Being a meatlover, I was excited to try Bestellen, the restaurant recently opened by Top Chef finalist Rob Rossi and Ryan Sarfeld. Everything at Bestellen is made in-house, with a dry aging room situated in the middle of the restaurant with a glass wall for all to see. The main dining room also features a large mural with a butchered pig on it with paintings of different cuts of meat. This definitely isn’t a place to bring your vegetarian friends.
The restaurant is located on College Street, just west of Dovercourt. They’re open for dinner 7 days a week and open at 6pm for dinner. Mike and I dropped by on a Saturday and luckily they still had a few tables available for an early dinner. The space is quite large and contains quite a bit of seating, with additional seating at the bar.
The small kitchen at the back of the restaurant is open and you can see Rob working away. There was a lot of staff working at the restaurant and we found the servers to be really attentive – always coming by to see how we were doing, refilling our water and what not.
We started with the Duck Heart Brochettes – with bacon, pearl onions and a maple bourbon glaze ($9), which was the special bar snack for today. It came with four skewers, each with a duck heart, a piece of bacon and a sweet pearl onion which was meant to be eaten in one bite. The duck heart wasn’t too chewy (like they often can be) and the sweet and savoury combination of all the flavours resulted in a perfect little bite. It was a great way to start off the meal.
Next up was the Charcuterie Board – a selection of house-made charcuterie, pickles, mustard and bread. The charcuterie boards come in two sizes and since we were ordering so many things, we decided to go with the smaller portion for $13 (the full size is $25).
The half size board came with three components – walnut and pork salami, capicola (made from pork shoulder) and a duck heart and pork terrine. Mike’s favourite was the capicola while mine was the terrine which was wrapped in double smoked bacon and covered in a brandy glaze. It also had a small date in the middle of it which added a bit of sweetness to it all.
The selection of pickles was also enjoyable, particularly the pickled cauliflower. Delish! My only complaint was that the bread we were served was a touch on the burnt side. But overall, this was a total steal at only $13!
Our third starter was the Chorizo Stuffed Squid – with braised white beans, smoked tomato, cilantro ($12). Although the squid was a little chewier than I would have preferred, the chorizo was amazing. I’m not a huge fan of beans in general so I can’t provide an unbiased opinion on them… but Mike really loved them. He said that they were creamy and was a nice balance to the squid and chorizo.
The fourth and final starter we ordered was the Traditional Steak Tartare – espelete aioli, olives and crispy quail’s egg ($13). The coarsely cut tartare was fresh and perfectly seasoned. Sitting on top of the tartare was a deep fried quail’s egg. Despite loving all things deep-fried, I didn’t think it was really necessary. Nor was the aioli necessary since the tartare itself was packed full of flavour.
Since the appetizers sounded more appealing than the mains, we decided to only order one main, the 10oz Tenderloin ($29). Like their cured meats, all the steaks are done in-house. The tenderloin we ordered was cooked rare, like we had asked and was served sliced in half. The meat was incredibly tender and our knives cut right through them like butter. A damn tasty tenderloin! I actually couldn’t finish my half and packed the rest to go. It still tasted amazing the day after!
The meat came with a choice of one side. We were disappointed to see that the Brussels sprouts with pork belly was no longer an option so we opted for the crushed fingerlings with crème fraiche. There was a generous portion of potatoes – some which came served in the same dish as the tenderloin but also an additional dish full of these potatoes. I’m guessing this was just a mistake… not that I’m complaining. The potatoes were cooked nicely and the addition of the fresh dill went a long way.
Although Mike and I were beyond stuffed at this point, I couldn’t resist getting dessert since they were serving up two of my favourites – a plum clafouti and carrot cake. We decided on the Carrot Cake ($6) and I have no regrets whatsoever. The carrot cake was sitting in a pool of caramel, similar to a sticky toffee pudding. The cake itself moist and wasn’t too dense. It was topped with a dollop of a cream cheese icing which had a light and fluffy consistency. Oh, and it was covered in fried carrot strings to add a bit of texture. Need I say more? It was the perfect way to end a fantastic meal.
Going into the meal with high expectations, I was not disappointed! The prices are reasonable, the food was delicious and the service was spot-on. Meat-lovers rejoice!
At a glance:
• Meat-centred restaurant opened by Top Chef finalist Rob Rossi
• Everything is made in-house
• Reasonable prices
• Open 7 days a week for dinner starting at 6pm
• Located on College St., just west of Dovercourt
• Gets quite loud with the music
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 3.5 stars