Rewriting What A Great Downtown Restaurant Is All About

by Virginia Munroe

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto in the Cosmopolitan Hotel at 8 Colborne Street, Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar is  rewriting the book on what a great steakhouse is all about in this city. The ambience is delightful, with hardwood floors, barnboard & brick walls and fine woods everywhere, creating an atmosphere that is at once warm and welcoming.

In addition to the restaurant and bar, the Crystal Room is a private dining area on the ground floor, that seats 10 – 12. Upstairs is the Mezzanine, which seats 18 – 20, complete with an audio-visual system for business meetings and presentations.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

The wine list is so extensive here that it resembles a Victorian novella, although reading it is much more enjoyable. The scintillating pages tell the story of champagne and fine wines hailing from a dozen different countries; there is something to satisfy the tastes of the novice and the connoisseur alike. And like it they will.

My dining companion and I took a whirlwind world tour, sampling vintages from Italy, New Zealand and Chile, ending up right here at home in Canada.

Our wine tastings included a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Riesling-Gewurztraminer, a Chardonnay – all whites of course. The reds go more to our heads, but there are plenty of those to choose from for the discerning wine lover.

There is also a superb selection of fine craft beers, cocktails and more.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

And now to the food!

I enjoyed a hearty potato and leek soup, zesty, spiced to perfection, not too filling, but an ideal first chapter in what was to be an award winning dinner. Of course, we were to be the judges of that. My partner had the Escargot Provencal, which he pronounced to be succulent and inspired.

A little more wine, a little more conversation. A lot of charming chit chat with our very personable server, Allan Berkle.

And then the mains arrived with a flair! In order to keep himself from wasting away, my associate ordered a man-sized New York striploin with a lobster tail to be exact – accompanied by sides of garden vegetables and the creamiest mashed potatoes this side of Paradise.

I asked him how it was, but of course he knows it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full. He attacked his dinner with such ferocity that not a word was spoken at our table for a good ten minutes. At that point, he couldn’t stop extolling its virtues.

I ordered the Piri Piri Chicken Breast with mashed potatoes and vegetables, probably the most delicious chicken entree I have ever had the good fortune to have dinner with. Juicy, tender, delicately spiced – it literally melted in my mouth.

This is the stuff food aficionados’ dreams are made of…

Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar also features many other cuts of steak, grilled to your personal preference, as well as a host of other menu options, including lamb, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

“There is no love more sincere than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

And that’s without the dessert. Everything on the menu looked so scrumptious that we threw ourselves on the good graces of Allen, who recommended his two favourites: a house-made flourless Belgian chocolate torte and a moist carrot cake with walnuts and an unforgettable cream cheese frosting.

According to Nobel Prize Winner William Faulkner, “The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.” In the case of Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar, that sentiment is decidedly incorrect.

This culinary experience has been as close to perfection as you can achieve in downtown Toronto.