It took me a while to wrap my head around the beauty, charm and enchantment that a night spent with fellow Urban Spoon friends at Osteria dei Ganzi brought to my senses.
It was mid August when it all happened. We were invited by Urban Spoon for a night of feasting, celebration and just good eating, and Osteria dei Ganzi was just the place for that. Located in downtown East Toronto, the historic mansion built in 1891 by famed architect George Horace Gooderham is the home of Osteria dei Ganzi, a place where local Ontario produce, imported Italian products and a “Dolce Vita” atmosphere reside. The place is mansion-big, has a solarium-style bar, a patio that seats 200 people and a decor that reminds you of a 1930′s Italian movie yet it’s lamps and wall posts brings you back to the future.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by some of the most fantastic cocktails these lips have tasted. Made by a mixologist’s hand, the Mulata (left) – a delicious mix of tequila plata, amaro averna, maple cigar syrup, pure espresso and xocoltal bitter, was sweet at first followed by a strong smooth bitter taste. The 90 miles to Cuba (right) – a rum, fresh pressed lime juice, maraschino and sugar mixed drink, contained all the right acid notes mixed with the crunchy sweet feel of the sugar.
To kick-off what was about to be one of the most exquisite nights of the summer, the chef sent us a Misto Wood Board containing Italian cold cuts and cheeses, mixed with berries, apples and bread sticks. Our favourite from the night was the Buffalo meat cold cut, with a strong taste that mixed with the fruits gave it a whole new dimension on bite.
Shortly after we finished the delectable charcuterie platter, we were greeted by a white bowl of Arancini. Except this Arancini (aka deep fried Italian rice balls) was also accompanied by lightly deep fried olives, once again adding more dimension to the taste of the dish and making us beg for more of that toasty and crunchy Arancini batter that melted in our palates.
As the night continued to fall so did our appetizer feast, at our table landed some exquisite Melanzane alla Parmigiana, basically a crispy breaded eggplant topped with fresh tomato sauce, basil and buffalo mozzarella cheese. The eggplant was perfectly cooked, meaning the veggie’s texture was well preserved, while the crunch from the breading kept it all together.
Upon nightfall, we finally started with the mains. First came the Osso Bucco, a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks (bone marrow) braised with vegetables and black peppercorn gremolata, a chopped herb condiment typically made of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. The meat melted on bite with no chance for a knife to even come to the party. Though I would question the choice for plaiting, a large bowl, we did enjoy every bite of this dish.
The night’s favourite however was the Pappardelle, a pasta with long, thin egg noddles with lobster, zucchini, mushrooms, roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of dry vermouth, sprinkled with parsley. A great combination that only at Ganzi you can find.
For dessert, we asked the pastry Chef to come out so we could congratulate her. Made on the premises and on the same day, we were astound by the taste, flavour and just well prepared piece of Tiramisu in a Jar. With lady fingers, berries and amaretto, this dessert was the table’s favourite and one to remember for years to come.
A special thanks to Urban Spoon for hosting this unique Toronto event and to Osteria dei Ganzi for treating a table of food aficionados like royalty and feeding us such succulent dishes.
Until next time Foodies!
Venue: Osteria dei Ganzi
Location: 504 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario
Menu items: Drinks – Mulata and 90 Miles to Cuba, Misto Wood Board, Arancini, Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Osso Bucco, Parpadelle and Tiramisu