Carl Heinrich’s new farm-to-table restaurant Richmond Station provides a much-needed alternative to the stiff dining rooms of the Financial District. The 27-year-old chef and winner of Top Chef Canada invested his $100,000 prize money to create an 80-seat subway-themed room at the corner of Richmond and Yonge, with old-timey black-and-white photos on the walls and Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker on the stereo. The restaurant opened for dinner at the beginning of October with a packed reservation book before adding lunch service last week. For now, the noon menu mirrors the short, bistro-pub-style dinner menu, with an added three-course prix fixe ($22). To start, a celery root soup provides a warming sense of respite after a brisk walk from the office. Next, the moules frites brings a huge pile of mussels in a lemon-and-fennel-kicked white wine broth that’s worth slurping up even after the plump little morsels are all gone. For dessert, the server pours a rich shot of dark espresso over a scoop of house-churned almond ice cream and a shard of biscotti at the table. All the while, Heinrich works the room, making small talk with diners tickled to chat with the owner and former reality TV star.
The cost: $28.16
The time: 80 minutes start to finish for a good, sit-down lunch