Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: The One (Part 1: The Ambience)

Interior of the restaurant
I love pretension.  To be exact, I have a penchant for pretentious places and things but not so much for pretentious people, which admittedly, I can sometimes be.  So of course I was delighted and excited when I learned that one of my work Christmas parties was to be at The One (also known as the One Hazelton to some people), a very posh and expensive restaurant located below the Metropolitan Hotel in Yorkville (a posh and pretentious neighbourhood in downtown Toronto). 

It’s a popular celebrity hangout.  I know someone who was seated beside Gerard Butler on the well-known patio when she was there during the film festival, and I’d read that Bono was just there in September – and of course, as I’ve already established, what’s good enough for Bono is good enough for me. 

But most importantly, I’d heard that the food was amazing.  And of course, that was my primary motivation; I’m always there mainly for the food.  I’d do very much for good food.  If I were to ever write an autobiography, I’d call it “I’m Here for the Food.”  Dead serious.

The One is run by star chef & restaurateur, Mark McEwan, who also runs the gourmet joints, North 44 and Bymark, which another friend has been to and loved.  He's a celebrity on Food Network Canada and he has a big reputation to uphold.  They charge $56 for a steak at The One and $18 for a cocktail.  There must be a reason for all of this, and I was really pumped to experience it all firsthand.

Of course, prior to going, I had to do my research and read all the reviews online.  And sadly, they weren’t wonderful.  Mind you, most of the reviews had nothing to do with the food because they were mainly complaints about the clientele – that it’s douchey, that the restaurant is where old men take their prostitutes younger lady friends, that the people there are all extremely pretentious.  This didn’t bother me because it just signalled an interesting night of people-watching.  What did bother me were the food reviews – they were either angry rants or mild raves, and some of the reviewers who have been there more than once simply stated that it was either hit or miss. Hm.

So I decided to go there with a completely open mind to see what the evening would bring.

Oddly for me, I’m going to have to hold off on the conversation about the food until my next post because there’s too much to say about the ambience.  The atmosphere was definitely interesting.  Upon entry I was greeted at the door by young, high-heeled hostesses in little, black dresses.  Having worked in the restaurant industry before, I wondered to myself how they could possibly last the entire night in heels – but then again, maybe the tips that can be made in Yorkville can dull the pain. 

I was ushered into the bar area by my colleagues to meet up with my bosses, and the décor was, as expected, tasteful and dark.  Dim lighting camouflaged the fact that everyone clearly headed there after a full day of work and was probably tired.  The furniture was dark, the bartenders ambled around casually to whip up expensive drinks for everyone, and the atmosphere was rather relaxed.  There were many men in business suits sipping drinks together in a very international setting.  My female colleagues and I were among a teeny handful of women present at the time – the hour was still way too early.  At one point, one of my bosses – one of the coolest 44-year-old dudes you will ever meet – cast a quick glance around the room and snorted derisively that the clientele was “geriatric.”

My whiskey sour
I must have been the youngest person at that restaurant that night, except for the staff…until Red Tartan walked in.  Red, who couldn’t have been much out of her teens, leaned casually against the bar in a skin-tight, red tartan pseudo-bustier that was cut down to the base of her sternum.  She paired that with skin-tight jeans cut so low that they could only be worn with a fresh Brazilian wax, and finished off her ensemble with 6” platforms.  The picture couldn’t have been clearer.  Her companion, a curly-haired, well-groomed, middle-aged man in decent executive attire, looked surprisingly normal – a fact that I pointed out to my amused bosses.  From what I could catch out of the corner of my eye as inconspicuously as I could, their conversation was adequately interesting and after about half an hour, they departed.  I wondered if they went upstairs to the fancy Met hotel to seal the deal.

But Curly must have been a time-waster, because not long after, Red returned to the bar with three men, all of whom looked much less palatable than Curly.  This time she was drunker and friendlier and much more generous with her affections, liberally doling out hugs and pecks, while receiving squeezes everywhere in return.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t witness how that situation went down because not long after, our table was ready and we had to be seated...

To Be Continued - but in the meantime, please have a look at these photos:

They had little stools beside some of the chairs for the ladies' purses - what a nice touch!

Other side of the main dining room

Fancy-looking ceiling decoration

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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