First up, Basta Pasta. It is a cross-over hybrid between Japanese & Italian cuisines. My friend Mary gave the restaurant two thumbs up, so I of course had to check it out. Attractive looking entrance and I love the fridge wall with shiny chrome hardware and solid wood door fronts: very industrial chic.
A couple of "Glass of Happiness", as the restaurant calls them, to kick start our dinner: Pear Martini with Vodka, Triple Sec, and pear juicy for me and Sangria Bianca with Muscat wine, plum wine, and fresh fruits for Mary.
Now the real fun begins with Antipasti (Tuna & Sea Scallop, Tartare, sliced fennel, mustard oil, and lemon sauce) and this incredibly tender, juicy, and tasty duck breast dish.
See this gigantic cheese sitting in the middle of the restaurant? Do you wonder what the chef is doing with this cheese?
It is actually one of the restaurant's signature dishes where the chef places the freshly cooked spaghetti into the cheese, lets the heat does it magic to melt the cheese, and gently coats each spaghetti with cheese! This dish is a little heavy but it is absolutely delicious.
As for deserts, we picked Blancmange (a.k.a almond milk blancmange), Tora (orange white wine jelly with mascarpone gelato), and Flan (baked creme caramel, fresh fruit with whipped cream). They are so good that I would like to have a round of them again as we speak!
The dishes at Basta Pasta are sensational and relatively affordable. I would recommend you either call ahead of time for reservation (as only a couple of tables are set aside for reservation) or beat the crowd by showing up early. I certainly will visit Basta Pasta again next time when I am in town.
I profiled Panya during my earlier NYC visit but I simply couldn't get enough of its yummy japanese buns.
Love the ceiling with thick, chunky wood beams for a touch of rustic, log cabin charm.
These authentic Japanese buns are perfect for breakfast or light lunch. Now I wish we have Panya in downtown Toronto ... fabulous business opportunity folks!
The kitchen at Panya also prepares hot meals, and katsu don was my quick fix 2 hours before heading back to Toronto.
Off the Japanese food wagon for a second to show you what you need when visiting Central Park: Belgian waffle! The options of what go on these freshly baked waffles are endless and for me: fresh strawberries, banana, walnuts, nutella, and a touch of icing sugar. So next time when you are right outside of Central Park and debating whether to get an ice cream, check out this waffle place first!
On Wednesday I will share with you a very special restaurant Mary and I had dinner at twice during my 4 days visit. You won't want to miss it!