Sunday, January 18, 2009

Frankly Speaking

C5 sets a high bar for museum restaurants (http://yyzine.blogspot.com/2008/02/crystal-as-restaurant-thumbs-up-as.html) and I expected FRANK, the restaurant at the newly re-opened Art Gallery of Ontario to be of the same genre of stunning design, fabulous food and hip atmosphere. Based on my first dining experience there, it's less a destination and more a convenient pit-stop.


With expectations adjusted downwards, FRANK is a pleasant place to meet friends for a bite before, during or after a tour through the gallery. Our table for three at brunch last weekend enjoyed views of the clean and pristine open kitchen, a wall of wine bottles and the curious Frank Stella sculpture dangling from the ceiling (which sadly is not completely visible from any one vantage point, limiting its effect). The menu offered tasty options to satisfy all manner of brunch cravings, which in our case turned out to be sweet, savoury or sandwichy:

*Vanilla French toast with Monforte fresh ricotta, poached apricots, late harvest Vidal syrup and toasted almonds (a reward to cap off 2 weeks on South Beach)

*Twice-baked souffle with caramelized shallots and Maple Dale 4-year-old cheddar, served with beluga lentil and roasted baby carrot salad (called beluga because they're small, black and resemble caviar after cooking).

*The club sandwich of the day (whose ingredients I need my friend to verify since it's not on the online menu...but I can say he enjoyed it).

I'll give FRANK another chance to impress at dinner, but I don't have high hopes from a design standpoint. Although I'm sure the food will be fine, the room just doesn't offer the artistic and architectural drama I'd expect from a restaurant in "an international landmark and Canada’s newest cultural destination."

FRANK Restaurant
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street W

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