Restaurant Review: Bistro Five61

Annabelle Goodman

Kabeer Goel is a masterful chef and the owner of this favoured spot. The plating is exquisite. The food is outstanding. Ted and George are the two servers that will look after you. They are delightful and very efficient. Everything is great about this friendly upscale neighbourhood restaurant. It is on the first floor of an apartment building on Avenue Road just north of St Clair. A cousin of mine had just moved into the building. I thought it was very fitting that we should dine in her home building. I thought I was introducing her to one of my favorite restaurants. Since moving she has been frequenting the place. It was rather humorous that we both knew what we were going to have before looking at a menu.

On another occasion I enjoyed the Garlic Tiger Shrimp served with arugula, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and capellini tossed in a sweet pepper emulsion. The Seafood Sizzler offers grilled scallops, shrimp and calamari and lemon on sizzling cabbage salad, dressed with basil oil.

The Shrimp Linguini was my choice on my last visit. The shrimps were plump and flavourful. It was a most generous portion. The pinot grigio cream sauce was memorable. On this occasion I had my favorite choice. The Grilled Atlantic Salmon is a beautifully plated presentation. The salmon is perfectly cooked and so fantastic. It is placed on the end of a white rectangular dish. At the other end is a round of rice infused with ratatouille. Two asparagus spears are crossed in the middle of the plate garnished with two roasted cherry tomatoes. Fantastic!

My lunch guest loves the Five61 Burger. The tender juicy burger is served with aged cheddar cheese and sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions and chipotle aioli. A choice of fries or salad is included. The Chicken Parmigiano Sandwich is a large portion served on a kaiser bun with spinach and cranberry aioli.

For a special occasion the Australian Rack of Lamb is a great choice. It is served with roasted potatoes, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, carrots and rapini.  Osso Bucco Milanese is a gourmet choice. Butter Chicken is a traditional Indian dish with a mildly spiced tomato sauce served with peas pilaf and naan bread.

Definitely save room for dessert. I love the Trio of Desserts. It is extraordinary and would happily serve four people. Cheese cake, devil’s chocolate cake, add crème brulee; are all served with an adornment of fresh fruit and a cookie. It is the greatest way to end a meal. On this occasion we shared an order of sorbets. Three dishes of mango, lemon and raspberry were served. I had to comment at the dessert being enjoyed at the next table. The Key Lime Pie was the most beautiful presentation. It was  adorned with a raspberry and mango coulis.It will be my choice on my next visit.

There are only 10 tables. I love the small warm ambiance. It has never been noisy. I find the food to be exceptional. There is even parking available in the front of the restaurant just off Avenue Road. Guaranteed that a visit to Bistro Five 61 will be totally satisfactory. You will return as I often do.