Bohmer Restaurant, Toronto
Some of the best cooking in Toronto happens in the least expected spots: Everybody who’s lived here more than a month or two knows that. And if Paul Boehmer ‘s new restaurant has anything to say, it’s that if you aren’t willing to dine in a restaurant sandwiched between a mental health centre and an art gallery, you’re going to miss out on some of the best food in town. A new venture from Boehmer , he of Rosewater Supper Club, The Spoke Club, Cluck, Grunt, and Low and other European-tinged restaurants around town, the pseudo-eponymous Böhmer is being prepped to be open to the public on Saturday.
The chef didn’t just fall off the face of the earth at the top of his game after he left The Rosewater over a year ago; the chef partnered with Tracy Ulicny to bring the Ossington Street space to life, which yields a whopping 5,000 square feet of cachet. Over a year in the making, Böhmer is nicely placed to help balance the restaurant-to-club ratio here.
The space’s previous incarnation – Autocraft Engine Rebuilder garage – is evident in great sweeps of concrete, exposed-brick walls and high ceilings. The furniture – including the dining tables and chairs – has been crafted from repurposed wood. A gorgeous wooden chandelier decked with Swarovski crystals (whipped straight from the 2010 IDS) hovers over a central communal table and bench, while a smaller version hangs at front. Original paintings by Boehmer ‘s late father line the walls. Hovering over the whole is the sense that Boehmer not only knows all the imperatives of a great restaurant, but he’s reconfigured them to create something new.
Böhmer is a place where the gospel of local provenance is adhered to by Boehmer and Ulicny. Offerings can be blessedly uncomplicated, as with the Ontario Char beet marinated gravlox that comes with Yukon gold potato rosti and chive crème fraiche, and though Boehmer ‘s preparations are confidently forthright – the plate comes with a dollop of salmon caviar, thank you – a dazzling technical finesse is on display throughout the menu. Venison tartar is plated with apple walnut salad – lemon walnut oil vinaigrette, while the consommé from “Woodland” shitake and oyster mushrooms is accompanied by radish seedlings. The chef’s famed Quebec pan seared foie gras is back on the menu (the dish gained notoriety when the chef was at Opus ), plated with maple glazed matzu apples – black currant puree.
Mains continue with the local cooking ethos, but with upscale flair, including succulent long-cooked dishes as the roasted rabbit saddle stuffed with local blood sausage wrapped in smoked bacon. Braised veal cheeks with wild mushrooms are plated with potato puree and a red wine jus. Monkfish comes with British Columbia Dungeness crab and tarragon sauce. For the less adventurous, a grilled 14oz Rib Eye (and a 10 oz N.Y. Strip loin) rounds out the menu.
Böhmer could prove to be that hero addition to the strip. With the garage-door front rolled up, this could be the kind of place that once you’ve found it you want to stay.
Address: 95 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON
Hours: Opens Saturday
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express
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