Few nights ago, I headed over to check out the newly El Catrin (@elcatrinca), the latest addition to the Historic Distillery District family. Situated where Boiler House used to be, El Catrin is an incredibly gorgeous space offering an enticing and authentic Mexican Menu created by Executive Chef Olivier Le Calvez. So in preparation of their El Catrin Launch, Chef Calvez picked out signature tapas off their regular menu and turned it into a not-so-mini 7 course menu for that particular evening. Trust me, by the time you’re finished reading this post, you’ll understand why I almost needed to be rolled out of the restaurant.
El Catrin is designed by a top Design Firm giving this space a unique and incredible atmosphere. I walked into this space, Tuesday evening, completely blown away by how gorgeous and grand the space was. My eyes were literally wandering from every wall to every corner of the restaurant until my eyes landed on the largest mural I had ever seen in my life.
The mural (see below), completed in a 6 short weeks, literally took up the whole back wall. You gotta see it for yourself!
A private dining area located on its own floor.
This was where I was mainly situated throughout the course of the dinner!
So after admiring the restaurant for quite some time, a few introductions were made by the owner, executive chef and design team. I thought it was quite inspiring. Ok onto the food!
COURSE # 1:
On the right a Traditional Margarita
Guacamole en la mesa
- avocado, tomato, red onion, fresh cilantro, serrano chili
- This was a great crunch to start off the dinner. Pretty addictive – great for sharing
Three mexican Chilies
COURSE # 2:
Pepino Diablo Cocktail
- This was my favourite cocktail of the night. I was hanging on to this cocktail probably throughout most of the dinner.
- I usually don’t enjoy cucumbers but this cocktail, mainly composed of cucumbers, had me loving cucumbers for the first time.
Ceviche de atun
- fresh tuna, lime juice, olive oil, watermelon, chive and habanero mignonette
- I love ceviches to begin with. My friend found the ceviche to be a bit fishy, I personally thought the fresh tuna and watermelon was so light and refreshing. I inhaled this no problem.
Vuelve a la vida el catrin
- east coast oyster with a ceviche of shrimp, octopus, bay scallops, red onion, cucumber, jicama and acapulco cocktail sauce
COURSE # 3:
Fuego Sandia Cocktail
Tacos al Pastor
- corn tortilla filled with saved pork marinated in axiote with pineapple, fres cilantro and chopped onion
COURSE # 4:
Hibisco Rosa & Mojito Reposado
Tostada de higado de pato
- hot seared foie gras, el catrin made tostada, mezcal mango syrup, poblano and red onion relish
- this was a great fatty and buttery piece of foie gras gently sitting on a thin layer of taco.
COURSE # 5:
Ensalada de nopal
- cactus salad, onion, tomato, fresh cilantro, radish with tequila lemon vinaigrette
COURSE # 6:
- I never knew ciltrano infused in a cocktail would be so awesome! This combo certainly worked for me.
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley
Camarones al ajillo
- jumbo shrimp sauteed with guajillo, garlic, lime juice, white wine, over red rice, black bean puree and guacamole
- The dish served in its cute little pot came with a jumbo shrimp that was incredibly tasty. I loved pairing it with the guacamole. Not too big of a fan of the red rice and black bean though.
COURSE # 7:
Costilla Corta En Mole Negro
- Beef Short Rib brased 24 hours with black mole sauce, sweet potato puree, sauteed sugar snap peas
- I personally found this a bit dry and overcooked. Though my friend found her short ribs to be really moist.
Photo credit: @andreayuen
Agua de Coco
- This was my second most favourite cocktail and wished it came out earlier but I guess the taste of it suited to be paired with the dessert course.
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley
Churros & Brra de Chocolat
- cajeta, chocolate and strawberry mousse / double smoked and spiced hazelnut crunch chocolate bar
- I personally didn’t enjoy the hazelnut chocolate bar as much as my friend did but we certainly both loved the churros! Freshly made – surgary but not overwhelming at the same time.
Below is a picture of their cocktail-style fiesta hosted after the Dinner as we were heading out.
Executive Chef Olivier certainly did a great job of showcasing what El Catrin has to offer, both outside on the patio and inside the gorgeous venue. Fellow foodies around me all left feeling more than satisfied. El Catrin also offers a brunch/ lunch menu (Click here) in addition to their dinner menu (Click here) that is currently being served. Making plans for the weekend? Remember to include El Catrin @ Distillery!
This meal was complimentary but Foodinthecitytoronto.com remains unbiased in our content.