Tu Casa quietly goes about its business in Mississauga’s Lorne Park neighbourhood, just west of Toronto. The room possesses oodles of traditional, white-tablecloth charm, highlighted by track lighting, chandeliers and tasteful art. Tu Casa means “your house,” and indeed, the restaurant feels like someone’s upscale home.
On the plate, it’s higher-end Mediterranean fare, made with finesse. Anchovy lends salty accents to crisp romaine lettuce in a top-notch Caesar salad, while a balanced cider maple vinaigrette moistens mixed greens, apple, radish, beets and walnuts in a satisfying organic salad.
Plump escargots repose on watercress risotto rich with gruyere and garnished with potato chips. Sweet tomato jam, and a slaw made with jicama and fennel, animates meaty pan-seared crab cake.
Mains continue the hot streak. There’s lobster two ways: claw enrobed in crisp tempura batter and supremely tender butter-roasted tail in a rich tomato lobster bisque, accompanied by chorizo/corn soufflé.
Roasted, bacon-wrapped ballotine of chicken is tender and tasty, and flattered by roasted squash puree, Brussels sprouts and baby carrots.
Lemon beurre blanc is perfectly suited to delicate red snapper; along for the ride are sautéed kale and chorizo. Moist rabbit luxuriates on gnocchi enriched with mushrooms, melted leeks, bacon, parmesan and shaved chestnuts.
To finish, there’s sticky toffee bread pudding (wicked-rich and not overly sweet); an extravagant take on ’smores; and deconstructed apple pie fashioned from dehydrated apple, baked apple, caramel, tiny churros (Mexican doughnuts) and ice cream rolled in cheddar.
Tu Casa’s private room seats 16 and the restaurant also hosts larger groups, of 20 to 25. Dining room is available for private functions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued almost 1,000 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.