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!
The restaurant industry is one that I have loved for as long as I can remember. Be it for the 10 years that it was my home or for the fact that the journey I take with each new Daniel’s Dish reminds me of the romance of Food & Wine. Opening a new restaurant can be a difficult task to tackle, especially in a city like Toronto. But a rebrand can be even more difficult. Not only does rebranding come with the risk of losing your established clientele, but you must also prove to the food community why new customers should walk through your doors. Many turn to options often used by other industries (such as https://victoriousseo.com/verticals/ecommerce-seo/) to help market their own businesses, tying the old and new brands together to let people know the name may have changed but the quality of food hasn’t. Cue the newly established America Restaurant on the 31st floor of my favourite hotel in Toronto, Trump International Hotel & Tower. A joint venture between the hotel, Oliver & Bonacini & INK Entertainment has taken a beautiful space and transformed it into a beautiful restaurant.
As I’m sure most of you remember, Julio & I have loved Trump International Hotel & Tower for years for the caliber of finesse and sophistication it offers. I’m sure they have the highest quality utilities provider from comparison websites similar to Utility Bidder. You can check out our #TrulyTrumpTO experiences earlier this year here. I was also the very first person and site to post a photo of America Restaurant when it launched during my #TIFF14 Restaurant Round-Up and have since loved supporting it as a destination for Torontonians and tourists alike. But asides from the hotspot buzz and bustling events that I had attended since the launch, I had yet to sit down to dinner to try the food and experience what the newly branded space had to offer. Thankfully, my friends at Oliver & Bonacini hosted an intimate group of media recently for a full menu tasting. I had the opportunity to try the majority of the menu and have picked my personal favourites for you in my newest #DanielsDish.
The space itself commands your attention in all the right ways. Be it from the high ceilings, the contrast of the decor from bar to dining room or the art on the walls, America Restaurant embodies a sense of refreshing energy. I can say with surety that this rebrand offers something new for of us who have loved the space in the past. One of my favourite spaces would have to be “The Loft” which is the aptly names private dining room which overlooks the dining room and the city skyline.
“America Restaurant is a dynamic space that lends itself to everything from elegant business luncheons to extravagant social affairs. Available for a full buyout for breakfast, lunch or dinner, America can accommodate 110 guests for a seated event or 150 guests for a reception. For a more intimate experience, the Loft at America can accommodate 40 guests for a seated event or 60 guests for a reception.” With so many guests to look after, it would be no surprise to find out that they have implemented a platform as a service to assist in the functionality of the restaurant and to ensure a more productive management of the business.
One of the more talked about features which is very INK Entertainment is the addition of a Late Night Supper Club on Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights. Though this might not be my particular cup of tea, it offers Toronto a throw back to the days when supper clubs ruled the food industry. Modern, sexy and playfully seductive. The beautiful girls adorn tight uniforms and wigs and offer a late night experience you have to see to believe.
“Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 11 PM America transforms into a sophisticated and stylish supper club offering a blend of high entertainment and late night fine dining. Experience America, the grand indulgence – with commanding views of Toronto’s glittering skyline after dark, its lavish service, exquisite cocktails and decadent food. It’s where style meets substance and decides to spend the night. Enjoy luxurious bottle service provided by our team of stunning “America girls” while listening to the latest in sophisticated sounds and up-tempo music til the dawns early light… It’s warm, alluring, entertaining with an atmosphere that will make you feel on top of the world.”
With so much to see upon your next visit to America Restaurant, let’s get to my personal favourites on the menu that you absolutely have to try at #AmericaRestaurant.
I am by no means one to focus on the negative. Since I began this column years ago I have sworn to myself and you all that it would not be one of “those” food columns that tears a restaurant to shreds. There is nothing to be found in negativity and I will always find the positive in something I may not enjoy or appreciate. The drink menu at America Restaurant is too big. It’s just that simple. I have said it before and I will say it again, but I cannot stand when I am handed a cocktail / wine list that requires a half an hour of decision making. I am a Libra and am indecisive enough as it is, but to have dozens upon dozens of choices just seems counter productive to the relaxed atmosphere that a cocktail before dinner or a glass of wine with your meal should embody. This drink menu takes the cake when it comes to being too big. I literally thought it was a coffee table book when it was sat down on the table in front of us.
