By Annabelle Goodman –938 College St. 647 348 1116
My dear friend and I go back a long way to high school days. I cherish her friendship and wanted to celebrate her birthday with her and her husband. On several occasions we had visited the former premises, Cataplana I wanted her to see this new establishment delightfully renovated. Fortunately Chef Jose took over Via Norte. Gabriel is the friendly manager. On this occasion Rodrigo was our server. It felt as if he was our best friend by the time we left. His seductive smile and warmth added so much to our fine dining experience. He served with flair and charmed us all evening. If you have never been to Via Norte I strongly urge you to go as quickly as possible because it was superb. Jose is a master at cooking fish. Tuna is my favorite food. Nobody can prepare this delectable dish as well as Jose. It is out of this world. Two large, thick pieces were perfectly prepared. The salsa on top was flavorful. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, asparagus, kale and broccoli were crisp, fresh and flavorful. This was an enormous portion but I wasn’t about to leave a scrap. My friend also ordered this dish and we both declared it to be a wondrous dining experience.($28.00)
Now that I have raved about the main course let me backtrack a bit. The Portuguese bread is always crusty and fresh. Extra virgin olive oil and the finest balsamic vinegar enhance the flavor of the bread. The black, cured olives are prepared in house. You could easily fill up on the bread and olives.
The Organic Baby Greens Salad ($7.00) was lightly refreshed with excellent vinaigrette.
My friend’s husband was the third diner in our party. He chose the Linguini With Sauteed Black tiger Shrimp.($20.00) It is tossed with rapini and sun blushed tomatoes, aglio e olio.
I have enjoyed the Herb Crusted Salmon on a past visit.($20.00) Sliced onion roasted potatoes, French green beans and fruit chutney enhance this dish.
This is primarily a Portuguese restaurant. It is a great idea to try some of the specialties. Clams a Bulhao Pato is a typical appetizer featuring steamed clams in white wine, garlic, coriander and extra virgin oil.($9.00) The Grilled Fillet of Portuguese Sardines is served with onion confit, sweet peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.($7.00) On my last visit my dining companion raved about this dish.
The Caldeirada de Marisco is for two persons.($65.00) It is a mixture of fish slowly cooked in a copper pot, white wine, spices, tomatoes and onions, potatoes and herbs. You won’t believe how fantastic this is. You must try it to believe how tasty it is.
Pan Seared Breast of Muscovy Duck is served with wild rice and cranberries and a Soalheira port wine sauce.($24.00)
The menu is varied. There is something for everyone. When I make my reservation I ask ahead for the tuna. I can’t get enough of that perfection.
We were all filled and had no room for dessert. However the Chocolate Pot, Crème Brule and Pear Tart were all demolished in quick time. We couldn’t believe we were able to devour so much goodness at one meal.
The restaurant is busy at lunch as well. Make a reservation. Say hello to Gabriel and Rodrigo. Send regards to Jose in the kitchen. Every chef loves to know his work is
appreciated. I urge you to put Via Norte on your ‘must do’ list. It is becoming my obsession. Love it!