Daniel Boulud Restaurants Debut in Toronto
The chef and restaurateur brings local ingredients and French flavour to Four Seasons Hotel Toronto restaurants Café Boulud and dbar.
It’s hard to say what chef Daniel Boulud is more famous for: his classic French cuisine or his commitment to seasonal, local ingredients. Toronto foodies are enjoying both, thanks to the Lyon-born restaurateur’s partnership with the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. In a cosy, loft-like setting with large windows overlooking the city’s trendy Yorkville neighbourhood, Café Boulud and its street-level bar, dbar, are welcoming locals and visitors alike—many primed to experience the magic of one of North America’s leading culinary authorities.
“My aim is to offer a cooking style rooted in time-honoured French techniques that are applied to the finest seasonal ingredients in every location, including Toronto,” says Boulud. “It’s a great opportunity for our chefs to be very creative—especially here, building on the city’s rich multi-ethnic cuisines—while respecting French traditions.”
Adds Tyler Shedden, Chef de Cuisine, “The essence of every one of Daniel’s restaurants is to use the best of locally produced or grown ingredients, embracing the land that produces the food, similar to a wine’s terroir.”
The result: a menu that fans of Boulud’s New York restaurant may find familiar. Each dish is inspired by one of Boulud’s four culinary muses: La Tradition (traditional French cuisine), La Saison (seasonal dishes), Le Potager (the vegetable garden) and Le Voyage (flavours of world cuisine). The effect is a collection of mini-menus begging to be mixed and matched. Pair a seasonal squash risotto with a French classic such as poulet au vinaigre, or opt for local bounty such as slow-baked Nova Scotia halibut.
Like the menu, the restaurant’s wine programme is as diverse as it is extensive, with nearly 350 selections ranging from well-known French varietals to local wines from Ontario’s best vineyards. “We’re introducing our guests to some lesser-known boutique wineries,” says Drew Walker, Wine Director at Café Boulud and dbar. Winemakers represented include Pearl Morissette Estate Winery (Niagara Peninsula), J.M. Sohler (Alsace), Éric Texier Wines (Rhône), Domaine Tempier (Bandol) and Champagne producer David Léclapart.
For a nightcap or a more laid-back affair, dbar—with its seasonal terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows—is the place to go. The menu includes gourmet burgers, house-made charcuterie and sausages, craft beers on tap, wines by the glass, and a specially created cocktail menu.
On your next visit, try the chef’s recommendation:
Joue et ris de veau en cocotte (roasted veal loin) served with creamy polenta, carrot confit and caper veal jus, accompanied by a bottle of Paul Jaboulet Aîné ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage (2001).