Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bite Me

This past September, one of this city’s biggest Chefs – Marc Thuet, reopened the former Bistro & Bakery Thuet by the new name of Bite Me, 609 King Street West. Apparently the decision was fuelled by the apparent need for a slightly less expensive menu that would appeal to the 20 and 30 somethings that bombard this popular stretch of town. Don’t get too excited though, you’re still going to pay $12 for a Caeser salad and $39 for his Cassoulet.

A very open space, it is decorated tastefully. Gleaming hardwood, Buddha heads, paper like chandeliers that resemble hydrangeas and paintings done by Chef himself. Well, I have to sadly say that I liked his artwork more than his food.

Service is painfully slow and our waiter must be exhausted after every shift from how “on” he was the entire time. It was straight up annoying. Other irritations include: a ten minute wait for a martini that arrives with olives with pits (big pet peeve), freshly baked artisan style bread arrives with ‘hard as a rock’ cold butter (what?!), empty app plates take about fifteen minutes to clear and when two out of five entrees finally arrived (the butter was soft at this point), they get taken away because there was a “mistake”. They did reappear only two minutes later but with less food on the plate than the first time around. Part owner and Thuet’s wife, Biana came over to personally apologize which was gracious but after awhile her presence got overbearing. She is the front of house but you get tired of seeing her walk past your table a million times and you start to wish she’d go into the office or something.

Anyways, on to the actual food...

I started with what he calls Mosaic ($17). It was different types of carpaccio arranged on the plate to look like a mosaic art piece. It was beautiful. I could identify beef, salmon and red pepper but was stumped by the other slices. Either way, they were paper thin and drizzled with an almost water like dressing that tasted exactly like sushi. Yes, like a whole sushi plate amalgamated into water. It was fresh and thoughtful.

The winner in the first course department was clearly the Tartine ($15). It was a sort of open faced sandwich with Heirloom tomatoes, Sheep’s cheese and Prosciuttini atop a piece of bread that resembled a big, crunchy, greasy, garlicky crouton. It was wonderful.

I almost hated my main, Seabass ($28). It was stuffed with ground oxtail and served with a few mini vegetables and three escargot. I will take full responsibility for assuming it would be Chilean Seabass which is my favourite – yes I know we’re not supposed to eat it – but at that price point why would I assume that it was going to be more like a lake than a sea bass. It tasted like someone fished it out of Lake Simcoe. It had the texture and dryness of overdone salmon, the oxtail chuck was bland and dicey, the vegetables were cute as hell but the escargot tasted like dirt. Really, like dirt.

The Short Ribs ($28) which are supposedly cooked for 72 hours, definitely did not have that fall off the bone texture. You need a knife and Thuet needs a new watch. The Pomme Frites were good but we should hope so at this stage in cuisine.

I was so over it that I didn’t even look at the dessert menu.

Tout Fini.

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