The recent influx of new hotel restaurants (Momofuku, Café Boulud, Toca), has raised the standards of lobby-level dining in Toronto. Compared to these luxe new establishments, Victor’s moody, modern room, scattered with low-slung couches and coffee tables, feels more like a hotel lounge than a restaurant. Chef David Chrystian's tasting menu—divided into seven sections, each inspired by a Toronto neighbourhood—demonstrates originality, though the execution can be sloppy. His flavours are often spot-on, as in an appetizer of golden seared scallops with pebbles of savoury gingerbread and cinnamon-laced carrots. Chili rellenos, a fried poblano pepper stuffed with tofu, rice, corn, black beans and tomatoes, would be superb if the pepper and the robustly cuminy mashed beans alongside weren’t served cold. A trio of desserts is uneven: the creamy, dense pumpkin tart captures beautiful fall flavours and an apple pavé features an airy apple-vanilla mousse, but the chocolate-ginger cake is a dry, crumbled mess. The international wine list is expansive and moderately priced. Servers are friendly, but lack knowledge and efficiency.
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