|TIFF 2015, celebrating its 40th Anniversary!|
In recent years, the TIFF events have shifted from the Yorkville area to the King Street West area, especially ever since the TIFF Lightbox building was built in the King Street area. Despite all this shift of people and movement in recent years, Yorkville remains a big player and maintains an important role during TIFF. Many celebrities still like to stay at hotels in the Yorkville area, such as the Hazelton Lane, Park Hayatt or the Four Seasons Hotel. In particular, you can still see papparzzi and fans walking around the Yorkville area, hoping to snap a photo with celebs who are shopping their next big purchase in the area.
All season long, Yorkville is a traditional and a mainstay hotspot for people from all ages and demographics to shop. A steakhouse that has been a mainstay in the Yorkville and provided patrons with it’s delicious variety of seafood and steak is the Morton’s Steakhouse.
Did you know……that there are over 70 Morton’s locations around the world and Toronto is the ONLY Morton’s in Canada? So, the next time you visit Toronto, be sure to check out Morton’s Toronto.
I had been to Morton’s Steakhouse at the Yorkville location and let me take you for a tour of my MoVernie dining experience. My manager, aka MoKenny was my plus one for the evening at Morton’s. We took one car and drove to Morton’s, which, basically located right beside the Park Hyatt Hotel. We pulled right at the entrance of Morton’s and immediately, the valet at Morton’s came out and greeted us and took the keys from us. My car was secured and we entered into the restaurant.
The moment we walked into the entrance, the hostness greeted us and asked us for our reservation. He welcomed us and sat us at the corner of a nice sofa booth that had an U-shaped. MoKenny and I sat comfortably. Let me tell you, this place was quite big. I would say that every table would definitely give you a different perspective of the restaurant. There were tables that were situated closely to the kitchen where you could possibly see some of the culinary action by the chefs in the kitchen. There were also tables that were located near the winery cabinets that you can see clearly the types of wine you would like to order. We were satisfied with our seats as it was situated at a corner end of the whole rows of U-shaped sofas and we could definitely see all the happenings of the entire restaurant. There was also an upper level where patrons can make a reservation and book a private room. If you aren’t hungry per say but just wanted to chill, there was a bar room that was separated from the dinning area that you could grab an appetizer, glass of wine and watch sports games on their televisions.
Thirty seconds after we set comfortably, the Morton’s Manager came and greeted us. He introduced us with the server for the evening. It was a nice welcome and it was great that we were off to a great start with our dining experience. The server asked us if we would like to start off with a beverage. I told him that I like Lychee Martini and same goes with MoKenny.
As I scanned around, Morton’s decor and design was designed with the traditional brown, classic steakhouse layout you would see in other traditional steakhouses. The dim candle lights provided a nice, comfortable and relaxing vibe that you know you could have a nice conversation with your peeps. I got to admit, usually Monday evenings for many restaurants are typically very quiet but not at Morton’s, it was a Monday evening and it was quite a lively scene. Although most patrons looked like they were in their mid-ages, I did see a number of young crowd having dinner. To me, young people also know where the good places to eat especially with the social media and the foodies these days that they sure know where to find a great restaurant to enjoy a nice meal. So, it was a good mix of crowd at Morton’s.
The lychee martini was very tasty. Lychee was fresh & not soggy but maintained a good reflex bounce to it’s texture. Martini was in generous pour as you could taste it’s flavour. It was definitely a good choice to start off the evening.
As I glanced along the Morton’s big menu list of food items, it was tough for us to decide what food items to order. There was just so many great appetizers that we wanted to try. So, we decided to order a number of them to try. For MoKenny and I, appetizers weigh heavily for us, even more important to us than the entree or the dessert. Because to us, appetizers give the chef the most creative freedom to try new ingredients and to provide their unique twist to the flavour of the food.
The following were the appetizers that we ordered and shared:
- Baked Escargot
- Ahi Tuna Tower
- Chilled Seafood Platter for 2
- Lobster Bisque
1. Baked Escargot – Appetizer
Baked escargot was the first item to arrive. It was different than the escargots that I ordered in other restaurants. In other restaurants, the chefs simply placed the escargot into the special escargot slot in the plate and then provide it’s unique sauce and then placed it into an oven and bake them. At Morton’s, it had a twist, the escargots were encased within the puffs and underneath it lied the sauce. So when the oven baked it, the puff became flaky, fluffy and a bit crispy & when you placed your fork and stick it into the puff, and you dipped the puff into the sauce underneath it, it was delicious. Nice and hot. I love it! I got to admit, this was a good twist to have and I highly recommended you order this when you visit Morton’s.
