Louix Louis: What's the vibe
One word: extravagance. If Louix Louis were a person, they would live for drama and be dripping in gold at all times. And I say let them.
Towering above Toronto on the 31st floor of the St. Regis Hotel, the glamorous dining room is all about more, more, more. Want whisky? Here's a two-story Grand Bar with floor-to-ceiling shelves glowing with 500 amber bottles. Why have flowers, when you can have king-sized chandeliers in the shape of upside-down roses. Artwork? Look up at the hand-painted 60-foot ceiling mural that spans the entire restaurant. Even the name Louix Louis is double.
When a gold-plated elevator opens up to a gold-and-silver-plated hallway that takes you to a rooftop restaurant covered in golden accents, you can assume this isn't the kind of place where you order chicken fingers.
This is where you get oysters on the half shell and pretend you made it big in crypto, where the warm table bread comes with truffle butter, or truffle honey, or truffle whatever. And the people-watching is second to none.
Louix Louis: What's on the menu
For the record, that sweet, gooey honey with tiny flakes of earthy, rich truffle was so satisfying I almost stuck my paws into the dish Winnie-the-Pooh-style. I much preferred that dip over the green apple gazpacho that accompanied the oysters (it was like spicy baby food). For me, oysters rarely need little more than a squeeze of lemon or a simple mignonette.
The appetizer that stood out the most was the mushroom velouté, which they made completely vegan without sacrificing any of the flavour you would typically get from a nice dollop of crème fraîche or heavy cream. The soup's delightful mix of wild mushrooms, leeks and truffle oil (quelle surprise) was pure stick-to-your-ribs comfort.
For my main, I had the branzino, pan-fried to the optimal level of crispiness, served with hearty wild rice, a creamy pea and mint purée, and preserved lemon for some added brightness. The dish was excellent, and (surprisingly) my favourite bite was the piece of salted crispy kale that disintegrated into my mouth.
There was no doubt we'd get the 13-layer chocolate King Cake for dessert. I don't eat dairy, and I was willing to risk it all for that cake. Its dark, glossy spine is 64 per cent Guayaquil Ganache, and hazelnut-chocolate buttercream separates each glorious layer. Our lovely server then proceeded to pour melted chocolate all over the giant for quite the spectacle.
Louix Louis: What else
The famed barman Fernand Petiot perfected the bloody mary cocktail at the St. Regis New York in the early 30s — and to this day, it remains the hotel's signature drink. I never thought I would cheat on my beloved caesar, but I couldn't resist. They have four types of bloody marys on their cocktail list, and the Hot Texas Mary with tequila and jalapeño was calling my name. And hot damn, was it ever good.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $250
325 Bay St., louixlouis.com