July 8: Sassafraz ★★★★
Easily one of the most anticipated locations for Summerlicious is the iconic Sassafraz on the bustling corner of Cumberland and Bellair. The inviting bright yellow house welcomes the well-to-do to a clean and exuberant room, expansive in its vaulted ceilings and two-storey waterfalls. The service is ridiculously efficient. Two generously sized scallops sat in a sticky balsamic glaze that merited a most enthusiastic clean-up. And the roasted almonds in their texture added some much needed depth. The swordfish was unfortunately a little dry and while the risotto-esque orzo supplied some punch it could have used more acid (I asked the waiter for some and applied it myself with dramatic results). The cheese was interesting, particularly when paired with grapes but my knowledge of artisanal cheese is admittedly lacking. But I will say the bits of brownie I stole were ridiculously rich and chocolaty and of course, creamy, not crumbly. Sassafraz retains its position at the top of Yorkville galore, though it will be challenged through and through in the next two weeks.
Pan seared scallops with sautéed spinach, roasted almond slivers and sherry gastrique
Seared swordfish with lemon caper orzo, green beans and blood orange emulsion
Gotham City cheese, exclusive to Sassafraz, made by Afrim Pristine of Cheese Boutique, served with flatbread and assorted dried fruits