Hard to believe it’s been nine years since One restaurant opened in the Hazelton Hotel in Toronto’s tony Yorkville neighbourhood.
Part of celebrity chef Mark McEwan’s restaurant group, One, under executive chef Andrew Ellerby and chef de cuisine Darby Piquette, quietly goes about its business, turning out plates for an upscale clientele.
Chili vinaigrette, salsa verde and smoked paprika salt animate chunks of tender, smoky octopus sided with triple-cooked potatoes and Cerignola olives.
Slices of expertly fried eggplant, crisp and light, with a custardy interior, benefit from their ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, pickled onion and basil garnish.
Sweet and smoky maple-glazed bacon, and roasted-onion crème fraiche, garnish crisp cheddar-filled pierogies. Pomegranate yogurt, avocado chunks, orange sections, raisin chutney and cilantro vinaigrette perfectly complement heirloom carrots cooked to sugar-sweetness.
Among mains, there’s a slab of delicate Arctic char garnished with green papaya and mango slaw, cashew praline and coconut green Thai curry. Roasted potatoes ride shotgun beside Dover sole treated to lemon-caper brown butter. Thick and juicy 20 oz. bone-in ribeye arrives medium rare.
A la carte sides include chunks of sweet potato scattered with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with cardamom yogurt, and broccoli lavished with rich tahini dressing.
To finish, there’s a trio of stellar desserts. Vanilla ice cream tops sour, flaky crusted cherry tart, served warm; and made-to-order Boston cream doughnuts, filled with pastry cream and drizzled with dark chocolate, could not be better. Best-in-show goes to divine banana cream pie, built on ultra-fresh filling, peanut shortbread crust and chocolate pastry cream.
The full restaurant is available for buyout (capacity depends on the setup particular to each event). A private room, located at the back of the restaurant, seats 18. The Yorkville function room, which also features an adjoining foyer, seats 60.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,200 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.