First Look: Patrick Kriss’s Spadina restaurant family expands with the opening of Aloette


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Image: Yvonne Tsui

Chef Patrick Kriss, the man behind Alo, one of Toronto (and arguably Canada’s) hottest restaurants, has opened Aloette at Queen and Spadina. You’ll be glad to know you won’t have to wait months for a reservation because the new sister restaurant operates on a “first come, first served” basis.

Considering all of Alo’s accolades, most recently being recognized by Relais & Chateaux, one can expect Aloette to be held to a very high standard. Opening Aloette was a natural business progression because “eating 10 courses isn’t for everyone,” says Kriss. 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Indeed, an evening at his tasting menu-only restaurant upstairs is a three-hour commitment with a kitchen that employs roughly 10 chefs.  It’s also “giving my key people the chance to grow with me and help grow my business,” he adds.  Matthew Betsch has pivoted from working in the Alo kitchen to chef de cuisine at Aloette.

The new space has the same philosophy as Alo – “proper, knowledgeable and professional service”  and the “same attention to detail, just different details,” adds Kriss.

On Aloette, Kriss wanted it to be “fun but delicious – it [the food] can be a little trashy,” he says on creating the menu.  The 38-seater is “bistro meets diner” says Kriss, but still “technical” referring to everything from the sourcing of ingredients to the level of standard in its approach to the menu.  The burger and fries, for example, went through months of testing before it was ready to make its debut.  The steak tartare is cut twice a day and burgers are ground in-house twice a day.  “When the doors open, it’s go go go” referring to the 160-200 diners who come through its doors.  “You get hit all day long,” which means that the devil is in the details – that detail being consistency.


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

While Aloette is billed as “casual,” the interior feels like a first class cabin of a railway car with booth seating, leather, upholstered stools and wood veneer.  Even the way the servers are dressed, with bowties and blue dress shirts, evokes an aura of sophistication.


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

On the menu, you will find classic items such as beef tartare with fries ($14 for a starter or $18 for a main) garnished with horseradish, Dijon, capers and croutons.  Or the oft-photographed Aloette Burger with Beaufort cheese, onion, lettuce, pickle and house-made bun. They also turn out classic desserts such as lemon meringue pie or a sundae, of the apple pie variety (both $10).


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

The cocktail menu is made up of low-ABV cocktails that make it a not-so-taboo move to have a drink at lunch and head back to the office afterward.  The Bramble Milkshake ($12) is made with Tanqueray Rangpur, raspberry and coconut — a riff on a cordial.  There’s also the King Cup ($12) with Laphroaig scotch, peach aperitif, Bulleit bourbon and ginger — akin to a mule.

While most may still be waiting months for that hard-to-get reservation at Alo, there’s always room downstairs.

Aloette, 163 Spadina Ave., 416-260-3444


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

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Yvonne is a freelance food and drink writer and the Director of Brand Experience at U-Feast, which curates unique, off-menu dining experiences.  Always in search of delicious. Decor and service be damned, food is king. Follow her @life_of_y and @u_feast.  Warning: don't look at her "feed" if you're hungry.

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