2. Ahi Tuna Tower – Appetizer
Next up was the Ahi Tuna Tower. MoKenny and I loved sashimi so Ahi Tuna is always high on our ordering list. However, the KEY to a tasty Ahi Tuna is when the Tuna is sheared but not overcooked, meaning the texture of the inner area of the tuna should remain tender, juicy & fresh. Anytime if the chef over cooked the tuna, they basically ruin the whole dish. As for the Morton’s Ahi Tuna Tower, it came in a nice white plate. In the middle lied the Ahi Tuna Tower with the avocado forming the bottom foundation of the tower. At the top, you would see a nice mix of colourful ingredients that included Ahi tuna (cube shapes); onions, tomatoes with bits of cilantro.
To complete the nice plating of this dish, it came with crispy taco chips and sriracha sauce that came on the plate that looked like a painting. This was another great delicious dish that I highly recommend you to order. Not only it had a great presentation but the taste was refreshing with all the fresh ingredients. The taco chips were freshly made in-house, as well, the chips were durable with good sizes that when you scoop the Ahi Tuna Tower, the taco chips could support the weight. Let me tell you that one of my foodpeeve is when chefs either don’t make their own chips in house, or when the chips are being made too thin or small that before you can scoop the Ahi Tuna, it breaks, it’s messy and you can’t experience the entirety as a whole piece. MEMO to other chefs, don’t underestimate the importance of a nicely made taco chips. So, Morton’s chef did a fantastic job with its own version of the Ahi Tuna Tower with the crispy taco chips.
|Ahi Tuna Tower with taco chips|
One note, the sriracha sauce on the plate not only great to look at but it served its purpose. If you can handle the heat and love spicy food, I recommend you to give the taco chips a swipe on to the sriracha sauce, it added a nice kicker to the dish. Kudos to the chef who came up with the idea of injecting the sriracha sauce as an option for this dish as most of the time, in other places, chefs just like to play safe and make this dish a mild refreshing item.
3. Chilled Seafood Platter for 2 – Appetizer
MoKenny and I loved seafood, in particular, MoKenny loves lobster and oysters. Meanwhile, I love oysters and calamari. Although the chilled seafood platter at Morton’s don’t have calamari, it’s all good because each person gets freshly shucked oyster on a half shell, giant jumbo prawn, lobster meat, jumbo lumb crab meat & alaskan crab meat. And of course, can’t forget the Tabasco sauce, seafood sauce and fresh horse radish. Personally, for my oysters, I usually prefer not to use any sauce. Normally, I love to sip in the fresh sea water that still encased in the shell before it was shucked. Then, I will place some fresh horse radish to give it a good aroma and some balance texture to the mushiness of the oyster. And of course, I don’t want the sauce to over power the original taste of my oysters. Yes, I am usually not picky with food, but I do have expectations for oysters, I do have a particular way to enjoy it’s nature. And Morton’s passed the test with flying colours. The jumbo prawn was gigantic, bigger than my index finger and my thumb to say the least. The rest of the lobster and crab meat were fresh and the texture were tasty. This was another highly recommended food items to order by MoVernie.
|Chilled seafood for 2|
4. Lobster Bisque – Appetizer
Quite honestly, lobster bisque is usually a challenging food item to prepare. It’s just have muliple number of processes and steps that make it a difficult dish to master. Thus, you normally don’t see many restaurants offer lobster bisque and if they do, it’s a relative expensive item because of the complexity of the bisque. MoKenny and I each ordered the lobster bisque. The temperature of the soup was hot, which was great. One of the most important criteria for me when evulating a soup is it’s temperature. I just hate soup that aren’t hot enough. When a soup is warm or just not hot enough, it kills the entire soup intake. So, Morton’s pass the temperature test. As I use it’s silver spoon to scoop up the bisque, the visocity of the bisque was perfect, not too liquidity and not too chunky. However, what I would have preferred to see from this bisque would be pieces of lobster meat. To me, if I got to see bits of lobster meat, it’s great for presentation but also allowed the patrons to see that there were REAL meat in the soup. Unfortunately, the lobster meat were cooked and disintegrated into the rest of the bisque. Hence I couldn’t detect the meat texture in the bisque. Another unfortunate part of the bisque was it’s over powering use of brandy. Brandy is a nice touch in the bisque but when brandy was over used, all we could smell and taste were the strong brandy aroma, which took away the overall tasting experience for the rest of the lobster ingredients. And for $15 at Morton’s, I thought the lobster bisque was relatively over priced as compared to other places and the taste for this dish wasn’t there to justify it’s pricing. I would say, out of the 4 appetizer items that we ordered, this was the weakest link.
