Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winterlicious: Fred's Not Here

Much like Dine Out Vancouver, the City of Toronto also has a foodie celebration. It happens twice a year and is called Summerlicious and Winterlicious.
Wood Grilled California Cut New York Sirloin

My decision to take part in Winterlicious this year was very last minute and impulsive, so I didn't put as much effort into researching as I had hoped to.
My roommate and I liked the menu at Fred's Not Here and the reviews on Urbanspoon were pretty good. Most of all, it was recommended by our friends (oh, the power of word of mouth!).
Our reservation was made for a Tuesday night, but the restaurant was packed when we got there. We figured it might have been because of Winterlicious. I can't say much about the interior and the decor since the lighting inside was extremely dark. Nonetheless, the candles made it very romantic.

Our dinners were prix fixe for $35 and included an appetizer, main course, and dessert. I really liked the fact that Fred's had numerous choices for each course. I sure had a hard time deciding on what I wanted.

Much like other steakhouses, we were served with a basket of bread shortly after we placed our orders. I liked the assortment of breads in the basket but I thought it would have been even better if the bread wasn't cold. 

Baked Lobster & Crab Soup
For appetizer, I ordered the Lobster & Crab Soup. I loved baked soup so I was very happy to see it on the menu. It was a highly anticipated soup for me, especially after hearing great things about it . I wouldn't say the soup was a disappointment, but it's definitely not the best I've had. I thought the pastry was fine, but the soup was a little too salty for me. Also, there was a heavy mushroom taste to the soup and I am known for disliking mushrooms...
Roasted Stuffed Calamari with Seafood Risotto and Marinara Sauce 
My roommate ordered the stuffed calamari so we could try each other's food (this is why I love eating with her!). We both really enjoyed this dish and were surprised by the risotto that came gushing out after our first cut into the calamari. The calamari tasted very fresh and the texture was bouncy and chewy. I really enjoyed the marinara flavoured risotto too. 

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Beef Filet Mignon with Rigatoni
I was extremely hungry the night we went to Fred's and I couldn't wait till my steak came. Unfortunately, it was a total letdown. The grilled steak was extremely over cooked and I tasted nothing but the bitterness of burnt meat. My roommate also felt the same with her steak but hers wasn't as bitter since she ordered a medium steak compared to my medium well. I don't ever complain about my food, but my steak was so bitter I couldn't help but wonder if it was supposed to taste like that. Our waitress was hard to get a hold of and when I finally caught her attention, she claimed that my steak was a perfect medium well steak and that there was nothing wrong with it. Not wanting to argue with her, I ended up just cutting off the surface of the steak and eating the inside. Even then, the steak didn't taste like much as there was no juicy meaty taste that I was hoping for. On a side note though, the rigatoni was absolutely delicious. I filled up my stomach with it.

After our steaks, anything would have tasted better. That being said, the desserts didn't turn things around by much. The ladyfingers was extremely soggy and there was an excessive amount of the creamy mixture. Also, there was very little coffee taste and no cocoa on it at all, which is essentially my favorite part of a tiramisu.

As I left the restaurant, I was just happy that I was here for Winterlicious and not any normal day, or I'd be spending bigger bucks for burnt steak. Although my Winterlicious experience wasn't as delicious as I had hoped for, I'm still looking forward to Summerlicious! Next time I'm definitely doing homework before I pick the restaurant.

More photos:

Taste: ★★☆☆☆
Environment: ★★★★★
Service: ★★☆☆☆
Price: $$$

Fred's Not Here
321 King Street West
Toronto, ON

Fred's Not Here on Urbanspoon

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