By: Natalia Dziubaniwsky
I have been eyeing this restaurant for some time now. One can’t help but stop to take a peek inside The Good Son while walking down Queen Street West in Toronto. When open, its floor to ceiling street facing window exposes an inviting and intriguing decor. So when I had the opportunity to sample their dinner menu, I was pleased to finally see what it’s all about.
The head of the family at The Good Son is chef Vittorio Colacitti (some of you may recognize him as a previous competitor on Top Chef Canada). Chef Vittorio’s menu reflects his international culinary experience and the multiculturalism of Toronto. The fare is savoury, colourful and very diverse – burgers and traditional handmade pastas to guacamole and bulgogi short ribs just to name a few.
The Good Son’s decor is just as eclectic as the menu itself; from a kitchen pantry themed entrance to a striking feature wall adorned with assorted antique clocks, vintage books and studded leather chairs. It has a speakeasy feel mixed with rustic family charm. Every which way I turned, something new caught my eye.
The menu is designed for a shared experience. Here is a small sampling of what The Good Son has to offer:
Jerk Shrimp ($15) – Three plump shrimp tightly wrapped in a cocoon of crispy potato strands atop a bed of mango salad and a fiery sauce. This was my favourite looking dish of the night. I really enjoyed the different textures on the plate. The shrimp was understated and mild in taste, while the mango salad was deliciously fresh and flavourful.
Grilled Octopus ($20) – The dish comes with two large tender and fleshy pieces of octopus that were cooked just right. Although I enjoyed the octopus itself, I would have liked just a few more pieces of purple potato. I also found the components of the dish were visually overwhelming; distracting from the star of the dish. I would have preferred a bit of a simpler presentation.
Mushroom Ravioli ($18) – A Northern Italian dish with a small twist à la The Good Son. Traditionally made with spinach, Chef Vittorio stuffs his with mushrooms simply because he likes them; which made me happy as I happen to really enjoy mushrooms too. Each puck-sized ravioli is handmade and contains one whole golden liquid egg yolk. The pasta was perfectly al dente with a very delicious and rich aromatic sauce topped with curls of shaved Grana Padano.
Wild Mushroom Pizza ($17) – Topped with an even base of walnut pesto, a variety of in season mushrooms and Taleggio cheese, this earthy pizza is a real winner! Their pizza dough undergoes a three day fermentation process and is cooked in a wood-burning oven. The result? Deliciously soft dough with a slightly bubbled crust. The pizzas are a healthy size and I appreciate that the generous toppings are evenly spread over the entire surface of the pizza.
Bulgogi Short Ribs ($18) – I don’t think it’s possible for me to turn down short ribs if it’s on the menu. I love Asian flavours so this dish really hit the spot for me. A petite fried quail egg rests on the peak of the ribs while a spicy kimchi fried rice is found tucked underneath. The ribs were quite flavoursome and I was pleased with the portion of ribs that comes with this dish. Although I found the plating to be a bit untidy, I liked the punch of colour on the plate.
Last but not least, The Good Son has some seriously good and thoughtfully crafted cocktails ($13-15). If you like black licorice, you’ll love my favourite cocktail of the night, the Patron Saint of New Orleans (herbsaint, ginger beer, pickled fennel, citrus and peppermint tea syrup). For a well-balanced drink with lighter notes, try the Rhubarb-Flower (Bacardi rum, rhubarb-chamomile tea syrup, citrus, ginger beer and oregano).
In addition to great dishes and a fun atmosphere, the excellent service made my experience at The Good Son a memorable one.
The Good Son is located on 1096 Queen Street West in Toronto and is open for dinner service from Tuesday to Friday and for brunch and dinner on the weekends.