Apr 19, 2017
163 SPADINA AVENUE, THIRD FLOOR, TORONTO, ONTARIO
THE ALO EXPERIENCE BEGINS WITH A DISCREET DOORWAY ON A GRITTY STRETCH OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO.
Then, a slow and suspenseful elevator ride. The doors open on the upper-floor oasis of a chic bar and lounge, home to a commendable selection of cutting-edge cocktails. After that, make your way over to the small adjoining dining room, a setup that communicates exclusivity of the best possible sort. There, settle in for a six-course menu dégustation. And with your first course—foamed potato with a quenelle of vibrant sea urchin, perhaps—comes a warm, deep sense of comfort, knowing you’re in good hands. There’s a lavish pork chop from St.
Canut Farms in the Laurentians, on a plate dashed, dripped and dolloped with cranberry, walnuts and radicchio. Crisp seared hamachi alongside cauliflower, roasted and raw, and a juicy puree of piquillo peppers. Sweet, buttery squash paired with the bitter kiss of the citrus fruit sudachi in a complex dessert. And the realization that amid all that talk about how fine dining was dead, gone and irrelevant, you were really missing it badly, and waiting for someone to come along and do it right. Like intense young chef Patrick Kriss, who is in game here, big time. Balanced sauces, foams of this, shards of that—Alo looks back, and forward. It is overdue, and all the more appreciated for it. Do the right thing by the six-course tasting menu and let the sommelier match wine to course. Fine—and modestly priced—small plates are also available at the bar.