Saturday, July 3, 2010

Main Street Ping Pong

I miss Ping's. Of course, the co-owners of La Buca and Pied-à-Terre will always produce innovative dishes and perfectly-prepared ingredients at the new Cafeteria, but I believe that the funky Japanese yoshoku of Ping's was better suited to Main Street. Main Street already has restaurants that fit the Cafeteria mould: Grub, Latitude, and Crave. My friend and I really enjoyed our meals, but there were a few flaws that both lost this restaurant a letter grade and will likely dissuade me from returning.

First, the entrees were all one or two dollars overpriced...and the prices of the appies were too close to the prices of the entrees. For example, my duck confit was $16.50 and my starter was $12.50. Second, there was a flaw with each dish that we ordered, which prevented this Cafeteria from being upgraded to bistro or brasserie in my mind. My pal ordered the chicken schnitzel with shredded cabbage, spätzle, and sautéed morels. It was a colourful and comforting dish, but the chicken was dry. Don't get me wrong, it was well seasoned and flavoured, but it was anhydrous. My duck was served with a chorizo-lentil melange and - surprisingly compatible - peeled orange slices, but some of the lentils were hard. Lastly, the draught beer is available at market price, but Cafeteria serves it in a 12oz glass! This isn't even a cheapo North American 16oz pint! This was disappointing.

I must say that the starter/salad we both ordered was a bat mitzvah in my mouth. It was an embellished bacon and eggs, with the bacon wrapped delicately around asparagus cladodes, and a perfectly poached egg placed atop a stack of arugula and grape tomatoes. To confuse my mouth and enrich this awesome saladfast (half breakfast, half salad), the chef placed a small pool of salsa verde on the plate, which went very well with both the asparagus and egg.

Cafeteria is worth trying, but just like Parkside, it likely won't be around for long.
Keywords: La Buca, Pied-a-Terre, Cafeteria Main Street, Alex Dawkins

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