Friday, March 06, 2015

REVIEW | NAO Steakhouse

A good steakhouse is like a needle in a haystack .You know it's there but it's so hard to find. Steak on its own seems like a simple concept, a piece of meat that doesn't require much seasoning and just heat to cook. Yet people everywhere ourselves included have struggled to cook that perfect steak.

Thankfully there are great steakhouses around in Toronto that save us the trouble of slaving over the stove. NAO Steakhouse in Yorkville offers an extensive meat selection as well as other dinner entree options that's not just steak!

NAO Steakhouse is literally "off the beaten path" with its short walk from the main Yorkville neighbourhood.

The atmosphere is like many steakhouses in Toronto with dim lighting, leather banquettes, beautiful chandeliers, where the main clientele is couples and business dinners for executives, I can also definitely see myself there after work having appetizers and sharing cocktails with my girlfriends. That's what I found was great about NAO - it's not a stuffy environment where everyone gets a steak and potatoes, but a welcoming one where diners are encouraged to visit for cocktails and unique sharable bites.


NAO means new and old and their food, cocktails and interior is a true reflection of this concept.

I'll never understand the complexity of a menu from just looking at it and I learned that NAO's menu was finalized after numerous trips to Asian Pacfic countries and is incorporated into their menu like the yuzu marinade on the branzino and sesame dressing in the kale salad.

NAO's executive Chef Stuart Cameron is taking traditional ingredients and rethinking how they can complement and modernize the classic steakhouse experience that we all love.

We all know red wine goes best with red meats but the impressive cocktail menu is enough to make us show up an hour before dinner to enjoy a few cocktails from the mixology program led by Michael Garrett who is a familiar face from Weslodge, Bar Isabel and Origin.

Basho Sour ($15.00)
Pineapple Infused Sake, fresh lemon juice, hibiscus syrup & egg white

The Valet ($15.00) - Calvados Apple Brandy, amaro montenegro, fresh lemon juice & orange spiced simple syrup // Fizz Marie ($15.00) - Hayman's Slow Gin, lillet blanc, aperol, fresh lemon juice & sparkling wine

 Tuna Tartar ($22.00)
Avocado, puffed rice & wasabi mixed together by the server & eaten on a boston leaf (or wasabi leaf when available)

Lao Raw Beef Tartar ($17.00)
served with squid ink chips, kaffir lime & chilli

Table-side in-house steak sauce, served with steak orders

 Canadian Black Hide Angus - Guelph Ontario ($95.00)
20oz. Bone In Chateaubriand

 Whole Branzino ($45.00)
Red yuzukosho marinade & ponzu brown butter


 Shredded Kale Salad ($13.00)
Pickled shiitake, spicy sesame dressing & fried shallots

 Seasonal Mushrooms ($14.00)
Includes a variety of mushrooms 4 ways: pickled, crispy, roasted & rayu

 Crispy Vidalia Onion ($12.00)
Served with white soy sour cream


Baked Alaska ($18.00) - for two
White chocolate parfait, strawberry sorbet & pickled strawberry

Raspberry Sorbet ($10.00)
Chianti wine, anglaise creme, mint & candied lemon

The steak was on par and delicious but it was the branzino that really stood out, proving NAO to be more than just a typical steakhouse that specialized in steak. The branzino gave me a taste of how amazing their fish is and I can't wait to go back and try the sea bream and crispy whole snapper. 

The choice of dessert was a perfect ending to a heavy meal as the raspberry sorbet was very light and refreshing - can't stop thinking about it!

We're still a little frozen from this year's sub zero winter so we're definitely looking forward to the patio that seats 75.

Nao Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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