A little background: Chef Doug Penfold has more than 25 years’ experience in the restaurant industry. Comfortable in a range of environments, from the small bistro to corporate establishments, Chef Penfold has worked and excelled in some of Canada’s top restaurants – Canoe, Avalon, Pastis, to name a few. Over the last nine years he has owned and operated the much-respected Cava, a modern Spanish restaurant that has consistently been considered one of the best restaurants in the country. Chef Penfold places an emphasis on strong relationships with local suppliers and the husbandry of young culinary professionals.
My visit: A friend had recommended Chabrol to me stating that it is as French as it can get. Since my mom and I have both been reminiscing about our trip to Paris, I decided to take her here for dinner.
To start, we shared the Riesling-poached foie gras with black currants and salsify. The black current jam helped balance out the richness of the silky duck fat. However, I wish the Reisling-poached notes could be a little more prominent.
For our mains, my mom had the cod with sea asparagus, leeks and swiss chard. The delicate whitefish was steamed to perfection in a parchment packet and paired with a smooth, supple vermouth beurre blanc. The very classic sauce was a wonderful treat on top of the fish and was surprisingly light.
I went with the “ttoro” which was a seafood stew originated in the Basque country around France and Spain. What made this stew stand out to me was the combination of catfish, mussels, shrimp and different herbs including saffron which lent a semi-sweet flavor to the dish. The stew was rich and satisfying and thankfully I had some crusty bread for dunking.
To finish off, we shared the apple tart. The tart was built on rounds of fine puff pastry that Chef Penfold freshly rolls out by hand every morning. It was baked to order until the layers are cracker-thin and shatteringly crisp and the apple slices were caramelized. The dish was also served with a jug of light and foamy Calvados sabayon poured table side. This dessert was definitely worth the 20 minute wait!
Sweet calissons were also delivered to us along with our bill.
Verdict: Chabrol is certainly a hidden little gem. I am amazed at how Chef Penfold can produce such big flavors in such a tiny space. What I also loved about Charbol is the passion and spirit of the enterprise. All the staff were pleasant and knowledgeable. I highly recommend Chabrol to anyone looking for a satisfying french meal.
Happy eating 🙂
90 Yorkville Ave., Toronto