Little Italy has so many restaurants and for some reason, I always tend to gravitate to the north side of the street. I'm glad I got to Grace, a sophisticated, yet comforting dining spot due College Street south.
Lots of buzz at first and well founded, too. For reservations, staff actually call back to confirm and, courtesy of courtesies, remind us that there will be drive and park issues because of "Taste of Little Italy".
My guest banters in Italian with the server Adriano, who greets us a
t the door and who ends up as our server. Great segue into the evening. We're early and have a choice of tables in three areas available. We want to see the "show" so we stay smack in the centre of the action.
Many wines-by-the-glass present themselves. Prosecco is so easy for starters and even a 2.5 ounce glass is appealing. Knowing that we can try lots of different wines with this tasting option guarantees a creative evening.
It's time to explore... beet carpaccio with spicy mustard, frisee, watercress, apple and garlic chips, ($12) is drop dead gorgeous. Brilliant garnet beets are shaved so thin, they don't even seem raw. We experiment with Chablis and a rose to delicious effect. Even my beet-avoiding guest loves this dish. Lobster ceviche with cucumber, avocado and citrus salad ($14) is elegant and tastefully delivered. A Sancerre by the glass completes the picture.
Fresh ricotta gnudi, with sage brown butter and porcini mushrooms ($20) is pillowy soft and the marriage with aromatic, meaty, fleshy mushrooms doesn't just begin with the sage butter. An extremely happy accident occurs; the pinot noir I request is unavailable. My server saves the day with a New Zealand stunner, "Tatty Bogle" pinot noir. We are seduced. Oh, there's more. Pan-seared branzino with summer vegetables, black olive tapenade and butternut squash puree ($33) has my guest blissed out.
We skip dessert and go for a cheese selection, so we can continue to savour that dead sexy pinot.
My guest suggests Grace is very nearly perfect in every area. I have to agree with a big Amen
Price: $100.00 plus with 2 glasses of wine.
Atmosphere: Cool yet comfy
Wheelchair Access: No
Surprise, Surprise: Monday night wine BTB is half price with dinner!