604 King Street west
Ambiance: 3 . 5 /4
Service: 3 / 4
Food: 3 . 5 / 4
Buca has been on my must-go restaurant list for some time now so finally, AM and I made our way there for a romantic dinner out. At first, we were a little worried because we could not find the restaurant because it is down and secluded, dark alley way. However, as you open the door to the restaurant you know you are about to have a unique dining experience. The high ceilings, exposed brick and interesting decor make you feel like you are about to eat in a modern Italian salter house. As like other trendy restaurants in the Toronto right now, they have no signage; you must make reservations and no there is no menu on line.
We started with the small CHARCUTERIE. All the meat is stored in glass faced meat lockers that decorate the rustic restaurant. Trying this fresh, hand-cut, cured meat was a must. We got the chili salumi, bresaola and the parma ham. Pretty standard but, as always AM loved it.
When I was in Italy, one of my favourite things to eat were the "garlic balls." So when I saw the NODINI on the menu, I convinced AM to pay for bread. The small bread knots are smothered in olive oil, rosemary, salt and loads of garlic. The outer crust is crispy, but when you bite in they are soft and outstandingly tasty. Be careful, they are surprisingly messy!
Next, we ordered the ORECCHIO DI MAIALE. We are always interested in trying new things, so we had to give the pigs' ears a chance. These treats are deep-fried and served with wild fennel salt. I was a bit nervous at first, so I let AM take the lead. They were crispy and a little chewy, so I was amazed at how tasty they were quite tasty. However, the portion was too large for two people; we each ate about three and had to leave the rest.
As a recommendation by our waiter we tried the ARROSTICINI. Four large lamb skewers served with grilled lemon, olive oil, oregano, and ricotta salata. The lamb was tender, juicy and well seasoned.
Finally, we shared a pasta dish. We decided on the SCALATIELLI ALLE VONGOLE. Fresh, house made pasta served with BC clams, chili, smoked eel and minutia. Boy, did I love this pasta. The portion was small so we had to fight for it. The fresh pasta was unique in texture, reminding me of an udon noodle, interestingly enough. The clams were a harmonious pair to the smokey flavour of the eel.
Would we go back? We may take my dad one time; we think he would really like it.
STANDOUT DISH OF THE NIGHT:
Scalatielli Alle Vongole