Disclaimer: I am not a food critic. I did, however, grow up on extremely good food. I have worked in kitchens. I also have a food theory course taught by a Food Network celebrity under my belt as well. So everything I say is perhaps amateurish, but not entirely ungrounded.
I had my second meal ever at Tati Bistro tonight. The first time was when I treated L for her birthday. We had a lot of (very good, 2007 Bon Courage Shiraz) wine that night. Since I was treating L, I had to very discreetly read the bill. Also, the lighting in the Bistro is... understated. I put down what I thought was a fairly generous tip (since the service had been excellent) and left. On awaking the next morning, I did a little mental math in a slightly more sober state and decided that there`s no way the bill came to what I had originally thought. I should have been a good $20 more. I realized that I must`ve stiffed the waitress.
Not being one to stiff a waitress, and certainly not when the service was as good as it had been, I returned the next day to set things right. The maître d’ hunted through the previous night`s bills to find one that matched my order. Finally, he asked which credit card I had used. I told him I`d paid cash, at which point he said it was hopeless, they didn`t keep the cash bills past the end of the night. I described my waitress and he said he could go ask her, disappearing into the basement. She hadn`t remembered being shafted. So, either I didn`t misread the bill, or I got away with leaving a lousy tip and not being remembered for it.
Tonight we took L`s mom there for Mother`s Day.
The ambiance at Tati Bistro is about what you`d expect from a modern trendy downtown restaurant: a little loud, a little crowded and a little underlit. However, the food and service more than make up for these shortcomings.
Tonight I had the baked goat cheese salad. Delicious. Excellent balance between the baked, breaded goat cheese, the croutons and the greens. My entrèe was the steak frites. The frites were exactly the crispy thin frites you`d expect from a French bistro and the steak was extremely flavourful and cooked to perfection. For desert we ordered the cheese platter to share between the four of us. I can definitely recommend the camembert, the chevrot cendrée and an Ontario cowsmilk cheese whose name escapes me.
I also had the housemade cassis sorbet. To. Die. For. And I know frozen desserts. The extremely generous portion of crème brûlée also received rave reviews from the guest of honour.
The prices at Tati Bistro are quite reasonable; two can eat well with with a bottle of wine and either appetizer OR dessert for around $100. This number can come down a bit (or add the delicious, aforementioned cheese plate) if one can make it when the prix fixé menu is available.
My only complaint about the evening (and it is a mild one) is that the waitress was slightly less attentive that the ideal. She was quite friendly and emminently knowledgeable about the menu (which is surprisngly hard to find in Toronto, in my experience). But she just didn't come 'round quite often enough. It is also possible that this is because she was a little starstruck: in the corner opposite our table sat Rachael McAdams, treating her own mother.