On The Plate
Ossington Resto, Is Indeed Bananas
I’m going to start with the dessert, because it is illustrative of my dining experience at La Banane, the new “it” French restaurant on Ossington, south of Dundas. Naomi and I were being taken out for our anniversary by my father-in-law and his wife. And because it was a celebration, we decided to get the Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg. This is the show-stopper dessert from chef/chocolatier Brandon Olsen. It is a crazy Jackson Pollock inspired splatter coloured chocolate egg, that when you crack it open is filled with chocolate truffles and chocolate coated apricots, ancho chilis and cocoa beans. It is completely over the top, and fun and selfie-worthy. But it’s also $50. So if you’re sharing it amongst four people, you move beyond the sticker price shock and enjoy. But in my humble opinion our server should not have been egging (pun intended) our hosts on to order two for our party of four.
We’re out mid-week in the middle of a cold wintery day and La Banane is very busy. Our former brunch joint of choice, The Saint, has been kind of made over. The bistro’s bones are all there, but tarted up with green paint, brass and bold wallpaper. The scene is curious to me. I can see from our vantage point seemingly ordinary Torontonians digging into the seafood from the raw bar. The drinks were pouring and we weren't the only ones taking pictures of our eggs.
I don’t want to be “declasse”, because we were being taken out and we enjoyed our shrimp cocktails ($18), Albacore tuna with brown butter and dill and capers ($16) and Alaskan king crab legs ($28/$52) and everything else that followed. But if I was paying for the meal, it would have irked me, because however well prepared the meal, however professional the service - every restaurant experience is contextualized by the price. And in my view, La Banane is pricy. But as I scoped around, everybody seemed to be happy.
When you’re having shrimp cocktail or chilled king crab, the key is the freshness and portion size - because the preparation is straightforward. So full marks to La Banane on our appetizers. I do recommend that you stick to fish and seafood if you go - and it is what most seemed to be ordering.
At most tables, and at ours, at least one person ordered the European Sea Bass (Branzino) en Croute ($32), which is presented at the table and then taken back to the kitchen to be filleted and served with a yuzu beurre monte and a side of zucchini. If you go, somebody among your group should order it.
However, we were encouraged by our server to order the special of the day - the Turbot ($45), a delicate and mild flatfish served with a browned butter and mushrooms. It was very good, but perhaps not as good as the Branzino - done to different wellness. Some of our skin was crispy, others not so much. Would I recommend La Banane? If you’re being taken out - sure. 227 Ossington Ave. labanane.ca