Thank you for the fabulous dinner at Madeline’s in Toronto the other night. I came as part of a party of 4 not knowing what to expect, hoping for the best after reading some not-so-glowing reviews (my friends picked the restaurant), but thinking that I’d go home hungry due to lack of vegetables on the menu, tiny tasting portions and not enough money in my wallet.
I haven’t been much of a “fine dining diner” due to the above and the fact that I really do prefer my own cooking to most celebrated chefs’.
In fact, my experience at Madeline’s couldn’t have been nicer.
First of all, thank you for the warm Byzantium redesign. It feels good to be surrounded by deep red walls and richly carved wooden dividers. The effect of the colored bar seats reflected off the black polished surface in the under-bar lights is really groovin’ with the woowoo.
Thank you for hiring a gracious hostess who made us feel welcomed despite our obvious lack of fame and influence. I know you entertain some of the world’s most luminous luminaries.
Thank you for considering vegetables worthy of an entire page of your menu. Really, thank you for this. Every other chef in the city could take a page from you and your menu. Thank you for caring enough about beets, red and gold, as to elevate them to superstar status with fennel, orange, pistachio and dill in your roasted beet salad. Thank you for having the wackily brilliant brainstorm that roasted olives might be a good thing. They were. Green and black, with jalapeno, red onion, garlic, cilantro seedlings, fennel seed and balsamic. Thank you for hand-rolling your spinach gnocchi. More love from the palms of your chefs. Thank you for roasting those maple yams until they absolutely oozed sugar and caused ecstatic utterances around the table.
I couldn’t get enough of our French Bean Fries that came out first, and whatever you did to those chanterelles…ooh they were nice. meaty, mild, memorable.
Thank you for creating a menu that invites sharing. Food is meant to be shared and I wish we lingered longer over lunches in this grab-and-go culture.
And considering all the seed-sorting, planting, growing, harvesting, transporting, storing, prepping, cooking and loving that goes into my dinner plate, thank you for charging just the right price.
I know you won’t often be around Madeline’s because you’re Mr. Busy Bi-locational now with your new restaurant being built in New York, but I hope to one day catch up with you to thank you in person for elevating Toronto’s dining scene to world class standards.