Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 432 Wellington Street West
Type of Meal: Dinner
Located on a quiet street between a night club and an office building, you wouldn’t think there’d be a charming French restaurant nearby. Le Seléct Bistro is a delightful surprise, with its quaint patio and accented staff. Also a great spot to bring wine aficionados as the restaurant boasts an 80-page wine list which changes seasonally. Patrons can get a glimpse of their 10,000+ bottle cellar while visiting the restrooms in the basement.
My first choice for a main, the bison steak frites, was disappointingly sold out on my visit. In the end, I opted for the 3-course price fixe meal ($35) instead which offers a choice of soup or salad, selection from three mains and two desserts.
Le Seléct’s house salad (salade maison) isn’t just your regular spring mix based salad; theirs packs an assortment of greens, kale and beat slices. The oil vinaigrette coating everything is tart but enjoyable, not sweet at all for being honey mustard as noted on their menu.
The steak frites (bavette d’aloyau aux echalotes) arrives haphazard looking on the plate. Despite the poor presentation, the steak itself was perfectly cooked to a medium rare and tender. However, I found the beef under seasoned; there was some caramelized onions topping it but they were a bit too sweet for my taste. The frites were thin and crispy, which I happily gobbled up.
The duck confit (confit de canard) ($27.95), is the better choice and is also offered with the price fixe menu. The skin was rendered to a wonderful crispiness. Although the duck itself was a bit underseasoned, the dish at least had a demi-glace with it to dip at your leisure. A side of thin crispy green beans and triangle of potatoes au gratin presented with the fowl were equally adequate.
To end I opted for the crème brûlée. The custard was smooth and not overly sweet, which I prefer. But, the torched layer of sugar topping it was way too thick; to the point that it was difficult to break through. An almond glazed chocolate biscotti accompanies the dish, which is equally hard but would have been good with a cup of coffee.
Ultimately, the food at Le Seléct isn’t outstanding but is respectable. I enjoy the selection and hope to try to bison steak in the future, likely a better option given it being sold out. Overall, I enjoyed their atmosphere with the comfortable curved booths and the unhurried service. Le Seléct is a good venue to take things slow and pretend you’re in France somewhere where life is meant to be enjoyed one glass of red wine at a time.
Overall mark - 7 out of 10
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Gastro World's Grading System
- Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
- 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
- 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
- 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
- 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
- 10 - absolute perfection!