Being a food photographer, I hear it often enough that people eat with their eyes first. The moment I have seen a photo of one of the features of Ursa’s summer menu, I knew I had to get back to experience Ursa once again. I have been here twice last winter and at both times, I left with a satisfaction of having a beautiful and elegant meal. Having to go to a vacation for the month of August, I knew I have to drop in by Ursa before I left Toronto.
As I walked in the restaurant, again I am impressed by the whimsy of the light feature and the warmth of the people that came to attend to me. It was good to see familiar faces once again. Chef Jacob and his brother Lucas have successfully kept the crowds coming. You could say that the restaurant’s honeymoon stage was over and it has successfully retained its patron’s interest. The restaurant was as vibrant as how I remembered it from the last time. Full of people both in the bar area and the tables, I would say they were past the point of being a flash in the pan. Knowing they were there to stay was a very good thing.
I was stressing out a bit when my two friends, Valerie and Natalia, were both late. I appreciated that both brothers stopped to chat with me a bit despite being really hectic. It was good to catch up with each other and added to the anticipation of a good meal happening. When my friends finally arrived, it didn’t take too long for them to go over the menu. My stress long forgotten, we gave our choices and I was waiting to be wowed for the evening.
All three of us, decided to go for two courses, one starter and a main. Valerie and I opted for the burrata starter and Natalia chose the Summer Foraged Salad. For the mains, I chose the Sea Bream plate, Valerie chose the Bison and Natalia opted for the Lamb. I secretly was clapping happily in my head, knowing I’ll get the chance to taste a total of five summer features. I knew from the first two times that each dish that came out of Ursa’s kitchen was always artfully flavorful and beautiful. I knew I was in for a treat.
As the starter plates arrived, all three of us were wowed how impressive each dish was. The couple sitting beside our table could not help but ask us on what we ordered. After I do my round of taking my pictures, I playfully decided to taste the purée with a red currant with a crustini. The sweet and the tartness paired so well with the savory flavor of the crustini. I sliced off a piece of the fresh burrata and it was luscious and creamy. I sneaked a taste too of Natalia’s foraged salad and loved the dressing that was on the zucchini flower that I chose. Needless to say, we finished our plates with no problems. When we all finished, all plates were cleaned off. There was no feeling of heaviness at all.
After a few minutes, the mains started arriving. All three plates were all visually impressive. I hastily took pictures of all three as I was too excited about tasting them. Coming home, I realized that I only took two pictures of the Sea Bream. Usually I have about 10 of each plate. That was how impatient I was in finishing the images so I could finally eat.
My Sea Bream flaked off easily with a gentle tug of my fork and it was perfectly cooked. The crispy skin added so much to its texture and taste. I take small components of the dish and piled it on my fork. The nuttiness of the mixture of almonds, seared cauliflower and beans together with the flake of the fish gave a luxurious feel to the palate. As expected, all three of us shared to each other a taste of our own dishes. After trying the lamb and the bison, I think I would really appreciate a full plate of both on another occasion. Although if both dishes were thrown together on the same menu as my fish, I think I would do a repeat of my fish. It was really a delightful experience.
I was glad I squeezed coming to Ursa once again before I left for a vacation. This was a summer highlight I didn’t want to miss. To Lucas and Chef Jacob, thank you once again for the hospitality. I am really a big Ursa fan. :)