Restaurant review: Ruby Watch Co.
By Elli Davis, April 1, 2010
Address: 730 Queen Street East (Just east of Broadview)
- (Not rated yet.)
Does the name Lynn Crawford ring any bells? Think hard!
Lynn was the Executive chef of the Four Seasons here in Toronto. She held the same position with the same establishment in New York City and at the time was the ONLY executive chef who was a female in their 70 restaurants world-wide. You may have seen her on television on the Food Channel either pit against Bobby Flay in the Iron Chef or on Restaurant Makeover. Now is your chance to see her and experience her talents.
The trip to South Riverdale is going to be worth it. But before you make the trip you must have a reservation. Ruby Watch Co. serves one meal and that’s it. It’s a prix fixe of $49 per person and when you make your reservation you will be told what the main dish for the evening you select is going to be OR you will be asked if there is anything you cannot or will not eat. Sounds a little different and it is. But it’s time for something just a little different, isn’t it?
This is a large well oiled machine with place for 74 customers. That’s a big restaurant and requires a well rehearsed group to make the experience worthwhile. The night we attended, it was perfectly oiled. The front of house manager Joey Skeir who is designer Cherie Stinson’s husband greets with a smile and a gentle gesture to our table. Cherie, by the way is a partner in Yabu Pushelburg’s design house and a regular on Restaurant Makeover and created Ruby Watch Co. It’s a clean look with antiques scattered throughout including a wonderful file cabinet at the entrance, Edison Lights in the fixtures, a bar and numerous tables of various sizes and the glassed in open kitchen at the far back.
Since we need not order our meal, we simply chose our wines. By the glass tonight.
Our salad arrives and Joey mentions that if we want more, simply ask. Hmmm? That’s an interesting offer but we aren’t sure if it’s just for us or something that is customary. When he makes the offer to the next table, we concur it is the latter. Never the less, the salad is divine. Black lettuce, string beans, chunks of cold roasted potatoes and poached salmon chunks. It all arrives on a large plate with over-sized serving utensils for us to help ourselves from the plate. Get used to this, it’s family style here and plating is neither de rigueur nor necessary. The light vinaigrette is perfectly suited to this starter and we both concur the the home made biscuits are a perfect accompaniment for the salad.
Everything is cleared from the table quickly and efficiently. The Four Season’s training is evident everywhere. It’s Four Season’s service in a community setting. You have to be there...
The main arrives in a large hot crock pot. Perfect pork sliced and topped with crispy prosciutto. Three sides: baked white beans, wilted greens and red and black carrots. The vegetables are perfectly prepared and seasoned just to the enhancement of the flavor but so much as to deter from each flavor. The portions are hefty and almost too much for the two of us. We actually request the meat to take home. It is packed and presented in a lovely hi tech “box”.
Course number three is cheese. Stilton and blue served with slivers of homemade “oiled” toast and accompanied by honey and preserve of berries. A lovely touch and just the right amount following the hefty main.
Dessert is a banana cake with whipped cream. This is the only course that arrives individually prepared for the two of us. No sharing, just enjoyment. The creamy texture of the pudding/cake is a joy to behold. The crisp banana on top is reminiscent of the crispy prosciutto on the pork. A pitcher of crème freche is there to adorn the slightly oversized portion for each of us. I am delighted with the finish yet the criticism that it is a tad bland is understandable.
With the celebrity status of chef, staff and general notoriety, this is a new hot place in development. Be prepared to wait a while to get your reservation. This writer believes the wait is WELL worth it.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.