Crush Wine Bar was deserted by Saturday night Summerlicious standards; this is quite the shame for such a spectacular restaurant. Crush guards a youthful corner ridden with notorious bike thieves, borrowing some urbanite elements from Queen Street West (like a black chalkboard menu) but retains the finer elements of King. The lighting was dim and the colours were bold, as a wine bar should be. There is nothing special at first glance: the menu was safe, Toronto Life still has no rating and the ambiance was only comfortable. Yet the food made all the difference. The mussels came in heavy tomato sauce, with some unsuspected notes from the saffron and the olives. The steak lay in a wonderfully flavoured salsa, the corn bread adding that hint of texture and sweetness. And the dark chocolate pudding was rich and creamy (although I could not taste the orange). I also tried the shortcake, a light and healthful dessert yet satisfying. I hope for more textbook cuisine like this for the next two weeks.
P.E.I. mussels in a saffron ginger nage with olives, caper berries & grilled bread
grilled flat iron steak with corn bread & black bean salsa
dark chocolate & cardamom pudding with orange creme fraiche