Headed to Fratecell’s in Richmond Hill for dinner prior to the hockey game. This restaurant boasts a menu created by Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra. It’s part of the Tortoise Restaurant Group, which owns the Turtle Jacks next door.
There was a 30 minute wait for a table, so we sat at the bar and had a glass of Chianti Ruffino and a Moretti Draft. The wait took a while, and even as the lounge cleared, we were still waiting. The bartender felt bad for us and actually offered us a slice of pizza while we waited…nice touch.
We had the Grilled Calamari to start and ordered a Spaghetti Carbonara with a shrimp skewer added, and an order of their Papardella Bolognese.
This was the followed by a plate of focaccia with some antipasto dressing to be used as a spread. It was pretty yummy, but the waiter didn’t really tell us what the dressing contained. I figured it was sundried tomatoes and some olive oil. Weird that it came after the appetizer, but I could live with that.
After we finished the Calamari, we got our mains: My Pappardelle alla Bolognese arrived first. Whenever I go to an Italian place, I always want to try their meat ragu…it has to taste good, and their pasta has to be fresh. My plate arrived nice and hot, and a quick toss revealed tons of meat ragu and the steam carried the fragrance all around me. Topped simply with some Parmesan Reggiano, and I was in heaven.
The other dish we ordered was the Spaghetti Carbonara, and it was recommended to us by the bartender (who looked like Steve Buscemi). The plate wasn’t as hot, but still hotter than the dishes that the ladies next to us had. The grilled prawns arrived, four on a skewer and wrapped in pancetta. How great it that? As we were eating, someone showed up with our Grilled Calamari, the second time. Geez, if we didn’t finish ours and were already onto our main course, I’d probably have taken it too.
A sure sign of growing pains in the kitchen. Due to the closeness of the seating, we overheard the ladies next to us complaining and asked them to elaborate. First of all, they were seated but left without water and/or food for a very long time. In fact, we were the second couple to sit down next to them, and they still hadn’t gotten food yet. They received their appetizers just as we were placing our order, but then they received their entrees while they were still noshing on the appies! Wait staff arrived with food in hand, expecting their customers to make room for the food on a table filled with water and wine glasses, bread plates and appetizer plates.
It was a much different experience from ours. They had to send a salmon dish back once (or twice, not too sure now) and their Pappardelle arrived at room temperature. They were celebrating a birthday, so the four of them were brought three cannolis gratis from the restaurant. Although the serving is set at 3 when you order the dessert, you would think that they would make an exception and provide enough for all the ladies to each have one…or was the birthday girl supposed to go without? They also raved about the Fritto Misto and the Bruschetta, will have to try these on my return visit. To the restaurant’s credit, the salmon was taken off the bill. The ladies shared a cannoli with us so we ordered a dessert too.
Partly because I wanted to return the favour, and partly because I wanted to see what a Lemon Tiramisu was like. Layers of ladyfingers and creamy lemony foam. It was pretty damn good.
During our dessert course, we overheard the ladies complaining about the fact that lattes were listed on the menu, but weren’t actually available to order. And then, strangely, a cappuccino that we didn’t order arrived at our table. So they have a cappuccino machine, but nothing to heat the milk required for a latte? Very weird. So although this restaurant does have some growing up to do, there is strong promise here that they could end up being pretty good. I’d love to try it again on my next visit to TO. My one regret, I forgot my leftover paparadelle at the restaurant, and when I called 5 minutes after we left...it was gone! Should have turned the car around and just gone back instead of calling. Darn.