A modern, elegant, softly lit culinary oasis tucked away on the third floor of a Spadina Avenue warehouse, Alo forged its reputation on tasting menus that run three hours long. In its fifth year the disciplined kitchen continues to turn out dishes with the same elevated finesse that regulars demand and are so contentedly accustomed to. The culinary style veers from Japanese to French and North American. Techniques are cutting edge, but the kitchen prefers to seduce with luxurious ingredients rather than daring combinations. Dishes are unfailingly pretty, and sauces are rich—despite habitual aeration. Expect the amuses gueules to include a miniature pomme soufflé topped with crème fraîche and caviar. For the first course, maybe a Malpeque oyster with watercress purée, dressed up in a tailored jacket of tiny cress leaves, dusted with horseradish. Then a salvo of Japanese-accented raw fish (like fluke sashimi). From there, the richness steadily increases, from, say, poached lobster with buttery shellfish foam to a stuffed pasta and a flurry of prime meats (duck, veal, lamb or pork) that invariably builds to a small perfect cut of ne plus ultra premium beef (most recently, A5 Kumamoto wagyu). Descent from that pinnacle comes gently, with not one but two desserts and a cluster of mignardises. The best way to drink along to these luxurious menus dégustations is to opt for (our 2019 Best Sommelier) Christopher Sealy’s course-by-course wine pairings. Note the new higher priced offer of premium vintages. Like the rest of the experience, service is highly polished.
Photos: STEPHANIE MADEIRA