On the corner of Young and Richmond, Richmond Station is everything you’d expect in a trendy Toronto eaterie. Enter from street level and the narrow restaurant is accentuated with a long communal table, natural elements of brick, wood and soft lightening. It opens up at the back into a split level room and more private dining up above. At the back of the room is the ‘chef’s table’ or shall I say the ‘chef’s bar’. The entire wall is opened up to the kitchen with a few bar chairs facing the window in full view of the culinary action. This is where I sat.
Behind me is a private room, seating about 16 and they have a charcuterie vault to remind them that this Executive Chef and co-owner Carl Heinrich is a nose-to-tail fanatic. He loves buying the entire animal from an artisan farmer, bringing the entire animal on site and coming up with new and delicious ways to use every inch of it.
Partner and co-owner Ryan Donavan is a butcher who feeds Carl’s obsession and in turn Carl feeds Ryans. The result is an amazing restaurant offering delicious, feel-good food for every mood.
Let me tempt you with their tasting menu. It starts with a few oysters, just enough to satisfy the palette, I recommend the cremant to go with it. Don’t know whose it was, but the flavour symphony in my mouth with the oysters was amazing! Light and simply arousing!
Next dish was a light lobster tempura with a bold sauce that contrasted the sweet lightness of the lobster beautifully. It was accompanied by a small charcuterie plate. sips of great wine – now this how to appreciate all the hard work gone into such amazing food!
After the mushroom pasta came a rich venison steak with sweet potato mash, roasted baby onions and crispy deep-fried – something, my guess is parsnips. This is a great mans dish, full and rich, elegant and heart-warming.
To end the perfect meal, they served an apple sticky toffee pudding with mocha ice cream. Nothing to say here except (with a mouthful) – yum! And imagine all of this pampering in a bustling, noisy atmosphere of people enjoying the big city life. I’m happy, excited and more than satisfied!
If you go to the Big City and don’t end up at Richmond Station then what can I say, the Big City just didn’t come through with one of the best culinary experience it has to offer. Richmond Station is one of those restaurants you wonder why they’re not written about in a book – ah, but wait – they are!
The Ontario Table is the best local food resource in the province and while it’s all about local food, farmers and artisan producers, there are a few restaurants that were worth mentioning and they are one of them. Here’s what is says…
Page 183, “There is a growing number of restaurants that buy and cook local food not because it’s in fashion, but because they’ve simply found it to be the best in flavour and quality. Marben on Wellington Avenue West is run by butcher, Ryan Donovan and chef, Carl Heinrich. They buy whole animals and deliciously use every piece of it.”
Of course they’re no longer at Marben, their new place is Richmond Station – check it out!