URSA – CLOSED

Ursa

I’ve been reading rave reviews about Ursa since they opened this year and have been waiting for an opportunity to check it out. I called for a reservation two days earlier, hoping to get a decent time slot on a Friday night with only two people. All the tables had been long booked, but there was room at the bar, which was fine for me. I actually enjoy sitting at the bar sometimes to catch a glimpse of how things come together.

Atmosphere: The room was very dimly lit, a cozy space with a lot of natural wood finish. This seems to be the trend in a lot of new restaurants in Toronto (Marben, Guu, etc). I loved all the hanging pendant lights throughout the dining area, which I forgot to take a picture of. It reminded me a lot of Luma.  There was also a strong…hipster vibe. The matching bartenders, with slicked back here, checker shirt, suspenders, horn rimmed glasses and British accents really fit the scene. I almost wonder what they look like when they’re not working and if the “hipster” uniform if a mandate. Overall, it was a great place for an intimate dinner, may be a little harder for large groups.

Service: Each plate was brought out quickly and plates were cleared promptly. I’m not sure if this was because we were sitting at the bar or not, but our water glasses were always re-filled by the bartender and I must’ve gone through a litre myself so that was a point worth praise. We also had questions when it came to the menu and the difficult decision of choosing mains, which the server was happy to answer and offer their opinion. I always appreciate when a server genuinely recommends specific items on their menu.

Food: For our appetizer, we split the Elk Tartare with a yuzu glaze. I’d never tried Elk before, and I love tartar, it was the obvious choice and I was very happy with it. The dish didn’t taste very gamey, even less so compared to steak tartare.

I ordered the wild boar for my entrée and my dinner partner had the partridge and waffle. The wild boar literally fell apart when we dug in, so tender and moist. I would highly recommend this dish. Evidenced by how many orders of this plate arrive at other tables around us, it’s popular for a good reason.

The partridge itself was well cooked and tender. I wasn’t a fan of the waffles, I found them a touch stale but my friend enjoyed the mix of textures with the wild mushrooms. It was a good dish, but between the two, I loved the wild boar.

Not pictured is the dessert. We shared a flourless chocolate mousse with fresh sea berries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-buckthorn) and lime cream. The mousse was very rich and the berries and cream were very sour, too sour and rich to eat alone, but together the flavours did complement each other.

I was a little worried at first as my dining companion had been on a  somewhat vegan diet before that night and with all the game meats we had ordered, but there was no need. All of the entrees were delicate, no heavy creams or gravies involved and the portions were just right

Ursa

Ursa