On the eve of our departure for Aruba, after much of our usual pre research, we chose to go to a restaurant called Chop Steakhouse Bar, located near our Toronto airport hotel. It appeared to have a menu and ambiance that superfoodies would appreciate. We arrived via a quick cab ride and stepped inside. The decor was very slick yet not cold, and we were greeted swiftly and taken as requested to a table in the bar area, where we prefer to dine.
Drinks (vodka sodas) and wine ordered, we chose the Steakhouse Tomato Caprese Salad and Albacore Tuna Tataki to start. As I unfurled the cloth napkin towards my lap, a huge waft of fabric softener flew into my face. I am particularly sensitive to this olfactory assault, and my nose started itching immediately. Not pleasant, and very unnecessary when you are in the presence of food… don’t mask the smell of your foods with lavender! or mountain breeze… or ocean tide… yuck. Now back to the food. The salad arrived, looked nice, but also made with what looked like pearl bocconcini out of a tub, but not put off… yet. We started eating and it was super cold, like meat locker fridge cold, which doesn’t allow the flavours to meld or be tasted properly. The final unfortunate part of this dish? Of the 3 slices of tomato on the plate, 2 had huge cores in them (see pic below). Really??? The dish is all about the tomato (and the cheese, but I already went there). Now I have joked that in every regular salad, I always seem to get a slice with core, but it is not the highlight in these cases, so whatever. A restaurant trying to be a high end competitor though?… really not acceptable.
Onto the tataki… short and sweet: good enough, BUT icy icy cold. Again, I would prefer it closer to room temp, or cool, but this was straight out of a fridge and onto a plate. Maybe I don’t know enough about the appropriate temp of tataki, so feel free to chime in! (of course the scented napkin irritant kept making it’s presence known, periodially sending a perfumey taste onto my tongue).
We decided to take one more shot at the menu, going with the server’s recommendation of Steak Bites. They were exactly as advertised: soft, steaky goodness with delicious dip, and an appropriate temperature. Score 1.
At the end of it all, while talking with the server about the whole experience, including the hyper scented napkin, the cooooold food, the large tomato cores (which could only be conspicuous on the plate as it was removed), it was mostly met with an “I understand, thanks for the feedback” and a shrug. Having worked for many years in restaurants, I did make an effort to present it just as information with a hint of how it gave us a less than positive feeling about our night (meaning we will not likely go back). For you readers though, maybe these things aren’t a problem, and you will test drive it yourself, but as I said, for us, Chop… has been chopped!