Concession Road

Concession Road is full of surprises

Concession Road is the latest venture from the owners of Pukka, the popular modern Indian restaurant in St. Clair West. Nearby, their new restaurant is named after St. Clair Avenue ("The Third Concession"), which was a concession road laid out in the late 18th century by the British for access to farming land. Nonetheless, you’ll find French cuisine behind their doors. With Chef Masayuki Tamaru at the helm, Concession Road showcases European fusion dishes made with French cooking techniques.

Concession Road Beef Tartare
Beef Tartare

The menu is short and sweet, but not without innovation. Appetizers are stunningly presented: the beef tartare ($15/22) is served in a perfect circle with a bottom layer of Asian pear, a quail’s egg yolk on top, and curled toasts with pickled vegetables on the side. The crispy shrimp bonbons ($11) are displayed on a skinny rectangular plate with long and lightly crispy rolls of shrimp sitting atop a puddle of red pepper reduction and citrus ‘salad’ tucked in the corner. Both were as delicious as they looked, with unique flavour combinations I was happily surprised by. The romaine heart salad ($12.50) with sherry vinaigrette was refreshing, with orange segments, hearts of palm, manchego cheese, and avocado, but I had to pick around the less favoured black olives. Other appetizers available are their oysters, pan-fried sardines, fried calamari, and quail (two ways).

Concession Road Crispy shrimp bonbon
Crispy shrimp bonbons

Main dishes were not short of surprises either. Thin slices of meat covered in Korean BBQ sauce shocked me by being sautéed calves liver – my favourite dish of the night ($22.50). Mennonite-farmed ‘JFC’ Japanese fried chicken ($19.75) atop buttermilk mash and surrounded by tomato preserved lemon mayo is understandably one of their most popular dishes. It’s a pyramid of jagged, crispy chicken pieces and mash you’ll find yourself spooning off your plate down to the last crumb. The Yorkshire pork chop with croquettes and maple-mustard jus, grilled bison burger, and grass-fed flat iron steak frites are others I need to try.

Concession Road Fried chicken
Japanese fried chicken

From working with Jamie Kennedy as a sous chef to being a chef at Crush Wine Bar, Chef Masayuki Tamaru has over 15 years of experience working in high class Toronto restaurants. He happened to be available when good friend and old co-worker Derek Valeau (from Crush) was looking for someone to help them expand their St. Clair West prosperity. Between the owner’s successes with Pukka, Crush Wine Bar, and Amaya, and Chef Masayukis’ expertise in the kitchen, it’s exciting to see what Concession Road will grow into over the next couple of years.

Concession Road Salad
The romaine heart salad

Their wine list and available cocktails, like glasses of sweet sangria for $6, are welcome additions to a seat on their small front patio while the days are still warm. The highlight of the evening is watching their absinthe service which they demonstrate proudly as absinthe done right. What looks like a glass water cooler runs iced water slowly overtop a sugar cube into a glass holding the absinthe – four glasses can be done at once.

Concession Road Sauteed calves liver
Sautéed calves liver

The absinthe service is a classy touch for their otherwise minimalist décor. The buildings’ construction forces the restaurant to be divided into two rooms: one bar area with high tables and a separate, long dining room. It’s painted white and bare, with eye-catching, contemporary light fixtures holding Edison bulbs, and a living green plant wall lining the room. The entryway sports palm tree wallpaper, which sounds strange but somehow they pull it off with the room’s cool black and greys.

Concession Road is a new upscale restaurant to try out in the St. Clair West area. It’s a work in progress for these restauranteurs but they definitely keep you excited to see what they’ll come up with next.

Concession Road Steamed Portuguese rockfish
Concession Road Steamed Portuguese rockfish

Concession Road Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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