Merlot serves up a menu of that’s mostly French with dishes that include: cassoulet, Pot-au Feu(soup), Onion tarts, Couscous, pasta and fish dishes.
The Antidote to Bland and Boring Bistro
Merlot Restaurant specializes in classic bistro fare of ethereal quality at merciful prices, and since the Kingsway gentry know value when they taste it, Merlot draws both the ladies that lunch and laid-back lovers of the bona fide bistro.
A Judicious Wine Selection with Classic Bistro Entrees
Merlot’s slim white space of French posters and elegant settings invites an idle study of a wine card of judicious selection (though it must be said, Merlot makes a fine martini). Entrees, in the classic sense, include onion tart “alsacienne,” with béchamel sauce and bell pepper goat cheese, Merlot’s homemade pate of chicken liver and pork and fish soup “St. Tropez,” with rouille and grated emmenthal. Tortellini and tagliatte (vegetarian pasta) and a zazou salad of goat cheese and roma tomatoes complete.
Bistro Mains that Revel in Creamy Cuisine
Merlot revels in cream, as did the giants of French cuisine, careme and escoffier. Mains include paillard of veal normande, drizzled in a mushroom and calvados cream sauce, and ballotine of chicken leg, stuffed with veal and bathed in mustard cream. Seafood catches include calamari, Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout “dieppoise,” dabbed with a light cream sauce with mushrooms and shrimp. You too should revel, if you believe that bistro is a rare thing done well, and worth a trip to the Kingsway.
Lucky old Kingsway! Who else in T.O. has a local that mimes classic French bistro fare so efficiently? Careful, though: it’s decidedly pre–cuisine minceur. An adult yet raucous clientele packs the long, slim room nightly, celebrating the judicious pricing and generous portions. French posters paper the walls, servers quickstep, and there’s a special, unannounced little gem of a wine list offering some 20 aristocratic bordeaux.
Ballottine of chicken leg, stuffed with veal loin, is delish under Pommery mustard cream and resilient mushrooms. Vegetables (texture-perfect carrots, zucchini wheels, turnip chunks and undercooked broccoli) and sautéed garlic potatoes accompany authentically unctuous duck confit. Starter-wise, Zazou salad brings a sporty mix of goat cheese on fresh greens and roma tomatoes. Airy chocolate mousse for dessert, say, or a visually stunning assortment of open-faced tarts.