Having been on my must-dine list for awhile, I finally had the opportunity last Thursday to dine at Ruby Watchco, the restaurant co-owned by TV chef, Lynn Crawford. While it is a short walk from home, at $50/person, it was a restaurant relegated to celebrating something– in this case, quitting my job! Chef Crawford wasn’t around that night I don’t think, but if she was, I would have told her that she made my morning as I was getting ready for work with Pitchin’ In when it was re-running on the Food Network.
The four-course, prix-fixe menu features local and seasonal ingredients, and it changes everyday. It is best to check their website to view what they are serving each week. Reservations are highly recommended. Another thing to note is the food is served family-style; each course is brought out on a single plate and everyone at the table helps themselves (there is enough for everyone). I specified my lactose intolerance and they accommodated it by plating my food separately and served something else in place of dairy when one of the course had some dairy in it.
The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, even though it’s “high-end” dining, you won’t feel that stuffiness. You kind of feel like home the moment you go in as everyone was very hospitable.
Our server recommended the sangria which like the menu, changes daily as well. Can’t say no to sangria, my friends and I usually order a jug of this stuff. It was white sparkling wine, raspberry and slices of oranges and lemon.
First course is the Anc Farm’s Heirloom Carrot Salad with Sleger’s Living Greens, arugula, avocado, citrus, herb sour cream (mind did not have), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and brown derby dressing. Very refreshing and a ton of texture. I hate avocados, but my plate only had one tiny peace (so lucky!).
Second course is a Slow Roasted Rack of Pork with Smoked Apricot Mustard Relish with grilled greens, leeks, chili garlic sauce, white navy bean and zucchini ragout with eggplant dressing and Ontario corn with confit garlic butter. I am still dreaming about that pork rack to this day, it was the most tender pork I ever had. The ragout is like a ratatouille with the zucchini and eggplant. It was a really outstanding dish.
The third course is a cheese dish: Grey Owl by Fromagerie Detour with red currant and onion relish, honey and watercress. It is a goat cheese made in Quebec. My brother said the sharp and tangy flavour balanced well with the tart and sweet flavours of the currant and onions.
Last course, a dessert. Summer Berry Pavlova with toasted coconut and caramel. It features a light meringue with a crisp crust. It was sweet but contrasted well with the tart berries of blueberries and raspberries. Mine did not have the caramel, but in place of it was honey. I didn’t finish mine as I was so full by the time dessert came. I took it home and had it for breakfast the next day (who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? :P).
Overall, a dining experience I will never forget. Everything was really delicious and well-executed. I don’t know if I’ll ever dine at Ruby Watchco again as it is pricy, but the experience and each plate had a good portion of food makes it well worth it.
730 Queen St., E.