We enjoyed an excellent evening in the intimate Parlour | Photo: Rick O’BrienMaison Selby combines excellent cuisine and a congenial atmosphere in historic Toronto mansion Peter & Beverley Kerr November 22, 2019 3104 Maison Selby is a historic property in the centre of Toronto’s gentrified St. James Town district. Built in 1883 by the architect of Toronto’s Flatiron Building, Maison Selby was the summer residence of the Gooderham family, co-owners of the world’s largest distillery in the late 19th century on Toronto’s waterfront. Before being home to its current French-inspired bistro, the property had many uses, including being used as prestigious girls’ school, hotel and semi-private club. The French classic “Steak & Frites” lived up to our server’s recommendation Photo: Rick O’Brien The restaurant is now owned by restaurateurs Oliver and Bonacini, who operate Bar George at Montreal’s Hotel Mount Stephen. John Horner is the Executive Chef for Maison Selby in addition to Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Jump, Biff’s Bistro, and Liberty Commons. Respecting the historic nature of the property, the current owners and restaurant operators have maintained the original principal rooms; giving diners an appreciation of the building’s architecture and at the same time providing several semi-private, intimate dining spaces. On the evening of our visit, we were seated in the elegant Parlour, with mahogany book shelves, forest green wainscoting and ornamental fireplace. The service we enjoyed from the first greeting was welcoming, knowledgeable and nicely timed. When asked to recommend a choice of two menu items, our server provided what turned out to be a very satisfying selection. Top marks! The French classic “Steak & Frites” lived up to our server’s recommendation Photo: Rick O’Brien We’re currently in the golden age of the cocktail, and the mixologists at Maison Selby are known for their creative libations. The cocktail menu categories include Selby Favourites, Straight Up Strong & Boozy (not for amateurs), Bright Fresh & Zesty, and The Outliers. The bar also serves local and house draught beers along with locally bottled craft beers. Maison Selby Spirits are offered in partnership with small batch liquor producer Dillon’s Distillery. Mussels & Frites – oh la-la delicious Photo: Rick O’Brien As you would expect, there is a good selection of French wines sold by the glass in five and eight ounce servings, and a good-sized wine list that is understandably dominated by French vintners. Three sparkling wines are offered by the glass, including Taittinger Champagne from France. There is a good selection of reasonably priced wines in the $50 t0 $95 per bottle range, and several vintage selections in the $200+ range. A wine selection to satisfy most palates. We noticed that our fellow diners included different generations; several tables of fellow members of the Boomer generation, millennials and a couple of families; suggesting a broad-based appeal based on really good food. The menu is decidedly French-inspired with appetisers that include richly flavoured Escargots de Bourgogne, oysters, French onion soup Gruyere, seared foie gras, and beef tartare. Anticipating the courses to follow, we opted for a light Escarole salad – it was a perfect start to a meal that would exceed our expectations. The delicate lemon tart with a charred meringue and raspberries Photo: Rick O’Brien The main dinner courses continue in the French Connection – offering a variety of entrees that include: French onion beef chuck burger, pan-fried Sole Meunière, Bœuf Bourguignon, Provencal Ratatouille, Mussels & Frites (with a Person cream sauce), Coq au Vin, Roast Lamb, Poached Salmon, and of course… Steak Frites (with three choices of steak). We opted for the mussels for Beverley and steak frites for me. Both were outstanding! Maison Selby also offers a five-course tasting menu that is an excellent value at $65 per person, and they ask that you make this request when you make your reservation. The dessert menu begins with – what else? the classic French Crème Brûlée. Other options include: Sticky Toffee Pudding with crème fraiche ice cream (I tried this based on our server’s recommendation – bingo – it’s a winner), chocolate hazelnut layered cake, imported French cheeses, and a lemon tart served on a charred meringue with frozen raspberries. The only problem with dessert is making your decision. Maison Selby is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch offered from 10 am to 2:30 pm on weekends. The complete menus are available online at www.maisonselby.com. Reservations can be made online or by telephone: 1-647-943-1676. Maison Selby is located at 592 Sherbourne St. in Toronto. Enjoy! Related
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