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Black Tie Fine Dining 1
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Black Tie International Magazine - Restaurant Review- Hot House Cafe


Toronto, Canada

By Sheldon Landwehr

Photos courtesy of  The Hot House Cafe


salmon dish, the hot house

Salmon Dish

Shrimp Fruit Salad


       Andrew Laffey's enormous four section, 350-seat, Hot House restaurant wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass, is more than a eating destination, it is a culinary statement, offering a broad spectrum of Italian/American fare from over-sized, juicy hamburgers and sandwiches to  marbled steaks to a wide range of appetizers, pizza, cool salads and sufficiently  supple pastas. The menu likewise brims with spunky entrees, along with a number of intriguing  vegetarian creations.

       It's hard not to like a restaurant that goes all-out to satisfy so many diverse taste- buds.  Furthermore, Hot House makes just about everything touted from scratch, including soups such as tomato-basil or its daily concoctions.   On Sunday, Hot House creates its own lavish, live-jazz buffet  brunch at $18.95, encompassing a staggering variety of breakfast foods as well as hot main courses.

       The dining rooms are as fresh looking as the cuisine, decorated with myriad columns, bracing colorful pictures, furnished with sturdy booths, chairs and wood-trimmed Formica topped tables.  The entire establishment is  serviced by a grandiose open kitchen and a well-trained, attentive male and female wait-staff.     

       Among executive  chef  Curt Hospedales out-side-the-box temptations is the jumbo fried shrimp,   bristling in a course batter  of crusty, shredded  coconut, deftly drizzled with tamarind sauce, faintly imparting a hint of sweetness.  Aromatic, Louisiana crab cakes, heavy on crab, light on filler, embellished with chili-lime aioli, also scores.  Caesar salad, a combination  of fresh, crisp  romaine lettuce sprinkled with bacon bits and crunchy croutons, is intelligently tossed with Curt's Hot House Caesar dressing, is doubtlessly worthy of your consideration, especially if you are a salad aficionado.

       Most sought after desserts come in the form of multi-grain , thin-crusted pies.  Beverages embrace a extensive selection of coffee's, freshly squeezed juices and mineral waters.  If there are  flaws here, we were not subjected to them.   Nevertheless, Hot House is a special place, a restaurant with a distinct personality, that obviously goes to the trouble to experiment and the good sense to learn from its mistakes.  In sum, Hot House is a restaurant that is on target.

       Hot House Cafe, 35 Church Street, Toronto, Ont.  Phone:  416-366-7800.   Lunch and dinner daily. Dinner entrees $19.95 to $27.95. Accepts reservations and major credit cards.
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