The Place: Wine bars tend to get stuck in our minds as nighttime destinations so we can be forgiven for — until now — failing to consider Taylor’s Genuine as a lunch spot. I’m glad we did stop by during the day because it turns out that Taylor’s Genuine is one of the few places that refuses to dumb-down the mid-day meal. Genuine is perfect for a cozy lunchtime rendezvous or relaxed meeting when there’s time to unwind and (gasp!) have a glass of wine over expertly prepared market-fresh dishes.
The Deal: The lunch menu is a slightly pared-down version of dinner. The short seasonal menu changes frequently, but there are always two kinds of soup, a risotto or pasta, and a daily seasonal sustainable fish dish. The mix and match charcuterie platter is always available, but the killer gourmet bacon cheeseburger is only on at lunch. The price points seem to be on par with Taylor’s “parent” restaurant, Domus, but the atmosphere is slightly more relaxed and neighbourhoody.
The Dish: Creamy carrot bisque is hardly a revelation, but with a dollop of crème fraiche and a drizzle of intense balsamic it is earthy, rich, and well balanced. And so it goes with the featured fish, Arctic char, a relative of salmon and trout that is celebrated as an environmentally sustainable species. Its appealing coral coloured flesh is moist, meaty, and mild in flavour; its dark skin seared to brittle crisp and accented with a hint of decadent truffle oil. The filet is served atop firm brown lentils studded with bacon lardon and cauliflower florets, accompanied by some simple sautéed cabbage and truly delicious diced pickled beets, which shimmer sweetly against the white plate like tiny jewels. I am struck by how pretty this dish looks and how beautifully it satisfies a fancy for a Euro-style bistro lunch. You won’t find the splurge-worthy chewy chocolate peanut butter brownie anywhere across the pond; Genuine’s is served with top-notch chocolate ice cream and shards of homemade peanut brittle.
Taylor’s Genuine Food & Wine Bar, 1091 Bank St., 613-730-5672.
Lunch served from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.