Absolute Restaurant

*UPDATE May 2014 – Absolute Restaurant has been rebranded as La Stella and is now under new management*

I come from a family of pretty picky particular eaters.  Mom and I share an affinity towards French cuisine (I love my foie and she loves a good baguette); dad almost never has to look at the menu (his default is always steak); and my sister is a little all over the map.

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Being dad’s birthday, I tried to find a place that balanced everyone’s needs and that is how I stumbled upon Absolute Restaurant & Cafe, which describes itself as a modern French bistro.  It is located on the ground floor of an office building.  The décor is that of your traditional French bistro with a dessert counter displaying the offerings du jour.

On this particular Saturday night, they had one server who also doubled as the bar man.  Pretty slim staffing for one of the busier nights for dinner service.  I applaud him for his ability to multi-task as he single-handedly runs the restaurant for the night, save for the kitchen staff and General Manager.

Their wine list is sufficient with a special section for “Premium Reds” which include a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley.  We order a Chilean Malbec from the regular list to compare notes and all agreed that it was better.  But then again, we may have been comparing apples to oranges.  The Cab Sauv was just too tannic for our palates.

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Highlights of the evening included Steamed P.E.I. Mussels in a tomato and white wine sauce which had us sopping up the juice with slices of baguette from the bread basket; Veal Liver which was juicy and tender and the Seared Scallops on a bed of red beet risotto.

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Desserts were lacklustre and most likely not made in house as they are displayed cafeteria style in a refrigerated case.  Perhaps the most foul of the lot was the Lemon Meringue Pie which was so artificial it may have been made with a pudding mix and a can of whipped cream; the Tiramisu Trifle is more like a Jell-O with its overuse of gelatin.  The Triple Chocolate Cake did its job – you can’t go wrong with chocolate.  The best dessert was the Blueberry Cheesecake which got a thumbs up from everyone with its fresh, dairy flavour and fruity topping.  Do order their Cappuccino if you decide to have dessert.

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We had purchased a Groupon for 4 for $69 (2 appetizers, 4 mains, 4 desserts).

All in all, a satisfactory dinner.  I couldn’t say with ABSOLUTE-tion that I would return for a meal if I were in the area.  Nothing really wowed us but the quiet car ride home meant that nothing was terribly bad either.  Yes, we, as a family tend to rant if we’ve had a particularly bad dinner experience.

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