Alo is a filling tasting menu experience that leaves you speechless.
Toronto has its fair share of restaurants with extravagant tasting menus. Each is known for its fantastic food, but is limited by one critical aspect – you leave hungry.
My visit to Alo Restaurant was to celebrate my 22nd Birthday. After struggling to get reservations, I was given the opportunity to eat at the Chef’s Table with my family. This involved enjoying a 17 course meal that I can say with certainty was the best dining experience of my life.
Upon entering you go up a squished elevator and walk out to an elegant upscale dining room. On one side there is a bar and on the other are tables. In between the two is the Chef’s Table – a bar counter with six seats looking into the open kitchen – where I enjoyed my meal.
From the vantage point of the Chef’s Table I was able to peer into the beautiful process of creating and plating each dish and even having a few dishes served by Chef Patrick Kriss himself.
Each course was a small piece of art, making you focus on savouring the combination of fresh high quality ingredients rather than having you rhythmically consume a heap of food without much conscious thought.
While the courses are too many to recount, a few stand out as highlights of the night.
Kusshi oyster: a single oyster on a bed of crushed ice, seemed so minuscule, yet easily stood out as the best among many dozens of oysters I’ve enjoyed in the past year.
Toro: as a sushi fanatic I was thrilled when this was served. This fatty piece of tuna belly had quality reminiscent of Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan.
Bluefoot chanterelles: a slightly salty and very memorable mushroom dish with rich creamy flavour.
Hamachi sashimi: the chef finished the dish with a sauce just after it was served and personally explained the dish. As with the toro, the fish was the freshest and best quality I have experienced.
Beef rib cap: a relatively sizeable chunk of meat served with puréed mushroom and king oyster mushrooms. Despite being the only meat dish in the seafood-heavy tasting menu that evening, it fit perfectly, its rich flavour setting the bar high for future steak dinners.
At the end of the meal three hours had elapsed and I was too full to consume another morsel of food. In addition to giving me the meal of a lifetime I was left more than satisfied, a genuine surprise considering the nature of upscale tasting menus in Toronto restaurants.
Truly, Alo Restaurant is the right way for a tasting menu to be done. If you’re looking for a celebratory meal that is worth every penny and will be memorable for years to come, this destination is a must.