jamie kennedy wine bar

We celebrated Allan's birthday with lunch at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, near the St Lawrence Market in Toronto. We've been there a few times, thanks to (former?) wmtc reader Genet, who recommended it way back when.

If you ever looking for a place to enjoy something simple and delicious, without having a large formal meal - and if you like good wine and good food in a stylish atmosphere - you can't do better than Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar.

They offer a small-plate menu, similar to tapas; every plate has a suggested wine pairing, which you can order in a small tasting size or a regular six-ounce glass. The menu changes very frequently, depending on the season and what's best in the market.

Allan and I both love tasting menus or small-plate menus, where you can eat small amounts of several different things. We both love wine, and we appreciate really good service. The service here is impeccable - friendly, attentive, helpful and unpretentious. Until you've experienced that, you can't imagine what a difference it makes in your enjoyment of a meal.

Our experience yesterday really illustrated that. There was a small mistake - you couldn't even call it a screw-up - with one of our orders. It turns out they recently renumbered a few tables, so our frites - these amazing Yukon Gold fries, you can't believe how perfect they are - went to a different table. So there was a slightly longer interlude between dishes than there might have been. You could hardly call it a wait, it was so slight.

Later, as we're starting to order dessert, the host brought us a dessert plate - three desserts, beautifully dressed and arranged - with a small candle, compliments of the house, to apologize. Not one dessert, three.

Then the sommelier, Jamie Drummond, who apparently is well known in the Toronto restaurant world, brought us each a glass of a new wine he had just bought, also complimentary. This was also supposed to be an apology, because he was doing business with a winery representative at a table nearby, and might have disturbed us. (We were not disturbed, but we were interested.)

Since leaving New York City and adopting our new suburban lifestyle, we care a lot less about restaurants than we used to. We eat home a lot more, and when we go out, we usually stay in Mississauga. But once in a while, it's nice to refresh our memories of what a really good restaurant does.

Many cheers for Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. I hope to try his other restaurants as well.

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