Sherman's Food Adventures: Riley's Fish & Steak

Riley's Fish & Steak

The Glowbal Group is often a very easy target for foodies and restaurant critics.  Often sporting the ritziest decor and a place to see or be seen, the food almost appears to be secondary.  To be fair, I've had some good meals at Glowbal Group restaurants and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I personally feel that many people consider it an embarrassment to say such a thing.  I will agree that for the price, there are many other choices in the city to choose from, so I do not deny that is the case when we talk about Glowbal, Coast, Black+Blue, Italian Kitchen and Trattoria.  I won't comment on Five Sails, as I've not been there since they took it over.  Recently, their newest venture, Riley's Fish & Steak, has earned a Michelin-Recommendation.  I can just see some people rolling their eyes right now.  However, I would like to judge this for myself and decided it would be the place where I would celebrate my birthday.

Originally, I had visions of a seafood tower in my mind, but ultimately ordered a selection of appies to get a better sense of the menu.  One of their recommendations is the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and I would have to say it was quite good.  The thinly-sliced beef was buttery and soft while topped with smoked tomato jam, aioli, parmigiano reggiano, onion rings and chimichurri toast.  There was no shortage of seasoning for this dish due to the saltiness of the cheese and creaminess of the aioli.  The smoked tomato jam was something a bit different and although I was concerned about it being too strong, there was just enough of it to provide some sweet tanginess.

Featuring the same crispy onion rings, the Crab Louie sported a considerable amount of lump crab meat, baby gem lettuce, avocado, soft poached egg and tomatoes in a 1000 island dressing.  I also thought this was pretty solid where the lettuce was fresh and crisp.  There was just enough dressing coating each leaf where there was just the slightest hint of heat in the tangy sweet dressing.  As mentioned, there was enough fluffy crab for the entire salad.

Initially, I was not aware how big Riley's Brioche would be, so we didn't end up finishing it.  Now it wasn't because we didn't like it.  Rather, it was fantastic with a crunchy exterior giving way to a soft and buttery interior.  Even without touching the aromatic lobster oil and or whipped butter with smoked maldon salt, the brioche was super tasty on its own.  The butteriness combined with the garlic and gruyère made it aromatic with enough saltiness on its own.

We also got one of their Classic Steamers with half mussels and half clams (1.5lbs in total).  With the classic broth, it consisted of white wine, garlic, herbs and butter.  It was plenty flavourful (bordering on salty) with properly cooked-down wine.  This great for dipping with the chimichurri bread.  Both the mussels and clams were buttery and plump while not overcooked.  We did find 2 unopened clams though.

Other than the carpaccio, the other highlight with the appies was the Lumb Crab Cake with black pepper mayonnaise.  Often, I am rather dismayed with crab cakes with all forms of filler.  Not only does it reduce the amount of crab in the cake, the crab is overwhelmed by the ingredients.  Not here though.  This was all crab with a panko coating on the top and bottom.  Hence, it was fluffy and texturally consistent.  Also, we could really get the crab flavour and essence from the cake.  It was also nicely browned on both sides giving it a crispy nuttiness.

Moving along, our next appie was the Smoked Salmon & Caviar Potato Rosti with egg, chives and shallot crème fraîche.  I thought the rosti was a little greasy, even though I know it is not supposed to be a health food.  The exterior was definitely crispy and well-browned.  On top, the smoked salmon was appealing colour and buttery in texture.  The small dollops of sevruga caviar were a real briny treat (wish there was more, but I understand since it is expensive).

Last appie was the Seafood Chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. I quite enjoyed this as the viscosity of the chowder was just right.  Definitely rich and thick enough while still able to be drinkable.  There was obvious hit of smoked bacon to go with the slight seafoodiness of the broth.  I could get the natural sweetness of the seafood and onions while the salt might've been a bit too aggressive.  Overall, it was a good chowder.

Onto the mains, we ended up with 3 cuts of steak including the 8oz Prime Beef Tenderloin ($64.00), 16oz Prime Beef Ribeye ($98.00) and 14oz Prime Beef Striploin ($64.00).  Now the reason I put the prices in parentheses is our favourite was not the most expensive.  We asked them all to be prepared medium-rare and they were prepared as such.  The most buttery tender was actually the striploin.  It was packed with flavour and required little chewing.  Nice crust on the outside and well-salted.  Second favourite was the ribeye because it was so delicious from all of the fat.  Lastly, the tenderloin was good and also well-seasoned, but by virtue of being the leanest, it had the least beefy flavour.  It was tender though.

Viv decided on the Sablefish marinated in miso maple. With all of their seafood entrees, they include a potato risotto, parsley puree and confit cherry tomatoes.  Not mentioned, but included on the plate was broccolini and arugula salad.  Although sablefish is very forgiving when it comes to preparation, this one was done perfectly.  It was flaky and buttery with a nice smoky and caramelized exterior.  The marinade had penetrated the entire piece of fish.

My daughter ordered her usual with the Chinook Salmon Steak.  Also known as King Salmon, this was super buttery and soft.  Not only was it cooked beautifully, it was super fresh with a clean taste.  As you can see in the picture, the skin was seared until it was crispy.  It was also properly seasoned.  As with Viv's dish, the same accompaniments were on the plate. Risotto featured cooked-through, yet still firm cubes of potato.  It was plenty creamy.  Broccolini was vibrant and crunchy.

My dad ended up with the Jumbo Scallops because I encouraged him not to order the same dish as my daughter...  Turned out to be a good idea because the 6 scallops were beautifully seared while still being a bit rare in the middle.  The result was tender buttery scallops that were well-seasoned and nicely caramelized.  Again, the plate as completed with the same accompaniments as well as some charred lemon.

Since our steaks needed some sides, we got 3 of them including Truffle Fries, Creamed Spinach and Crispy Brussels Sprouts.  I thought the fries were pretty typical, yet quite crispy with only the slightest hint of truffle oil.  It came with some tasty black pepper mayo.  The creamed spinach was sinfully prepared with Boursin, hence it was both creamy and flavourful.  Some feta on top made it even cheesier.  A Glowbal classic, the Brussels sprouts were indeed crispy and tender.  There was plenty of parm on top for a salty nuttiness while the side of chipotle mayo added spice.

Since I had a birthday cake sitting at home, we only ordered 2 for the table to share.  Not surprisingly, the kids didn't really share the Devil's Marquis featuring devil's food cake, caramel chocolate ganache, crispy chocolate crunch, dark chocolate crème and bittersweet chocolate mousse.  This was truly decadent and rich with so many layers of chocolate.  I was able to try this and there was a mix of textures and different sweetness of chocolate.

For myself, I'm always partial to fruity desserts and especially tangy ones.  Therefore, I only had eyes for the Lemon Tart with torched Italian meringue, raspberry cream, candied lemon zest and berries.  I really liked this as the crust was firm and crunchy.  Inside, the lemon curd was creamy and tangy while the lemon zest added a nice sweet bitterness.  I was a bit surprised at this because it was one of the better lemon tarts I've had lately.  In fact, the whole meal was unexpected because we uniformly thought it was good.  Yes, I'm going on record on say that dinner we had at Riley's was on point.  Proteins were prepared properly and the quality of the ingredients was plain to see.  You will be paying a pretty penny for it though, yet if you want to be spendy, it is definitely an option for your dollar (or many many dollars).

The Good:
- Proteins were prepared properly
- Overall, solid food
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- One of the most expensive restaurants in the city, even though it was good, lots of choices to be had at this price point
- Too bad the parking lot below (which is expensive as well) is not attached to the restaurant


Search this Site