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.