Epic

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REVIEW I would never counsel a visitor to stay within the confines of his or her hotel, but this stunning restaurant at the Fairmont Royal York is definitely worth a visit. The scene is one of unabashed luxury, with velvety banquettes and Murano glass chandeliers. The attentive service is in keeping with the elegant atmosphere -- don't come here if you don't want to be pampered. The menu holds up its end of the deal, with luxurious ingredients that are cleverly matched. The starters set the tone -- think Dungeness crab salad with Segruva caviar, or a seafood tower built with the freshest lobster, scallops, and oysters. Mains vary from truffle- and polenta-stuffed pheasant with asparagus and shallots to the morel-crusted venison loin with seared Québec foie gras. One of my favorite dishes -- the tempura-fried halibut and hand-cut fries (an upscale version of fish and chips) -- is available only at lunch. Source: frommers.com REVIEW The signature restaurant of a grand hotel. Modern room contrasts with the Fairmont Royal York’s traditional elegance. Chef Jean-Charles Dupoire prepares cumin and pine nut crusted Ontario rack of lamb with medjool dates, kalamata black olives and tomato chutney. Breakfast, dinner daily; lunch Mon.-Fri.; afternoon tea daily ($19, reservations recommended); Sun. brunch $49. Smart casual. CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award. Entrées: $27-$57. AE, DC, MC, V. Source: where.com REVIEW The decor is quite contemporary for an old-school hotel, with its open kitchen, glossy pillars, upholstered chairs and banquettes, and swirl-patterned carpets. A water menu is proffered, boasting some 30 varieties, including Galvanina natural mineral water. The dinner card cooks local but thinks global, as in two plump Newfoundland scallops seared in a crust of seaweed and sesame seeds, touched with oyster foam and a dab of sevruga caviar and accompanied by sea asparagus. Service is sprightly and genial, yet steak knives should be offered, without asking, for a 12-ounce New York strip loin, seasoned right and cooked to a juicy medium rare. Red onion jam, horseradish-merlot jus, seasonal young vegetables, garlic-chive potato purée and Mount Alberta king mushrooms accompany. Exquisite desserts are made from scratch, as in warm and wintry spiced-apple tarte tatin. Wines cover New and Old World bases, with 25 options available by the glass. REVIEW With a royal reputation on the line, Epic aims to serves diners meals of - well – epic proportions. Situated in a hotel that has hosted English and Hollywood royalty, the plush décor and lavish accents exude wealth and reflect the cosmopolitan lifestyle many guests lead. Executing each dish with military precision (thanks to a brief stint as a Corporal in the French military), Chef de Cuisine Jean-Charles Dupoire commands the kitchen with authority and consistently demands perfection. After a literally epic lifestyle of traveling the French Polynesian Islands and working in the exotic vacation destination of the Virgin Islands, Chef Dupoire’s inventive menu is directly inspired from these forays in the culinary world. Dishes such as the Vanilla Roasted Ostrich Loin and Lobster Tortellini with a Roasted Yam Puree, Morel Mushrooms Fricassee and Marjoram Jus challenge the taste buds of cosmopolitan travelers that wander the halls of the Royal York relic. Despite his penchant for the unusual, the menu also reflects many dishes integral to Canadian culture. Much like how Toronto is a multi-cultural city full of Canadians that descend from around the world, this menu reflects the merge of native ingredients with worldly techniques. The Canuck East Coast Crab Cake is accompanied with a tangy cilantro and mango salad (we sure don’t grow those in Canada but moving on…) and the supremely tender Cumin-Pinenut Crusted rack of Ontario Lamb is flavoured with delicious Medjool Dates, Kalamata Black Olives, and a Fig-Balsamic Jus. Finish off dinner with something sweet like the Ontario Maple and Coffee Crème Brulee and you’ll never doubt why royalty can’t stay away from Epic.