North 44 – Fine dining in midtown

Yonge/Eglinton has a pretty bad rep when it comes to good places to eat.  When Centro closed its doors earlier this year, that made for one less.  The general guide to eating in the area is “North of Eglinton bad, south of Eglinton good”[1] – the exception being North 44)º of course.


Mark McEwan’s cozy, intimate and romantic North 44)º is dimly lit with quiet lounge music in the background.  The walls are lit by stenciled grates like a baby’s mobile beaming relaxing images onto the wall.

IMG_4352Oenophiles can delight in the extensive 21-page wine list along with a list of cocktails that range from stiff to smooth to sip on while deciding what to eat.  I opt for a Brazilian Caipirinha with a stick of rock sugar that makes any childhood sugar deprivation a distant memory.


It’s hard to not devour the bread basket especially with the creamy smooth butter that comes with.


The MEDLEY OF LOBSTER with crab, prawns dressed in an orange sauce with watercress and spiced crème fraîche would make for a hearty entrée salad, but is decadent as a starter.  All the flavours just worked really well together.  Lobster + crème fraîche go hand in hand.


The manager sends over his favourite dish, TEMPURA ROCK SHRIMPS with chipotle – yuzu aioli and crispy lotus chips and we can see why he loves it.  Lightly battered and lightly dressed, it seems that the chef likes the citrus and seafood combo – but we don’t blame him, so do we!


The BEEF TARTARE is served with a grainy mustard and crispy fried capers.


Moving on to mains, we indulge in a ROASTED BREAST OF DUCKLING with seared foie gras, wilted greens, truffled gnocchi + rhubarb compote.  The gnocchi are soft and al dente and its mild flavor profile contrasts well with the boldness and richness of the duck breast and foie.  No regrets here!


We also opt for the BEEF TENDERLOIN off the specials menu with a creamy risotto and corn succotash topped with crispy fried onions.  I am not usually a fan of tenderloin as I find boneless cuts to be dry – but you can always count on the McEwan Group to make it right.


Our palate cleanser comes in the form of a ____ sorbet.


For dessert I opt for a STRAWBERRY RHUBARB TART with milk chocolate sauce + crème fraîche ice cream which leaves me wondering why all ice creams aren`t made with crème fraîche?


It also doesn’t take much to convince us to try the CHOCOLATE BOURBON CAKE with peanut butter mousse, candied praline and hot toffee sauce – which loosely reminds me of a sticky toffee pudding.  It is a rich dessert that sates me after 3 bites.


The pastry chef also sends out these peanut butter tarts that are a great way to end the meal.

I have always been a fan of North 44)º, having dined here many times in the past (mostly on special occasions).  The service here is always amazing as I wondered whether our server had a smile tattooed permanently onto her face because there wasn’t a moment when she wasn’t showing off her pearly whites.  Yonge/Eglinton for me has always been a strip of mediocre and overly pretentious restaurants that, try as they might don’t meet the standards of fine dining – North 44)º however, is the exception.


[1] Comment taken from a CHOWHOUND discussion board.

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**This meal was complimentary but as always, views are my own.  Please note that the purpose of this post is simply to document/profile the restaurant under the guise of a media representative and should be in no way construed as a review**