For my birthday celebration, Mike brought me to Frank’s Kitchen (@FranksKitchen) in Little Italy. We’ve previously attempted to drop by a while back but they were always fully booked on weekends, even booking two weekends in advance. Thankfully, we were able to grab a reservation during the August long weekend, likely due to the fact that half the city was out of town.
Not long after being seated, we realized that the roof directly above Mike was dripping quite a bit. We informed our server and were told that sometimes it happens from all the condensation. He offered to seat us at another table but would require a 10-15 minute wait as the other customers were just about to finish up. So, we just enjoyed a drink at the bar and waited.
The restaurant has a warm, intimate feel to it. If you aren’t able to snag a table, the bar area is always an option. We saw many people eating dinner at the bar.
Shortly after ordering, our server brought over a plate of complimentary house-made bread. I love it when a restaurant serves you a variety of bread (like Scarpetta). Tonight, we tried the garlic focaccia, eggwash brioche (with fig) and walnut & chianti bread, in order of preference.
The bread also came with a side of dangerously addictive marinated olives and a sundried tomato and olive oil spread which complimented the bread nicely.
Before our appetizers were served, we were brought an Amuse Bouche – roasted red pepper puree and vegetable terrine & gazpacho with truffle oil. It was a nice way to start the meal as all the components were quite refreshing. I particularly enjoyed the gazpacho since it was a really hot and humid day.
For my appetizer, I wanted to order the seared foie gras. However, the server informed me that they were out of it and recommended the Kobe Bone Marrow & Benison Tartare with a Foie Gras Torchon Salad ($21) instead if I was looking for something rich and similar.
The component on the far left was the tartare which I really enjoyed. It contained small bits of pickles in it that gave it a nice bit of sourness. The middle component was the rich bone marrow. I never used to be a fan of bone marrow but it’s really grown on me. The marrow was perfectly seasoned and tasted unbelievable spread over the pieces of crostini it was served with.
The last component of the trio was the foie gras torchon salad. While I enjoyed it, it was the least favourite part of the dish as I found it a touch salty. However, the greens it was paired with certainly helped.
The trio came with some pickled onions, mushrooms and pickles which were the perfect compliments to the rich components of the dish. I think I actually enjoyed this trio more than I would have enjoyed the seared foie gras! A great recommendation from our server.
Mike went with the Lobster Ravioli – in a basil, olive oil and fresh tomato broth ($19) for his starter. I was surprised by how large the portion was given that it was only an appetizer. The pasta itself was cooked al dente and the filling was fantastic as it contained large, sweet chunks of lobster in each little pocket. There wasn’t much “filler” at all!
Unfortunately, Mike found a piece of steel wool in his dish. It didn’t deter us from finishing up the dish though! We informed the server afterwards and they handled it very well – apologizing to us and comping the dish.
After finishing up the starters, we were brought over a palette cleanser, kalamansi lime sorbet with fresh basil. It was a refreshing bite of sorbet which certainly did the trick.
For my main, I went with the Orange and Cocoa Nib Encrusted Duck Breast – with cipollini onions, French beans, crisp parmesan polenta in a tarragon and foie gras jus ($26) which contained a substantial portion of duck. While the duck breast wasn’t quite as tender as I would’ve liked, the flavour was spot on. The orange and cocoa nib crust worked beautifully.
The duck came with a side of crisp parmesan polenta which had a little piece of foie gras on top of it. Polenta is so delicious when it’s fried! I prefer it in this form over the all-too-often gluey polenta.
Mike went with the St. Jacobs Pork 3 Ways – Rack, loin, crispy belly with fiddleheads and peas in a Calvados reduction ($28). While my favourite part was the crisp pork belly skin (who doesn’t love this stuff?), I thought the meat half of it could’ve been a bit more tender as it didn’t quite melt in my mouth.
As for the loin, this is one cut of pork I usually stay away from because it can become awfully dry. Thankfully, the loin at Frank’s Kitchen was cooked wonderfully as it was still tender and moist. Each part of the dish was flavoured wonderfully, right down to the accompanying fiddleheads.
After finishing our entrees, the server came by to let us know what our dessert options were verbally. Since they don’t have a paper dessert menu, I’m assuming they change frequently. We decided to go with the Blueberry Crème Brulee ($9). The top was nicely torched and the interior was smooth and thankfully not too sweet. It was a great way to end off the meal.
Or so we thought… the bill arrived with two complimentary truffles which were made in-house. Absolutely delicious!
Overall, despite a few hiccups in the beginning, I had a great birthday meal. The food was delicious and the staff handled the hiccups very well. I can see myself coming back in the future!
At a glance:
• Everything is made fresh, in-house
• Entrees are around $30; appetizers are around $15-$20
• Located in Little Italy (College and Clinton)
• Book a reservation well in advance if you want a weekend reservation
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars