Though the intention of the evening was a dinner out at The Boiler House in Toronto, when I called for reservations, we were told that they were closed for a private function. So we booked their sister restaurant, Archeo; when we showed up, turns out they were booked for a private party too. So here we were, in the Distillery District with no dinner reservations. Determined to stay and find something, we decided to check out Tappo's nearby. They were full too, but the two of us didn't mind sitting at the bar, so we got the very last seats!
I was craving both homemade pasta and lamb, but just couldn't decide. The server made it easy for me and suggested we get a pasta to share as an appetizer, so then I could have the best of both words. Normally, I go for garganelli or tagliatelle but there is one noodle that trumps all. The Buccatini. So that's what you see above, a half portion of the entree. With just a bit of pecorino in a rich tomato sauce. There is a bit of guanciale (similar to pancetta) too, but that's not the star of the dish. These straw-like buccatini noodles are so fun, you've got to try them.
One of the meat dishes that I wanted to try was the Filetto di manzo alla griglia. What? It's an eight-ounce peppercorn crusted beef tenderloin, pan seared to your liking. Served with a bed of mashed potatoes and a ring of gorgonzola and tarragon cream on the side. The two bold flavours really complement each other. Your serving of vegetable is fulfilled with the green beans.
I was fully ready to order the Beef Tenderloin until they mentioned this. Three grilled Rack of Lamb with mashed and a red wine reduction. I was sold! Huge racks, medium rare, and with an intense lamb flavour, gamey but now overly so. It's what people who like lamb expect. So Archeo's loss was definitely my gain, after having discovered this new spot. As as food writer, I want to try the "buzzed about" restaurants, but when they can "take a reservation" and not "hold a reservation", The Boiler House and Archeo are like a bad Seinfeld episode. I find it hard to believe that no one called to tell me my reservation cancelled, and when we showed up, the doorman actually asked me who I spoke with, as if that would have made any difference at all. Anyways, we were lucky (and smart) to take the bar seats when offered because we saw some people wait for over two hours to be seated at Tappos, and not I know why!