The Drake Hotel has always been great at reinventing itself. The décor on the rooftop patio known as the Sky Yard, has changed again. Always keeping itself new and fresh, the menu has also been revamped by Corporate Executive Chef Ted Corrado. Items are designed to be shared, to create a casual, communal dining experience. Being able to taste many dishes is my favourite way to dine. A perfect plate for two is the new Fried Chicken ($23.95), served with delicious jalapeno corn bread, a wee bowl of smoked potato salad and a side of honey for drizzling. Our bucket had three pieces of boneless chicken thighs. Sure, it’s neater to eat with a knife and fork, but seriously, it’s fried chicken. Pick that thing up and eat it with your hands.
Wanting to stay true to the Drake’s reputation for being fun, social, and interactive, Ted aspired to create a menu that was less formal, and offer dishes that friends could pick at and sample while sharing great cocktails. The summer offerings are light and ideal for hot, humid days. A Green Gazpacho ($8.95) made with green tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and cilantro is a perfect way to cool down and drink your vegetables. Add a bit of Dungeness crab ($5.95) and it’s a light meal when paired with the Ontario Burrata Salad ($15.95). Colourful cherry tomatoes, sweet cubes of watermelon, marcona almonds, chunks of burrata and pieces of thin crostini, are tossed in a light sherry vinaigrette.
One of my favourite foods is now appearing on more menus across Toronto: this is the summer of the octopus. The Drake Hotel offers up a tender Charred Octopus ($14.95), sliced (no need to battle a tentacle amongst your friends), and served with fingerling potatoes, roasted peppers, and sun dried black olives. Give me a tray of this and I will be forever happy.
Other shared plates added to the menu include a Steak Tartare Tostada ($15) and Ontario Pickerel ($25). Expertly rolled sushi is still on the menu for those hot nights requiring cold food. You can sample some of the new menu items with a deal of a Summerlicious meal at the Drake with a $20 prix fixe lunch or $35 dinner.
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