With a love for fine dining, a propensity to shop Chanel, and an inherent joie de vivre, I think I may have been Parisian in a previous life. Granted I may not be a Sartre-reading, chain-smoking intellectual, but the Francophone lifestyle has always intrigued me … which is probably why I’m smitten by Chabrol, a charming boîte in the heart of Yorkville.
The open kitchen houses just two induction burners and a small convection oven. This is where the magic happens. Sitting at the bar allows you to take in all the action — like a well-oiled machine, plates are served, admired, enjoyed, cleared, drinks are poured, and before you realize it, you’re in a mutual admiration society with the anonymous diner beside you. It truly is something to watch.
But the food … oh, the food … is where Chabrol truly shines.
The Riesling-poached foie gras with black currant and salsify was decadent and buttery goodness. And we watched in delight as the whitefish, wrapped in parchment, was delicately cut open, releasing a light aromatic steam and welcoming the generous drizzle of Vermouth-infused butter. While the chicken may have been the understated dish of the evening, it in no way failed to impress as well.
But the true piece-de-resistance was the Ttoro, a southern France take on bouillabaisse which had me returning for more. Mussels, shrimp, mackerel and snapper fish bathed in saffron-scented broth, and it took all our energy to not lick the plate clean.
Our dashing sommelier schooled us on the origin of the word Chabrol – a term that roughly means to empty one’s wineglass into the dregs of a soup bowl in order to draw out the meal – something Frenchmen would do to sneak in a few more glasses of wine during dinner and not anger their wives!
But whatever you do, don’t skip dessert. Watching the sabayon being gently poured on top of the warm apple tart is what dreams are made of.
Perhaps it’s the ingenuity of a restaurant that claims no need for a fully equipped kitchen, or the appeal of a space that can only fit about 19 diners indoors (the restaurant has about 20 outdoor tables during the summer months), or the handsome sommelier with his rolled up sleeves and tattooed arms oozing that irresistible Frenchman charm….but Chabrol, you had me at “Bonjour”.
Visit: Chabrol for information.
Address: 90 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 1B9
Hours: 12pm – 10pm