A poorly executed blini spoils the lobster brunch dish at Guild.
GUILD 1442 Dundas West, at Gladstone, 647-343-7288, guildresto.com. Rating: NN
If location is king, Mani Binelli's month-old Guild (1442 Dundas West, at Gladstone, 647-343-7288, guildresto.com, rating: NN), two doors down from the riotously popular Federal, has it made. Why, the former Vdara chef is virtually guaranteed full houses from the Fed's brunch spillover alone.
That would explain the crowd last Saturday noon. Squeezing into the last table, we're soon sipping weak Americanos ($2) and decimating a basket of quite-good beignets ($6) even if they are rectangular. Big eaters will appreciate Binelli's Sir Guild-a-Lot all-in-one breakfast ($17 with salad) of sliced flank steak, house-cured maple bacon and two runny poached eggs on a hopelessly mushy mashed potato pancake, the same dismal one found under slices of the kitchen's pesto-topped trout gravlax ($12). My kingdom for proper rosti!
As well as the compulsory poached eggs, generous chunks of butter-poached lobster and grilled spring asparagus show up finished with a spoonful of Spanish herring caviar and a way-watery hollandaise on what the menu says is a buckwheat blini but is more stodgy pancake than crepe ($16). And we'd call the foie-gras-stuffed French toast ($15) topped with caramelized bananas an offal omelette. With fruit and whipped cream.
Though the one-time Couillard sous's plates are a treat for the eye, they're not all that fun on the tongue. To quote the immortal Carole Pope: "All touch, no contact."