Ursa, Toronto

I was in Toronto for the evening and my friends took me to Ursa for dinner.   I wish I had spent some time in the neighborhood that Ursa resides in.  You can see the changes taking place.  Lots of funky coffee shops, art galleries, clothing stores, etc. 

Ursa has a great vibe.  The room is simple and I’d guess about 50 seats.  In the back is the open kitchen.  The menu is small and changes seasonally using fresh local ingredients.  Each plate is beautifully presented and you can see that a lot of detail goes into everything that comes out of the kitchen.

I started with slices of Hamachi laid over a house-made miso, pickled ginger and a swath of preserved lemon, kumquat and buttermilk.  Creative.  I loved the little dandelion flowers that were placed on top.

My friend had the house-made tofu served with freshwater bonito, radish, ginger and yuzu.

We all split one of the salads called winter roots.  Root vegetables served either raw, dried or preserved with a walnut vinaigrette and kefir lime.

For my main meal, I had the pork.  Whey brined Niagara pork loin with a apple cider glazed pork belly.  The pork belly cut through like butter.  The mixture of flavors with this were fiddleheads, lentils and a sunchoke puree and some blueberry mustard.  A light brown sauce was poured over.  Everything was really delicious and although deconstructed it all worked.

My friend had the chicken served with an amaranth and quinoa polenta, wild leeks, smoked mushrooms and preserved lemons.

My other friend had the fish.  Georgian Bay Whitefish with northern white beans, cauliflower and almonds.

Of course we had to split a dessert.  This was called Milk & Honey.  Sweet whipped ricotta with Rosewood honeycomb, Leatherwood honey, Bee pollen, dried pear and spelt rye.  We each got a small shot of the spelt rye.  Quite delicious. 

Very cool restaurant with a unique blend of flavors, vibe and a good menu.  Best part, of course, was the company.