Tastebuds

A food blog from everywhere!

Toronto: Summerlicious at Pan on the Danforth

516 Danforth Ave
416-466-8158

I’m back in Toronto for the summer! Just a week after getting off the plane I met up with a few friends and got things rolling by heading to Pan on the Danforth for a taste of their Summerlicious menu.

Pan is a medium-sized restaurant on the Danforth, between Pape and Chester. The storefront isn’t too prominent and coupled with the dark design, it can be easy to miss. The ambience inside the restaurant was pretty dim and relaxed, sort of bar-like. We arrived at noon on a weekday, so there weren’t a lot of people.

Summerlicious menus across the city consist of an appetizer, an entree, and dessert, all for $15. Compared to other participating restaurants, Pan’s Summerlicious menu actually had quite a lot more choices. There were four different apps, five (or six, I forget) entrees, and two desserts to choose from.

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Fresh pita!

After ordering, they brought out a plate of freshly-made pita breads brushed with olive oil for us. Depending on the thickness of the flatbread, their texture ranged from either crispy and crunchy to soft and pillowy. Apart from the olive oil, they didn’t have much in terms of flavour, but the freshness and interesting textures make up for that.

Our appetizers promptly arrived. There was the “Trilogy of Spreads,” which included taramosalata, Humus, and tirokafteri. One of them, the white dip, was yogurt-based and thus rather sour. My favourite was the pinkish, which contained salmon and had a delicate salmony flavour. All three dips went great with the hot pita.

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Dolmades

The dolmades (“Stuffed grape vine leaves with chopped beef and scented rice”) served with tzatiki were pretty good. The rice was nicely flavoured with herbs and the sour tzatiki complemented it quite well. My only complaint was that the rice was rather dry, but perhaps that was what the sauce was for.

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Kolokithokeftedes

ALthough I don’t usually like fried foods, I did make an exception for Pan’s kolokithokeftedes(“Zucchini croquettes with feta, kefalograviera cheese and fresh herbs, served with tzatziki”). These were served freshly fried, with a crunchy exterior and soft interior. The vegetables were well-seasoned as well. Definitely a winner.

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Mussels

My mussels marinara, however, didn’t turn out too well. The broth was rather weak in flavour and the mussels were small and didn’t taste too fresh either.

Following a reasonable wait after clearing our appetizers, the entrees arrived.

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Exohiko, chicken in phyllo

Exohiko (“Cured chicken with onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, and cream cheese, slowly cooked to develop meltingly tender flavour, wrapped in phyllo pastry, served with mixed greens”): I only had a bite of the chicken, and the only thing I can say is that it certainly wasn’t free-range chicken. My friend who ordered this dish, however, did enjoy it, complimenting it for its rich flavour (the meat was slathered in a white sauce) and texture contrast between the crispy phyllo at the top and the spongy sauce-saturated phyllo at the bottom of the dish.

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Pork Chop

Syracusae Smoked Pork Chop (“Finished with an orange glaze sauce, topped with Sweet zucchini relish, served over feta scalloped Potatoes”): I don’t like pork much, but this specimen did have pretty good porky-flavour. It wasn’t covered with herbs/spices, allowing the “porkiness” of the meat to shine through. The side veggies were good too.

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Red Snapper Fillet

Red Snapper(“Pan seared in a white wine, and lemon dill sauce, served with vegetables and new mini potatoes”): The white wine sauce was very strong, and the fish didn’t taste all that fresh (in fact, when the table next to us tried to order the same dish, they were informed that the restaurant had ran out of red snapper. No wonder). Maybe it’s just my Asian mineset at work here, but I think white fishes should always be served supper fresh and just cooked so that the flesh is still springy, not soft and floury like factory chicken.

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Moussaka (not super photogenic, unfortunately)

Vegetable Moussaka (“Casserole of zucchini, eggplant, spinach, sweet peppers and potato, topped with béchamel served with baby green”): This vegetable pie had great flavour but not much in terms of contrast. It was rich from the cheesy topping and creamy from the eggplants, but all its components were soft and pliable, making this otherwise exciting dish texturally dull. The salad at the side, however, did have crispy greens tossed in a nice, simple vinagrette.

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Cake!

After our mains we were already super full, as the servings were quite big, but somehow we found room for dessert. I LOVED the ravani (“A traditional Greek cake with honey syrup and sprinkle almonds”), which was rich and somewhat dense but still crumbly. The only part that I didn’t like was that it was drizzled with honey, making it a bit too sweet for my tastes.

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Loukoumades

The loukamades, unfortunately, I found WAAYY too sweet (I actually nearly choked on the honey on my first bite). The texture was slightly chewey and sticky from the honey drizzled atop. I guess if you can take the sweetness, this dessert can be pretty satisfying, but after a year living with mildly-sweet desserts in China it was too much for me. I must thank my awesome friend for trading her almond cake with the loukamades that I’d ordered.

So, $15 for three courses; was it worth it? Definitely. The portions were pretty big and the food was very decent, although there were a few misses (but perhaps some were due to personal preference than anything else). And plus the service was very good as well, so if you’re ever in the area, check this place out.

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July 23, 2010 - Posted by | Greek, Restaurants, Toronto

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