bread butter champagne

12.05.2011

Origin Restaurant Review - So Origin-al


Our Order
Drinks 
- 1 Bottle Kronenbourg Beer - $9
- 2 Glasses, "Bastianich" *A white, I don't remember the name.. it was OK* - $26

Orders (Tapa-Style)
- 4 Oysters + yuzu dressing - $14
- Fior di latte + mushrooms + truffle oil + spinach - $17
- Burger Combo: Origin Burger + spanish fries + cream soda float - $25
- Miso glazed black cod - $29

Total + tip = $155.94

Pre-Thoughts
A good friend of Marshy's is a well-travelled couple that have been all over the world, they even hunted wild hogs with a remote tribe in Africa. They recommended this restaurant and we decided to go to celebrate being happy with a recent Tiffany purchase :)

My Four Seasons Chef friend thinks this place is over-priced for what it is though. I see what he means...

Service
We went on a Wednesday evening and this place was packed. We stepped in and we were asked to sit next to the door. Did I mention the utter stupidity of design of this front door? Anyway there wasn't much space other than next to the door so we sat down and proceeded to take our multi-layers of Canadian cold defiant parkas off. Then we realized we had no space around us.

Then we realized everyone was offered coat check and we weren't. This was a BIG NO-NO for me. Thats not cool, its like offering everyone lollipops and everyone having lollipops on their table and not to us. Pfft.

It was a fight to get the servers attention. I actually started losing track of who our server was because around five different people served us food and our actual server was MIA for most of our meal.

When my oysters came they were terrible. I love oysters, I grew up on oysters. Like when I was young in the Philippines and my family would have the men dive into the sea and grab fresh oysters to us and I would have slurp them with little condiment and they would be the best things I ever had and I was 4 years old. I didn't like the oysters and neither the sauce on them so I tried to find someone who would get me some fresh lemon.

Then this waitress came and told me that 'those already have yuzu dressing on them you know' and I told her I don't like the dressing and preferred having some lemon to which replied 'well I'm just telling you okay'. Okay, well I'm telling you too and you just ruined my meal.


Ambience/Interior
Now I can continue my rant on the front door.

The front door is a big door in the middle of the restaurant that is glass-paned. And it is one. Door. Not the two-door standard to reduce the amount of gust and snow to travel into the restaurant, every time a patron leaves or steps in. Given Canada is half winter weather most of the time, it felt icy cold every time someone opened the door to leave or get in.

Also, it is really dark in the restaurant and not...Romantic. More of a cave-y girls/guys night out type place. There is a pretentious vibe in the air amongst the servers, sad because its really less than inviting. I don't mind pretentious clientèle but snobby wait-staff is unbearable.

Yum?

4  Oysters + yuzu dressing
These were terrible. The oysters were flimsy and tasted incredibly fishy and old. Not the fishy yummy taste. The opposite. The red daikon pieces were pretty but they were very salty (you know the pink salty pickle you get with your shawarma? These were those and the same). They were also covered in this yuzu dressing which I don't understand because it is very very sour in a very unappetizing way that brings out the worst in the already bad oyster. 

I had one, and Marshy saw my expression and he refused to try one and asked me if I was OK. 

I drained the others of all the toppings and asked for lemon, on which case I was patronized. Either way they didn't taste all that better with lemon but at least bare-able. Can't believe they were $3.50 each. Please, refrain from ordering these.




Fior di Latte + mushrooms + truffle oil + spinach
Marshy loved the way the cheese was cold and chunky and sprinkled with salt. The cheese was very mild-tasting and smooth and a bit springy. I thought the way the salt was sprinkled on the cheese was a bit too unrefined (i.e. some mouthfuls you get the salt stick to the top of your mouth giving you a shock of salt, others its infused with everything else). Overall I loved this dish although there was a deliberate, over-usage of truffle oil (I have this long standing vendetta against truffle oil...).

Miso Glazed Black Cod + Soba Noodle Salad + Ginger Vinaigrette + Miso Broth
I don't know what it is about this dish but just by looking at it .... Makes it seem so unappetizing?! I've never come across Asian cuisine where you would serve food in this way unless you'd want someone to tear apart the fish and mix it in with the soba noodles. I am cringing even thinking of this *cringe*

However, the miso cod was amazing, it had a sweet glaze on top with reduced miso that packed a lot of flavour into one bite. The cod melted in my mouth and made me want more. It was warm and perfectly cooked so that its not over cooked to make the fish flaky but rather very creamy and perfect.

The broth was apparently miso but it was more like, 1/2 part miso, 5 parts lemon water that was lukewarm. I didn't really taste ginger. The broth was very very sour. I don't really understand how you could have soba noodles in a lukewarm, very sour broth. And how that would go with sweet black cod. Either way I really hate the plating the way it looks is abominable. 

Origin Burger + Spanish Fries 
Spanish Fries
I read on a lot of blogs that diners thought the fries looked unappetizing because it was so dark and overcooked. Well, Marshy is a poutine/french fry lover and I just wanted to add this tidbit:
There is a certain potato that produces the darker-than-average fry. It is used as the standard in Montreal and various other areas, known as The Yukon Gold. Torontonians prefer the bleached-white look of french fries. Assuming that Quebecois know their french fries because, they're french, and fries are french, they are the birthplace of poutine, lets just say that Yukon Golds are the way to go. These are legit fries.

The chorizo sausage on the fries put these to another level. Its like ordering a fries supreme from taco bell but in the more pretentious reincarnation. The fries were spicy in a mexican way. The creamy dressing was a bit over the top but really good. It tasted like cream cheese dip mixed copious amounts of garlic. We couldn't get rid of the garlic taste after the fries. We don't recommend this for dates ;)

Origin Burger + Spanish Fries 
Origin Burger
The patty was really thick. We asked for it done Medium because Marshy is squeamish and it came Medium Rare-Rare. The beef they use for this was obviously really good quality, we were both thinking steak meat was used for this. The patty was seasoned with a strong taste of curry which melded well with the quality beefy goodness. The greens on top were nice to alleviate the heaviness from the patty. I liked having just half though. I think the curry will throw some people off the burger.

Ice Cream Float

We were about to leave when the waitress asked us if we wanted our ice cream float, so I said yes! We were actually ready to dash into our favourite yoghurt place to get rid of that garlic taste from the spanish fries, so this was a great surprise. I love cream soda and ice cream but we didn't finish it. I like how they tried to add whimsy to the menu.

Weird, because the place seems completely opposite of whimsy - pretentious a bit over-priced and unexpected, interesting, 'origin-al' food.


Final Thoughts
Service was bad, our server was unavailable, wasn't offered coat check, was patronized for wanting lemon.

Had freezing cold drifts every time someone opened the door.

Pretentious ambience amongst wait-staff.

Food ranges from omg amazing and omg what?! all in one plate.

I'd probably go again to have the Fior di Latter and Miso Cod but I think its over-priced and over-hyped for what it is.


Origin Restaurant
Origin Restaurant on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad to have found another Toronto blog - definately following you!
    I've actually always wanted to try this place..it's just down the street from where I live. Now that I read your review I still wanna check it out sometime but I won't get my expectations too high!

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  2. Hi ,
    Your first posts just appeared on Urbanspoon! Check it out:
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/10/1495259/restaurant/St-Lawrence-Market-Old-Town/Origin-Restaurant-Toronto
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/10/762280/restaurant/Little-Italy-Portugal-Village/Pizzeria-Libretto-Toronto
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  3. love your reviews! the food looks delish!
    http://spliffedcookies.blogspot.com/

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