No. 6: Dandylion
This small, 30-odd seat room has much charm in its simple design.
But the reason this restaurant is full night after night has mostly to do with the man who can be observed at work in the back, toiling away in the open, white-walled kitchen, head down, eyes focused on his food and little else. Chef and co-owner Jason Carter enjoys a reputation as a chef’s chef. He trained and worked with the best—Susur Lee, Marc Thuet—and then and since has quietly earned a reputation as one of the most skilled and least self-promoting chefs in the city.
This is his first restaurant and he describes his food as “simple.” That means you sit down to some warm bread he just baked with a starter he got going five years ago— crisp-crusted, with a dense moist crumb, served with fresh fromage blanc. Next, maybe a perfectly balanced salad of citrus segments, kohlrabi and radicchio, or a carrot soup of delightfully bright flavour, lightened with lemon and studded with moist monkfish. Succulent, bronzed chicken comes blanketed in cabbage and in its broth, scattered with toasted hazelnuts. Poultry, fish or pork—cooking is always precisely à point, the flesh succulent, the seasoning perfect. All the same it is the beautifully prepared vegetables with which they share the plate that one’s fork tends to lunge for first.
The menu is short. Edited down just like what’s on the plate to what is best, and what is needed—nothing more and nothing less.