve experienced it for yourself. Use the #CityFood & #2ndFloorEventsCatering hashtags to join in on the social media conversation and to show us your favourite dish, decor item and of course drink upon your next event in the space.
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my #DoTheDaniel Instagram account.
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.