About seven months ago, lbs restaurant opened in Toronto’s financial district serving a menu primarily focused on seafood.
Decked out in hard surfaces (rough concrete, plenty of tile), a palette of neutral earth tones and a high ceiling, lbs (pronounced “pounds”) is airy and welcoming. At the back, a glassed-in open kitchen affords a view of the hard-working brigade.
Among apps, there’s a generous Caesar salad loaded with black kale, toasted breadcrumbs and double-smoked bacon kicked-up with a bracing anchovy lemon vinaigrette. Also strong are crab croquettes fashioned from sweet shellfish bound with minimal filler and animated by a brightly flavoured dip of cucumber, mint and pickled red onion. Cheddar biscuits, spread with honey butter, go down easy.
Mains bring a 1.25 lb Nova Scotia lobster, its tender claw and tail meat enhanced with the requisite drawn butter. An earthy and sophisticated mix of lobster meat, blistered cherry tomatoes, tarragon and basil is tossed with thick pappardelle pasta. And in a clever take on the classic Spanish dish patatas bravas (potatoes covered with spicy tomato sauce or aioli), the kitchen pairs very tender chunks of octopus with fingerling potatoes, paprika scenting the irresistible dish.
We finish with the restaurant’s signature dessert, the ice cream sando, built on a house-made cruller stuffed with burnt-marshmallow ice cream, and chocolate bumble cake, similar to chunks of bread pudding garnished with caramel and whipped cream.
Entire restaurant (including interior patio, inside an office building atrium) seats 140 and is available for full buyouts. Designated areas (bar, front lounge, main dining room, interior patio) are available for semi-private functions.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 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.