The following were the entree that we ordered and shared:
- 22oz Chicago Style Prime Bone-in Ribeye
- Five Peppercorn Rubbed Prime Strip Steak
- Creamy corn with ham
- Parmesan & Truffle Matchstick Fries
|Chicago Style Bone-in Ribeye|
The Five Peppercorn Rubbed Prime Strip Steak was magnificent as well. You could tasted the five different peppercorn blending so well together, yet each exerted an unbelievable flavour to the meat. The peppercorn sauce was just perfect! Not too much sauce or too little. Again, crispy outer layer, nice fat and the juicy tender meat.
|Five Peppercorn Rubbed Prime Strip Steak|
|Malbec Red Wine|
|MoKenny & MoVernie enjoying their dining experience at Morton’s Steakhouse Toronto|
Speaking of the side dishes, I love anything creamy, from cream of chicken, to clam chowder or to Alfredo sauce. Thus, we decided to order creamy corn with ham. It did not disappointed as the creamy sauce was perfect. Viscocity of the sauce was perfect as well. Corn was creamy and ham was delicious. And last but not least, I loved anything with truffle or truffle oil in it. I just love the aroma of it. Sniff on the truffle and Parmesan of the match sticks fries, it already excited me. Perfect cutting size of the fries. Trust me, once I started, I couldn’t stop, the fries were that good!
|Creamy corn with ham|
|Truffle matchsticks fries|
Half-way into consuming our steaks, our server returned and asked if we would like to order our dessert. He told us that the reason he came to ask us half-way into enjoying our entree was because if we order the souffle, it will take 45 minutes for the pastry chef to prepare. So, we responded with a “YES”! Souffle are hard to prepare and not every restaurant will offer souffle. The server told us that we could choose chocolate souffle or rasberry souffle. Since we were also ordering the chocolate lava cake, we figured it would make sense to order rasberry souffle to have something different for our taste buds.
- Rasberry Souffle
- Warm Chocolate Lava Cake
After our nice chat with Chef Natalie, the dessert had arrived. The server said the Rasberry Souffle is a larger portion because it’s for 2 people. I could smell the souffle from afar and I love that smell. After the photo opportunity came, the server began to dissect the souffle and placed them into 2 plates. The first bite was amazing on the souffle, the outer layer was very delicate, flaky and perfectly baked. The inner rasberry was fruity and tasty. It was perfect. The chocolate lava cake was nice and warm, coupled with the ice cream really added the warm and cold feeling in my mouth. And of course, I had to order a cup of coffee everytime I had dessert, they just come hand-in-hand perfectly.
|Warm chocolate lave cake|
|MoVernie vs Food at Morton’s Steakhouse Toronto|
All-in-all, I had to say, Morton’s Steakhouse Toronto is an excellent spot for steak and seafood. It truly delivered during my visit and I would definitely come again for another evening. All-season round this would be one of my favourite spots but in particular, during TIFF, this would definitely be a good spot to have a nice meal. I was told by the manager that this is also a hotspot for celebrity to have a nice dinner, whether during TIFF or during their stay here in Toronto during their filming. I have had many steaks in many nice restaurants in the world but I would say Morton’s Steakhouse at Yorkville is truly the best steak I had ever tasted in my life. I don’t usually do this but there were many times that I will flash back in my memory of the Chicago Style Bone-in Ribeye visually and my taste buds would relish over and over again the crispy outer layer of the steak and the melt-in-your-mouth meat from within.
I highly recommend Morton’s Steakhouse Toronto. They have been in the business for many years and still going strong for a reason. That’s because they provide an excellent service with consistent food quality. To be honest, if I am going to pay for a top quality steak, I should be expected to receive such high quality meal in return and Morton’s delivers with flying colours.
And MoVernie is outta here!
Toronto, Canada M5R 2E8