The ultimate power lunch: the three-course prix fixe at the Royal York makes for refined, delicious multi-tasking
The place: Sparkling chandeliers and silverware add glamour to this moody, windowless room on the Royal York’s main floor. Friendly and discreet servers add to the refined air. The volume is low, and the turnover is slow: it’s a luxurious break from the typically boisterous lunch spot.
The crowd: It’s all business: senior execs plot strategy, suited conference attendees talk shop, and even stray business travellers find solace in the day’s paper. The atmosphere is serious and elegant (expect designer ties and sexy heels).
The deal: A staunch supporter of all things local and sustainable, chef Ryan Gustafson uses Ocean Wise–certified seafood and quality Ontario produce for his lunchtime prix fixe ($25). Diners can choose from three appetizers; a fish, beef or pasta main; and two desserts. As the weather warms, hand-harvested herbs and honey from the hotel’s rooftop garden make their debut, turning the potential 100-mile diet to one of a mere 100 feet.
The dish: We begin with an ode to spring: pretty organic greens, heirloom carrot, cauliflower and pistachios tossed in a light lemon dressing. The black Angus steak frites is a delight to the eyes and the palate. Sliced on the bias, the beefy-rich but chewy cut is paired with an unctuous maître d’hotel sauce of butter-mounted veal stock and sided by tender broccolini. Yukon gold fries have perfectly soft and fluffy cores, but it’s the cornichon-studded truffle aïoli that has us lapping the bowl clean. Instead of the chai crème brûlée, we opt to finish the meal with an inch-thick financier—a generous slice of light sponge cake topped with a luscious layer of Meyer lemon financier, its sweetness cut by fresh strawberries and sweet blueberries, raspberry coulis and a refreshing scoop of lemon sorbet.
The time: A quiet and unhurried 105 minutes.
The cost: $47.25 per person, including tax, tip, a carafe of mineral water ($5) and a pot of Kea Lani orange pineapple tea ($5).
Epic, Fairmont Royal York, 100 Front St. W. (at York St.), 416-860-6949, epicrestaurant.ca.