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Weekly Lunch Pick: a splurge at one of the prettiest new restaurants in town

The bistecchina at Aria (Image: Renée Suen)

First impressions matter, and Aria’s Stephen Pile–designed room, with its vaulted ceilings and dazzling Moooi lights suspended between the wavy walnut fronds of Dennis Lin’s Aria sculpture, certainly makes a good one. At noon, the two-month-old restaurant is peppered with ladies lunching in their four-inch Louboutin heels and suits celebrating deal closings with one of the bottles in the restaurant’s two-storey wine cellar. Our lunch begins with a tray of fresh sourdoughs and flaky cheddar flatbreads served with fruity olive oil and whipped butter. The eight-ounce bistecchina ($25) is hidden under a brilliant haystack of shoestring fries dusted with porcini and truffle salt; the frites are meaty and addictive, stealing the show on the otherwise stark plate. The P.E.I. Blue Dot New York strip itself has a thin hash-marked crust over medium rare flesh rippled with silky streaks of cooked fat. Each chewy bite of the grass-fed, potato and barley–finished beef releases a pleasant but distinctly grassy funk that’s washed away with a nice glass of 2007 Ca’di Pian ($18).

The cost: $56, including tax, tip and wine.

The time: 48 minutes—just right for a power lunch.

Aria, 25 York St., 416-363-2742, ariaristorante.ca.

 

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