New and Old
I’m seriously slacking on the posting! Apologies to the handful (that’s probably an overestimate) of people who actually read this thing! Andrew and I ate at Nao Steakhouse for his birthday way back in December. It’s our thing, I do sushi for my birthday and we do steak for his. You won’t normally catch us in Yorkville (flashback to our anniversary at Kasamoto where we were surrounded by super rich kids with nothing but loose ends) but we’ve heard from a few people that this place was worth checking out. The service here was excellent — we had someone escort us from our car to the restaurant, not that it was hard to find or anything, but I very much appreciated the gesture. The front door was opened to a dark room illuminated by a grand chandelier. Our seats were upstairs, which we accessed via a candlelit stairway (which is probably a fire hazard, but I think the effect was worth the risk because it was certainly romantic)! It was a Tuesday, so it wasn’t as busy as it normally is during the weekend, but I’m told by Andrew that Bizmack Biyombo was in the house. I looked for him on our way out (I don’t know why I even bothered, it’s not like I would have recognized the dude anyway).
Once we scoured the cocktail list, we both ordered the Dutch Collins. I mean, who wouldn’t want a ‘weekend in the tropics’ in the middle of a cold December week? I’m always down to travel through space and time. And it worked! The basil in the drink made it delightfully refreshing, just like a fresh summer breeze. Unfortunately, the pineapple skewer wasn’t edible really, it was quite tough, like chewing on a piece of sugar cane. Maybe they figure people don’t really eat their drink garnishes. They must not know ’bout me. Because if it’s edible, I’m eating it!
As hard as it was to say ‘no’ to starters like mac & cheese, foie gras, chicken kaarage and Miami shortrib, we thought we would keep it light with the squash fritters and the table side tuna tartar since we would both be consuming steaks in the near future. The tuna tartar was mixed at our table over a bowl of ice for our viewing pleasure, accompanied by butter lettuce. There was a touch of heat from the wasabi, and the puffed rice gave it an amazing crunchy texture, contrasting the tenderness of the tuna. The fritters were everything one could ask for in a fritter, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The coconut cream was the perfect texture, airy and not too thick. The lime pickle gave the dish just the right amount of zing that it needed.
Ok, so I know nothing about steak, other than the fact that I prefer mine medium rare. I don’t crave them ever. The thought of actually having to finish a massive piece of beef in one sitting kind of scares me (totally unrelated to my fear of cows). So, needless to say, Andrew told me which steak to order. I was fully capable of choosing my own side though, so I chose rosti (that is something I do have cravings for), but I wish our server had told me how ginormous it was! If we had known, then maybe Andrew wouldn’t have ordered mashed potatoes. Wait, that’s a lie. Potatoes, in all of their glorious forms, are always welcome at our table. We opted to have both of our steaks carved for us. And the verdict? Umm, they were good. Really, really good. Juicy. Tender. Well-seasoned. Like I said, I’m not super into steak so this is hard for me to comment on. They definitely weren’t gross. Maybe the better person to ask is Andrew:
It was really good, cooked and seasoned well. It’s what you would expect for what you’re paying for. Definitely way better than steak from Michael’s on Simcoe.
Ok, maybe not. But that’s two people telling you the steak was really good. That works, right?
After an embarrassingly pathetic attempt to finish my steak (I had to take more than half of it home), dessert time rolls around and it’s time for some difficult decision making. It’s either the baked Alaska, which is something we’ve never had before, or a slice of bannoffee pie, Boston cream pie or coconut cream pie (I know it was Andrew’s birthday, not mine, but this is one of my faves!) from the trolley. Do you try something new, or end your meal with something you know you will like? We decided this time to stick with what’s tried and true. Although it took me a while to get there. After eliminating baked Alaska as a contestant, I went back and forth between Boston cream and coconut cream. I think we made the right decision. The pie was fresh and creamy, topped with the most amazing coconut chips (rather than the usual shredded coconut).
Overall, I was impressed with the service and had a great experience. When making reservations for birthdays, I always indicate that fact, so I appreciate when the restaurant actually recognizes that (there are times when they haven’t). If you’re a hardcore carnivore you need to go here. Right. Nao. (See what I did there?)
Monday – Saturday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM