Scaramouche may be one of just a handful of “special occasion” restaurants left in Toronto. While one would think that means old and stodgy, instead it maintains a fresh aura of sophistication—along with its always-dazzling twilight views over the city. And the place is always packed. The bar was set high four decades ago when the restaurant opened, and it has continued to ascend. The admittedly pedestrian arrival area—the restaurant is housed in the ground floor of a highrise apartment building (but there is free valet parking)—is more than made up for by the quiet dining room and gracious service. Chef Keith Froggett’s culinary vision, executed these days by Chef de Cuisine Carolyn Reid, is grounded in European classicism with whispers from the Middle East. It packs just enough of a modern touch to remain interesting. A salad of organic beets, oranges, endive, radish, pistachios, labneh and beet molasses is a welcome twist on a classic. What else does grilled AAA Ontario filet mignon need besides mushrooms, French green beans, Bordelaise and crispy potatoes? Making an excellent case for vegetarian pasta is herbed gnocchi Parisienne with sautéed mushrooms, wilted greens, porcini sauce and shaved fresh winter truffle. Desserts remain a highlight though venturing far from the legendary coconut cream pie is an enduring challenge.
Photos: JOHN CULLEN