Living in Toronto has its perks, and one of the biggest is the sheer amount of restaurants to choose from. That’s why I love Winter/Summerlicious — a cute little food event in Toronto where well known restaurants offer a prix fixe menu with their iconic offerings, so you can finally try the many different dishes you’ve been meaning to without breaking the bank. Though some people aren’t fans of Licious due to lower quality in some restaurants (I can attest to this as I used to serve at restaurants who participated; some of them use it as an opportunity to make money on quickly produced dishes) I always do hella menu research and online creeping when deciding on which restaurant to treat myself at — and this year I chose Sassafraz.
Located in the middle of Yorkville, Sassafraz is a cute yellow building that houses a mid-sized restaurant.
The inside is split into two areas — a comfy lounge area with big couches by the windows, and a fancy dining area that’s gorgeous.
Though I’ve heard mixed reviews from friends about this resto (some love it, others say it was underwhelming), I chose it because there were so many items on their Winterlicious menu I wanted to try. I ended up ordering the escargot & bacon skillet, paccheri pasta, and flourless chocolate cake.
We started off with some carbs & caffeine (combination of the heavens) and let me be real with you — I meant to order their alcoholic iced latte but I believe the server misheard me and brought a regular one. Though it was a bomb iced latte, I kind of wish I tried the cocktail version but sigh, it was 2:30 on a Monday and homegirl was probably looking out for me.
The first to come was the escargot & bacon skillet, which was honestly the my favorite part of the meal. I love escargot and I don’t have it often, so it was such a treat to be able to have it today. The sauce was made of some creamy and heavenly substance that was so good, we ended up dipping the rest of the bread in it. I also considered asking the server for a take-out container for the 3 ml of sauce left over because yum, but I restrained myself to not embarrass Jake.
My main, the paccheri pasta (smoked chicken, oyster mushrooms, arugula, pine nuts, herbed ricotta, porcini cream), was also dope as hell and super filling. I’m not really sure what the type of pasta noodles were called but they were nice and thicc and sort of rigatoni-shaped. The smoked chicken was cool too, because it had a unique flavor that I don’t have too often. It’s fun to switch shit up.
I (obviously) also ate some of Jake’s order, the pork tenderloin, which was adeptly named as it was tender as fuck (pls issa joke I know how wrong this is). My favorite part of it was the Gruyère barley risotto — I had never tried barley prepared like this before and it has a really cool/novel “mouth-feel” (as Boyle from Brooklyn 99 would call it). It has a texture that pops in your mouth and a nice subtle flavor.
For dessert, he got the cheesecake which was pretty good but nothing super interesting or special; wouldn’t write home about it but would eat it again.
My chocolate cake was also really good, and so so so rich. It came with passionfruit and mint gel that really complimented the dark semi-bitter chocolate as they tasted so different — the passionfruit was super tart and the mint was a weird experience because it kind of reminded me of toothpaste but eating it with the chocolate was oddly enjoyable. On top was a scoop of barley ice cream that really balanced everything out because it was a lot more subtle than the other components.
Overall, I was super pleased with the meal and thought that the service, environment, and general vibes of the restaurant were good. Their Winterlicious menu is really similar to their regular lunch menu, so it was dope that I got to try so many of their dishes. I honestly think I’d go back just for that escargot skillet. The portion sizes were also really generous — we didn’t even finish our desserts (not because we didn’t want to!!).
Hope this helps you decide on restos if you were torn for Winterlicious, and if you go, let me know how you liked it 😙