By Annabelle Goodman –1071 Shaw St. (on Dupont) 416 588 5928
It was a very special occasion. My nephew had just given the most superb speech for the university convocation. He was actually cheered by the students. I was so honored to be invited as one of his guests. A family dinner was certainly in order to celebrate. When given his choice of any restaurant he quickly suggested Universal Grill. It is on a quiet spot on Dupont at Shaw St. It is out of the way. It is a small establishment. Approximately 10 tables are nestled on the small patio and it is well used in the summer. This evening was perfect weather and we opted for the outdoors. We have all dined here many times before. I remember when it first opened and I congratulated the two women proprietors for being so daring. I have never been there when it was not busy. Being outdoors it was not noisy. The server gave us so much attention and she was helpful and knowledgeable. She seemed to manage all of the outdoor diners with a smile and great service.
The fresh bread arrived immediately and we loved the white bean dip with a good tasting of garlic. Beet Soup was the special of the day with a tracing of crème fraiche.
With our fancy cocktails we shared two appetizers. One was a plate of Asparagus with a Béchamel sauce and cheese. The stalks were still crisp and the flavor was so enhanced with the sauce. The Fiddleheads were in a white wine garlic sauce. What a great beginning.
This place is noted for their ribs. One diner enjoyed the Dry Ribs served with sweet potato frites. Another in our party ordered the Wet Ribs with a tasty BBQ sauce. The gnawed pile of bones on the plate spoke of enjoyment. They were declared to be a winner. The guest of honor ordered the special Salmon Trout. It was served with vegetables and frites and greatly enjoyed. I almost ordered the Vegetarian Special. It was a Baked Rigatoni with vegetables. I have had it in the past and it is superb. Marlin was one of the fish specials and I decided to try it because it is rarely served in the city. It was absolutely fantastic. The pineapple salsa added to the flavor. Marlin is a firm fish and I would love to have it again very soon. Yuca chips and green vegetables were included. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal.
We shared two amazing desserts. The Chocolate Brownie with ice cream was enough for 4 people. We did it justice. The dense chocolate flavor melted in my mouth. Fantastic. The Fruit Crumble was equally as tasty.
It was a memorable evening in every way. The food is superior here. It is a low key understated ambiance. The cooking area is miniscule and yet they are able to prepare fine gourmet food. I love the neighborhood feeling. I
It is a small restaurant and always busy so do make a reservation. It is also open for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Tuesday until Saturday it opens at 5:00 p.m. for dinner. Mark this charming restaurant on your list. It is reasonable and the food is outstanding.