Antler Kitchen + Bar
We visited Antler Kitchen + Bar back in January for the first time, having stumbled upon it accidentally. We were lucky enough to get a seat and are so thankful we did! This place was a true 5-star experience both times we visited and is a MUST for anyone traveling to Toronto. From the vibrant atmosphere, to the friendly service to the out of this world flavor of each bite, Antler is everything you could ask for. Over our 2 trips we have enjoyed the Wild Boar Gyoza, Foie Gras, Venison Tartare, Wild Boar Cavatelli, Spiced Ash Rack of Deer, Cedar Infused Ice (truly an experience) and the Smoked Chocolate dessert. With every bite of each dish our eyes rolled in the back of our heads.
Let me give you a little back story though. We stumbled in here after ghost pepper infused tequila shots at The Lockhart across the street, and were so overwhelmed we didn’t know what to try. I also had just had deer jerky and a bison burger earlier in our visit and wasn’t crazy about the gaminess so I was weary of trying a few dishes. Our first trip, we started with the Venison Tartare, which Mike really wanted to try, followed by Foie Gras on a buttermilk biscuit with spiced wine reduction (dream worthy), followed by the Wild Boar Cavatelli. It was all so impeccable, so well timed, we were in heaven. At the end of the meal, we were talking to our waitress, and she said she was surprised we didn’t get the Spiced Ash Rack of Deer since that was their famous dish. WELL THANKS FOR TELLIN US NOW!!! We looked at each other for an answer on what to do but decided we were so full we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Our man, Eddie, who had been running our food came back a few minutes later with a complimentary dessert – the Cedar Infused Ice with blueberry compote. Mike ate the whole thing in one bite while I wanted to savor it. Turns out, the flavor had more punch in one bite. It was a very unique taste but I’m glad we had it. Eddie also brought us after dinner drinks, and gave us other recommendations of things to do before we left.
On our drive out of the city the next morning, we had already made up our minds we had to go back for the Rack of Deer. Alas, I booked us in our same window seat for our return trip in June. Low and behold, Eddie was there again! He even remembered Mike’s name, that we were in the same seats and our dishes! He was so incredible, we felt like we were at home. We were so excited to be back, but again, overwhelmed with decisions on whether to repeat our previous meal or not. We started this time with Wild Boar Gyoza – yummy but I would have gone Venison Tartare again, followed by our Foie Gras – just as great the second time, and then the Spiced Ash Rack of Deer. There was such a build up for this dish! It was one large chop, perfect for an individual portion but as we were sharing I was still a little hungry afterwards. The flavors were so complex with a hint of smokiness, but it was very well balanced and cooked to perfection. It was like an experiment in your mouth.
Still hungry, we decided to add a round of the Wild Boar Cavatelli. It. Is. The. Bomb. I would eat that every day if I could. As I looked across the street to the flats with their little patios looking in to Antler I thought of how fat I would be if I was in residence. Wishful thinking… At this point we were beyond stuffed but the couple behind us were presented with a dish that was smoking in a glass cover, it was chocolate. I had to have it. Again, so much flavor in this serving it was unreal.
Eventually, we will have to start ordering new things when we go but I’m a creature of habit… When it’s good it’s damn good!