I have been a huge fan of Doug McNish and his awesmazing food always for years now, and have written multiple reviews about him and his food. His Public Kitchen in Toronto seems a little bit out of the way since it’s not downtown, but it’s definitely worth the trip no matter where you are coming from, because you won’t find food like this anywhere. It’s all organic, it’s all vegan, and it’s all awesmazing! Doug is an award-winning chef who serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10-3, and is open the other 5 days of the week for lunch and take out. His fridge is packed full of salads, soups, mac and cheese, desserts – anything you could possibly want to eat for a delicious meal at home, all made with the best ingredients and a lot of care!
When I heard that Doug would be starting a Thursday night dinner service, I immediately asked my mom when we could go. Luckily, we were able to get the very first reservation on the first night of Doug serving his dinner menu. There is no need to really elaborate on the extreme goodness of every dish, because it’s just all awesmazing, and you must go. You will be eating delicious food that is good for you too, and supporting one of the very best local chefs, and arguably the best vegan chef in the world!
When I first looked at the menu, I immediately asked my mom if we could just order one of everything (except for the wine and beer which Doug just added). Because there were 3 of us at the table, my mother, my cousin Lindsay, and I, we were able to try everything on the menu that we haven’t tried a hundred times. His tostada and burger are incredible, but since we do have them often, we didn’t order those at dinner. Although there is no photo below of the french onion soup, (this is Doug’s drool-worthy picture of it), it is a must-order (I’m hungry again right now just thinking about it!) His house made cashew mozzarella is melted and browned on top of this rich oniony broth and it’s so satisfying!
We first shared the avocado tartare, and for those of you who read my blog, you might know that I love avocado, and this dish is spectacular served with his housemade seedy crackers.
The next appetizer was the Public Kitchen Roll. It’s sushi at its best. Brown rice, carrot lox, creamy cashew cheese all wrapped up in nori with Doug’s signature tamari reduction (hint: do NOT let the extra sauce be taken away with your empty sushi plate, save it for the shaved brussel sprouts later in your meal — I also ate some of it just with my fork because the flavour is mind-blowingly amazing).
Next, we shared the mushroom scallops. Although the description seemed quite simple, the dish was composed of so many flavours and textures, and I would go back for dinner, just for this dish even! The spinach was perfectly garlicky and the king oyster mushroom medallions were lemony and a perfect texture.
The Asian tempeh bowl wasn’t on our list to order, but Doug wanted us to try it, so we did, and WOW! The sweet hoisin glaze made this dish and it’s Doug’s homemade recipe, I’m not sure if it’s a secret, but I might flip through his massive cookbook to try and find it! The bok choy was bright and gingery and the calamari mushroom on top was crispy and outstanding.
I really enjoyed my spiced chimichurri seitan served over crispy smashed potatoes and shaved brussel sprouts – this was good to the last plate lick (see picture below!).
My mother and cousin both had the eggplant cannelloni, which is one of their very favourite dishes that Doug makes. It’s grilled eggplant stuffed with cashew ricotta sitting in a bowl of housemade tomato sauce (the best) and topped with a ton of fresh organic arugula and microgreens.
Although none of us needed dessert, we had to take the opportunity to share a dessert platter, which gave us a perfect sweet finish to the meal.
I realized that I forgot to take a picture with Doug this time, so I guess I need to go back next week! 🙂
Please note: if you have a severe nut-allergy, this is not the place for you, but Doug can accommodate pretty much anyone since he knows every ingredient in his food!