Located in the heart of Yorkville, Mideastro (@MideastroTO) celebrated their 2nd anniversary last week.
While the restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern fare, the food is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean with ingredients being flown in from 11 countries overseas. Prior to visiting Mideastro, I had only ever eaten Middle Eastern fare in a fast-food setting and was impressed by how Executive Chef Benny Cohen has added an elevated touch to his dishes.
“In a population of 500, I grew up smelling cuisine from 30 cities,” said Chef Benny. “While I was classically trained to become a Certified Chef, my hometown was a melting pot of different cultures that can be found in Mideastro’s eclectic menu.”
The charming chef was born and raised in Israel. After studying culinary arts there, he toured the world, gaining exposure to different types of cuisines. He ended up in Canada three years ago and shortly thereafter, joined Mideastro at their first location in Vaughan.
The Yorkville location has an elegant feel to it with its dark and sleek décor. It’s quite spacious with booths down both sides of the restaurant and space for 150.
I was invited to Mideastro’s 2nd Anniversary dinner celebration last week which started off with some canapés including a delicious Risotto – with edamame, asparagus, green peas & spinach and an incredible Beef Carpaccio – with arugula, parmigiano reggiano & balsamic pomegranate reduction.
The 2nd anniversary tasting menu included an appetizer trio, a mains trio and two desserts. Here’s a look at what we indulged in:
The Appetizer Trio
Persian Grape Leaves – Stuffed with dried mint rice, ground tenderloin in tomato hearts, lemon, fresh mint and pine sap, on a bed of Lebanese sumac tahina and red & white quinoa tabule
Duck Confit Pastilla – on a coconut cream mash, drizzled with date honey, sesame paste, pomegranate reduction and pistachios
Shrimp Falafel – tzatziki feta, pickled vegetable tartare, hummus masabaha, aji panka & herb tahina
The Mains Trio
Halibut – whipped fennel cream, quinoa tabule, Spanish almonds, sweet arisa preserved lemon pesto with Syrian olives, baby artichokes, okra & lemon raki
Crispy Quail – mung bean pods, mango, chili, candied garlic, root vegetable tartare & pineapple reduction
Miami Ribs – marinated in ginger, garlic, mint, date honey & orange juice
Mini Nutella Parfait – frozen nutella cream, caramelized bananas, rich crème anglais, salted pecan brittle and tuile cookie
Fig Kataiv – crisp kataiv pastry layered with spiced mascarpone, fresh figs and pistachios
The savoury highlights for me were the Persian grape leaves, shrimp falafel and Miami ribs. While I’m a big fan of stuffed grape leaves, I find that often times they can be too oily but this wasn’t the case here. These tender grape leaves were filled with a perfectly seasoned mixture of rice and ground meat. Delish!
I’ve had the shrimp falafel on a previous visit and enjoyed them just as much as the first time. It was a unique take on the falafel and reminded me of shrimp tempura but with a thicker and crunchier batter. As for the “Miami” ribs, they don’t exactly shout Middle Eastern food but the sweet marinade worked wonderfully with the meat.
We ended off the evening with two stellar desserts. The nutella parfait consisted of all my favourite ingredients so needless to say, I loved this dish. There was a nice coolness from the frozen nutella cream and bit of crunch from the salted pecan brittle (I’m a big fan of salted desserts!).
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with the fig kataiv but it turned out to be another hit. It was a very delicate dessert with thin crispy noodle-like layers forming a little nest. I enjoyed the contrasting textures of the dish – the crispy pastry sandwiching the creamy mascarpone. A perfect ending to the tasting!
Happy 2nd anniversary to Mideastro and here’s to many more successful years to come!
*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post are my own.*