Nestled one floor beneath the Hyatt Regency Toronto’s bustling lobby sits the hotel’s dining area, King Street Social Kitchen.
The low-ceilinged, softly lit, white-tablecloth space is sleek and contemporary in its gleaming hard surfaces; cream-coloured (and very comfortable) padded banquettes and chairs; and black tile floors.
In tandem with the contemporary room is a modern menu dishing up light and inventive food. Intensely sweet maple-roasted acorn squash, for example, anchors a soup subtly spiced with curry and jazzed with cinnamon crème fraiche and walnut croutons.
The kitchen grills coils of calamari until they’re fork tender and smoky, and partners them with a wonderfully rustic tomato-based puttanesca sauce.
Simplicity rules in a salad of nutty quinoa dressed in thyme vinaigrette nicely counterpointed with chunks of sweet watermelon, rich burrata cheese and collard greens.
Entrees similarly impress. The ‘land and sea’ option brings 12 oz striploin perfectly grilled medium-rare until the meat’s juices run; and tender, smoky tiger prawns. Along for the ride is an earthy, adroitly spiced Portobello mushroom.
A nightly special, pan-seared, crispy skinned salmon is superbly moist and delicate, and animated by its herbed cream, roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Tiny pattypan squash, tomato confit and garlicky wilted spinach accompany a fat, pan-seared slab of B.C. herb-crusted halibut perched on fennel beurre blanc.
Ending the evening are pumpkin and cinnamon spiced crème brulee; warm crostata of honeyed pears and melted goat cheese on puff pastry; and vanilla, pistachio and strawberry ice creams.
Throughout, service is polished, friendly and professional.
Group options include buyouts of the entire restaurant, which seats 82 people and, combined with the adjoining lounge area, accommodates 200, cocktail-style. Also available are private dining areas ranging from 10 to 50 people.
King Street Social Kitchen also caters the hotel’s in-house meetings and events.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,500 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.