Close to 3 months ago a new trendy restaurant, with an homage to Elvis, opened its doors to Toronto crowds. Lisa Marie, an inspiration by the creator and owner of the famous Fidel Gastro’s food truck, was born. Quickly becoming one of the most popular food spots on Queen West, Lisa Marie has hit high marks in my books and stolen my heart away. Here’s how…
With a tapas-inspired menu, Lisa is all about the food, the flavours and the mixing and matching of unique ingredients that make up the 15 for so food items on the menu. Like the Eggplant in a Jar ($5), a funky mixture of thai chilies, zucchini chips, brined eggplant and tallegio cheese. All mixed and baked in a small jar, enough to give two people 4 good spoons of a taste.
Next to it, a crazy big Turkey Wing ($7) that has been marinated in a hoisin chili sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with green onion. A sweet piece of meat that is rather tender and juicy. Making things even more interesting, I find myself inquiring about the Short Rib Polenta Patty ($5). More like a Spanish montadito, the meat is braised in beer and served atop a smoked tomato and parmesan charred polenta cake. The polenta is not crumbly or dry, rather it’s moist with a smooth texture.
On its complete opposite end, there is a Deep Fried Pizza ($8), which just blows my mind away. As base, a fried pizza dough; on top, smoke duck with duck skin chicharron (rind), hoisin sauce and an asparagus slaw. That perfect sweetness from the hoisin is nicely balanced with the greasy and salty taste of the duck.
The Pad Thai Fries ($6), part of the featured menu of the day, were probably one of the best spicy foods I’ve had. In spite of having a low tolerance for heat, I devoured these babies in the blink of an eye. With a perfect deep fry, a crunchy texture and a nice dusting of siracha, butter and lime juice sauce, these fries left me longing for more. A newly discovered addiction for me.
The same night, a light and refreshing arugula salad, was also featured at Lisa Marie. For some odd reason I decided to offset the spiciness of the fries with this salad, which created a whole new flavour in my palate; leading me to start mixing the salad with the fries. It was that lemony taste from the dressing, accompanied by the bitterness of the arugula and the sweetness of the red bell peppers that made this creation a success. We even told the waitress we had a new menu item in the works for the chef!
The most greasy “thang” we enjoyed about the menu was the Pork Belly Cheese Thang ($5). Nothing beats a good ol’ smoked pork belly, sitting on a bed of fried crunchy cheese, topped with a cilantro cherry tomato salsa, all drizzled in a chili basil aioli. Now that is decadence at its best.
And so we finally come to Lisa Marie’s masterpiece, the Elvis in a Jar ($6). A layered and blended mix of bananas, french toast, maple syrup, peanuts and peanut butter whipped cream topped with a candied spiced bacon. Sweet on bite, smooth on the palate and tasty all over. After all, wasn’t Lisa’s masterpiece always Elvis?
Tip: Sauces, marinated meats and pickles are also for sale from an in-house mini-market at the back of the restaurant.
Until next time Foodies!
Venue: Lisa Marie
Specialty: Fusion Tapas
Location: 638 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Menu items: Aperol Spritz, Malocchio Sour, Eggplant in a Jar, The Turkey Wing, Short Rib Polenta Patty, Deep Fried Pizza, Pork Belly Cheese Thang, Fresh Tuna Puttanesca & Elvis in a Jar