Neighbourhood: West Broadway
Address: 116 Sherbrook Street
Entrees: $9 – $40
One Sixteen’s understated minimalist aesthetic is a sharp and comfortable contrast to its refined culinary vision. This chef driven restaurant and taproom is home to aptly executed, inventive plates that have impressed us since its opening. The best new restaurant of the year pours hospitality generously and still manages to ooze cool vibes.
From the first step inside, a sense of genuine happiness is conveyed – from a warm greeting at the door to highly informed and ebullient servers introducing dishes as they arrive at the table. Even though they may not know who you are they are delighted you’re here. The setting is established for engaged convivial dining that hinges on sharing.
Pared down table settings equipped only with necessities – a paper napkin, cutlery, a single sheet menu – set a low-key tone at this hip haunt. Over the buzz of chatter from filled tables, anticipation sets in.
The venture of The Beer Can progenitors burst onto the scene early in the year and was immediately swarmed with Wolseley residents seeking a sociable seat at a communal table for a pint of local beer. Brew partner Good Neighbour Brewing Company ensures guests have something cold – hazy, sour or pale – to imbibe and complement flavours of the kitchen.
This is a palate expanding play zone, a tribute to an elite team of creative chefs, helmed by Chef Kurt Kolbe. Greens such as carrots and dill are taken in a new direction with added depth. Chile spiked tahini provides a bed for the charred vegetable slices and pops of jalapeño punctuate each bite. This same vibrant pepper coyly electrifies fried chicken lightly lathered in a honeyed blue cheese gravy.
This is the kind of food chefs get most excited about, the type that begins with freshly procured produce to build around; grilled purple snow peas, delicately dressed with a whisper of mint vinaigrette; charred cabbage, accented with miso-flavoured chicken fat. A lettuce salad mixed with mellowed white onion rings and radish is transformed with poached pickerel cheeks and pops of briny fish roe.
The market based burrata salad highlights the season’s bounty with aplomb. Summer’s poached asparagus, laced with astringent bites of pickled rhubarb glisten on garlicky oil. Today’s rendition features radicchio’s bitter leaves balanced with sweetly sour bites of grapefruit, salty Serrano ham. Walnuts add satisfyingly bitter crunch.
Every element supports burrata’s delicate creaminess.
Meatier dishes are equally outstanding. Artfully arranged slices of charred koji-aged rib-eye luxuriates in a silky beef jus, beside a dollop of sweet potato romesco. Its pink interior juices release on the palate, a brilliant presentation to rival any steakhouse anywhere.
End on a sweet and sassy note, but before the almond cake with puckering lemon cream and preserved rhubarb arrives, you’ll already know you have just been fed by ferociously dedicated professionals, making a case that more hands sometimes lead to the best broth.