I love a good steak so when Torontonicity was invited to taste the menu at Morton’s Steakhouse in Toronto, I couldn’t say no. The popular U.S. upscale restaurant has its only Canadian location in the heart of Yorkville at the Park Hyatt Hotel.
We arrived at 6 p.m. on a Friday and noticed several people having cocktails in the bar and a few tables occupied in the dining room. The host seated us at one of the in-demand half-moon booths at the side of the restaurant, which gave us a perfect spot for people-watching. The walls behind our booth were decorated with photos of celebrities who had dropped into Morton’s, including many of the Toronto Maple Leafs and stars visiting TIFF.
Everything about Morton’s is unapologetically large; I imagine some big deals being made here. The expansive dining room features thick brocade carpets, crisp white tablecloths and contemporary leather chairs. This is no lightweight restaurant. The clientele come to Morton’s for some serious dining.
At 6 p.m., the vibe was still relaxed in the restaurant with a jazz soundtrack playing in the background. Our very knowledgeable server, Jayna, quickly greeted us and took the time to explain the highlights of the menu overseen by Executive Chef Natalie Cuda.
My dining partner opted for a glass of Pinot Grigio, $11, while I opted for an orange juice. A server placed a round baguette of warm onion bread, along with a ribbon of fresh butter on our table. Although we didn’t want to fill up on bread, we both couldn’t resist trying a small piece of the crispy loaf, which tasted freshly baked. I didn’t taste as much onion as I had anticipated, but it was still delicious.
My dining partner decided to start with the Baked Escargot, $14, while I opted for the Jumbo Shrimp Alexander, $21.
The Baked Escargot, capped with puff pastry, were quite tasty and not too filling.
My Jumbo Shrimp Alexander included four Jumbo Shrimp in a breaded coating. I took a bit of a risk ordering this appetizer since my plan was to enjoy a steak later. These incredibly tasty morsels come with a caveat: they are quite filling, but oh so good. After biting into the crispy coating, your taste buds encounter a succulent and juicy shrimp. I would have loved the breaded coating to have included some minced garlic, but it was hardly a setback without it.
My dining partner chose the Mixed Grill, $50, for her entree, which included a 6 oz. filet mignon, three grilled shrimps and three bacon-wrapped scallops. The steak was super tender, cooked to her specification of “Medium Rare,” while the shrimp were tasty, if a bit chewy. The enveloped scallops were flavourful and tender, but be warned: they were large and quite filling. The plate came with perfectly grilled asparagus.
Yes, I went for it and ordered a Chicago Style Prime Bone In Ribeye, $61. The aroma promised a tantalizing gustatory experience and it did not disappoint. I ordered the steak, “Medium Well,” because Jayna had informed us that Morton’s tends to undercook. As a result, I would say my steak leaned more towards “Medium” and that was fine with me. Although pink in sections, it was actually just the way I like it. You can order accompanying sauces for your steaks, but I didn’t think this ribeye would need it and I was correct. This meat was thick, juicy and rich with flavour, and quite frankly, one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.
At this point in the evening, the room was almost full and the volume level had risen considerably – not a place where you’d be able to whisper sweet nothings in the ear of your loved one – but a room to enjoy the collegiality of friends and family as was apparent at the large table near us celebrating a birthday. I was also surprised to note that a fair number of people were dressed casually in jeans and sweaters, but then that’s Toronto for you.
The menu at Morton’s is a la carte, so we opted for two sides, which we were told would be ample for sharing. The Sautéed Spinach and Button Mushrooms was the perfect accompaniment for the steaks. Very lightly seasoned, both spinach and mushrooms were cooked to perfection. The dish, however, included a large amount of spinach and mushrooms that we could not finish.
Our second side was the Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, the ultimate in comfort food. While we both enjoyed the super creamy potatoes, I found them a bit on the salty side. Again, there was too much for us to finish this side serving.
Our server surprised us with the house special dessert: Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake, $15, served with a scoop of vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream. The rich chocolate cake contained a gooey chocolate sauce with fresh raspberries. The dessert is definitely a piece de resistance, but I preferred to end the meal on a light and sweet note so I ordered the Crème Brûlée, $15.
I don’t find much variation in the way Crème Brûlée is prepared and this one met all the standards: crispy topping, and a sweet and light custard underneath. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
With the superior execution of the menu, impeccable service and sumptuous surroundings, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better steakhouse in Toronto to enjoy a first class meal.
Morton’s Steakhouse at the Park Hyatt Toronto, 4 Avenue Road (at Bloor Street West), 416-925-0648. Dining room hours are Monday to Friday 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.