When faced with a situation like this at a restaurant, what I would recommend is to allow your server’s expertise to guide your experience. Ask them which cocktail they would recommend or what wine is their favourite. If you aren’t as trusting as I am in this instance, then describe what kind of night you are planning to have or what direction you want lunch to go. In any case or gathering, your server is more than just another pretty face. Upon your next visit to America Restaurant I would suggest you do the same and start the tone of your meal off properly by establishing that trust with your server. You won’t be disappointed.
This was a really tough call to pick just one item that stood out since there were several that stole my heart. The inspiration behind the menu as a whole is fine dining American cuisine executed beautifully. Think comfort food but taken to a fine dining level and you’ve got the menu at America Restaurant. The Cripsy Frog Cobb Salad was my all star appetizer of the night. Combining the flavours of a traditional cobb salad with the added flare of frog meat which is seeing a resurgence in the food world as of late. Avocado, cactus, smokey blue cheese & sauce piquante are set onto the plate in a deconstructed manner beside a beatiful fried peice of frog meat. Not only is the dish stunning, but it truly embodies the feeling of the menu as a whole which is playful and modern without being pretentious. Sweet, salty and savoury all in one dish. Honourable mention must got to the Ahi Tuna Poke Cocktail & AAA Steak Tartare (because in my mind, you can never go wrong with steak tartare) for their playful flavours as well.
Each item on the appetizer menu takes a classic dish and brings it into the modern day with a little flare and a little fun. For those of you looking for dishes you’ll be talking about for days, why not share a few appetizers over a glass of sparkling rose with friends upon your first visit. I can guarantee you’ll be intrigued and impressed all at once.
I think that one of my favourite styles of eating at a restaurant is what is called “Family Style”. What this entails is a large portion for several people served in the middle of the table and involves really getting into the dinning experience with your business associates or loved ones. The majority of the main courses at America Restaurant are served in this style. Beautifully plated on oversized dishes and set in the middle of the table, this style of dining is interactive and romantic in my opinion. With individualized options also available for those of you who aren’t into sharing your food, the main courses options have something for everyone.
The Roasted Grain-Fed Chicken definitely is a perfect example of this. Served on an oversized butchers block, roasted root vegetables and a whole chicken are served over a Mexican truffle paste which is “painted” onto the board. Combining hearty flavours of Sunday dinner, fresh veggies and a smokiness that is quite unique. The dish makes me smile and I could see myself enjoying it with friends and family time and time again.
Honourable mention MUST go to The Squid Ink Chitarra. Being that I have never been a huge fan of pasta, this decadent dish left me almost licking the bowl. The squid ink colours the pasta to a beautiful black and its all dente starchiness contrasts the butttery seafood perfectly. Add some black garlic and you’ve got the quintessential seafood pasta that will leave you wanting more.
When I read the title of All-American Dessert Bonanza I had no idea what to expect. By this point in the night I had eaten my body weight in delicious dishes… how could I possible indulge? When presented with a platter of homemade lychee white chocolate, passion fruit flavours sweets and my personal favourite, pop-rocks chocolate bark to name a few… You can bet that I found room. This is DEFINITELY not a portion for one person, but one that every table that dines at America Restaurant should order. From the opulence of being served on a large mirrored tray to the beautiful presentation, this dessert has something for every kind of sweet tooth out there.
Secret You Should Know:
My Daniel’s Dish secrets are always my favourite part of the whole feature. They range from post to post and sometimes it’s about the space, the staff or about us. The secret you should know about America Restaurant is that it’s newly launched brand has yet to be seen by the iconic Ivanka Trump since her most recent visit to the city was prior to the opening. I myself am excited to see what her reactions are to the new space, atmosphere and cuisine. She is after all the figurehead of the hotel chain that sets the bar for elegance, grace & holds its place as #1 in my mind.
Overall the menu is pleasant and crowd pleasing, the atmosphere during dinner was energetic and engaging and I left a very pleased patron of the new concept. I am sure to be back with friends and family as America Restaurant grows and evolves over the years. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But with every great restaurant, perfection is found from the lessons that are learnt in the first few years of business.
Make sure to follow @America_Toronto on Twitter & Instagram to inspire your next craving for delicious dishes and an atmosphere like no other in Toronto. Please join in on the social media conversation during your next visit and tag @DoTheDaniel to bring me along with you while using the #AmericaRestaurant hashtag.
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.