|3393 Yonge Street, Toronto ON
Approx $25 per person
Local Food? some local ingredients
Local Wine/Beer? some available
Mon to Sun: 12pm to 3pm
Mon to Sun: 5pm to 11pm
The promise of Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese fusion cuisine sounded too good to be attainable. A dinner at Cravings restaurant, much talked about and constantly filled with diners, was the litmus test on a recent Monday night.
Between four of us we tried a range of share plates, some Japanese, some Chinese, but regrettably, none impressive. Substance was lacking, dishes were reliant on the sauce they were smothered in and the flavour smacked of a canned nature.
Word is, the food’s been better on previous visits – I’ve been told the Mango Stir Fry ($13 with shrimp) has always delivered. Something was different this time. A Spicy Orange Beef ($11) dish was spicy, tangy and decent but not amazing. It was more deep-fried breaded batter than beef anyway.
A side order of Steamed Mix Vegetables ($5) was good in portion, bland in flavour. Also tried was the Thai Basil dish ($9 with eggplant). The description sounds divine – “thai basil, a tiny little touch of sambal-olek spicy sauce and oyster sauce with mix vegetables plus your choice of chicken, beef or eggplant” – but it was a subtlety in flavour too advanced for my palate. Either that or they saved it for some other table.
From the Japanese side of the menu, the UFO roll ($10), spicy tuna on fried sweet potatoes was pretty but too fishy to be fresh. Just for kicks we also tried the signature roll, Chitat’s Riceless Roll ($10) which was just four pieces. Instead of rice it’s rolled thin cucumber slivers, filled with bbq eel, avocado and crab meat. Again, it was fishy, not fresh.
Our meal ended with coffee and dessert. We shared dessert four ways – a rich chocolate lava cake ($7) was a good end to the meal.
Overall, it’s ordinary food, much like Spring Rolls but with smaller portions. In the Yonge Street strip between York Mills and Lawrence Aves, it’s an ethnic rarity and fills up fast despite its shortcomings. If only we could all be so lucky.