Sunday, November 6, 2011

la societe bistro

La Societe Bistro stands in the space formerly occupied by Dynasty Chinese Cuisine in Yorkville. Visiting Dynasty was always somewhat bittersweet for L. As a child, he had experienced a traditional Northern English upbringing & one of the many prejudices he was inadvertently indoctrinated with was that the Chinese are an inscrutable people whose cuisine is a thing to be feared. Obviously he's over all that now, but the sight of happy Sunday lunchtime families with young children expertly wielding chopsticks & casually wolfing down siu mai with gay abandon would always make him enormously resentful. Why aren't these little brats trembling in their seats, jutting out their lower lips as they fix their tear filled eyes on the pork buns & refusing to eat? Just who the hell do they think they are? 

Anyway, this isn't supposed to be the forum for L's fantasies of class resentment fueled infanticide, so lets just say that Dynasty has relocated round the corner & is still Toronto's finest dim sum this side of Lai Wah Heen, & following an extensive renovation La Societe Bistro has opened in its stead. It would be churlish of us to deny that they had done an amazing job in transforming the place from its formally slightly stuffy Chinese banqueting room into a Vegas style facsimile of a European style bistro. Never let it be said though that we are lacking in churl, we are positively entrenched in churl, & the end result of La Societe's makeover is a place that is impressive but horribly soulless. Kind of like the Matrix, only instead of sticking a tube in your head & farming your body for its electrolytes, they charge you $26 for a tuna salad.      


In keeping with the general theme of the place, the latte looked good but tasted merely adequate, rating somewhere around the level of Aroma espresso bar. While L has sipped on many an inadequate latte in his life, he cannot help but feel that if La Societe is genuine in its mission statement as found on its website to "transport you to another time & place" the place they had in mind was probably not the new food court at the Eaton Centre. 

Thankfully the croque madame was a big improvement. While not fit to share a billing with the one from Bonjour Brioche it could certainly hold its own with say Le Petitie Dejeuner. While L very much enjoyed the springy lightly toasted brioche, all the other components were pleasant if unremarkable. Pick of the litter were the frites which were wonderfully buttery in an all too rare way for skinny fries.

Sadly for J, her eggs benedict florentine was a crushing disappointment. She was less of a fan of the brioche than L, but worse still, the ham & the sauce were bland approaching flavourless. The whole thing rested atop a bed of potato hash that didn't seem to quite know what it was doing there & J could quite happily have done without. Our server, who was slick & attentive throughout, had politely warned J off a couple of other dishes she had almost ordered, assuring her with a conspirational tap of his authentically Gallic proboscis that the eggs benny was the smart choice, an idea which in retrospect we find unutterably flabbergasting.

Overall, if we were a single woman about town with a high paying job & no particular fondness for food looking for a place to catch up with the girls to debate which Sex & The City character we each most resembled, La Societe would be an option we suppose. A glowing recommendation, in anyone's language.

La Société Bistro on Urbanspoon

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