Two of my friends and I share our birthdays in October with only a day in between one another. This has led to our yearly celebration of our aptly named “October 1-3-5 birthday” festivities. This was the first time in two years that all of us were reunited in the same city since Holly was teaching in Korea for the last two years. We wanted to celebrate in style at a downtown restaurant followed by attending Nuit Blanche. For those of you that don’t know what it is, NB is a 12-hour event hosted by the city of Toronto where art pieces are shown at various areas of the downtown core.
For dinner, we reserved a table for 15-20 of our friends at Reds Wine Tavern. It is a chic and classy restaurant located on Adelaide Street West. The dim lighting of the restaurant gives it a soft, romantic atmosphere and a place where you can enjoy a fine glass of wine with some nice food. The place certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of the venue as it overlooked Adelaide street and our table was close to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows with some bottles of wine for decor on the side.
We all chose a drink and unfortunately, I regret not choosing a wine since it is their namesake. Instead, I chose a cocktail I’ve never heard of before called the “Maple Bacon Bourbon Manhattan”. I’m not a huge fan of bourbon, but I figured I love trying out new and unique creations, so why not? The bourbon soaked cherries came on a little stick and they actually tasted really nice. The drink itself was mediocre. I didn’t taste too much of the maple bacon and it felt a little watered down even if on the whole it was a strong drink. Overall, I say at $10.50 a pop, this drink was overpriced.
My friends chose a Ginger Schnapps, dirty martini, and a strawberry sangria that I took a sip of. All of them were pretty good as far as I remembered. All of their wine choices are $9 and up, so drinks are kind of pricey at this tavern. Compared to when I had a $5 beer at the Town Crier Pub last week, you’d need to save up more pennies in order to get your buzz on here.
Holly and I decided to choose two appetizers and a main to share. This way, us intense foodies would get maximum exposure to different varieties of food and try more than one dish (and photograph and blog on the dishes! Not that that is the ultimate goal of course ).
The first appetizer that we shared was “Lobster Guacamole”. It sounded extremely good, especially since we were already drooling about it when we first looked at the menu online. However, our high expectations fell short when it turned out that the lobster guac wasn’t what we thought it would be. I expected that the appetizer would be extremely hot, creamy, with large pieces of lobster embedded into the guac. Now that I think about it, guacumole is usually served cold, but it just didn’t fit my expectations. The chips were very crunchy, but I don’t think the whole app tied in together very well. The lobster pieces were fresh at least.
Wow! I just looked at the price of the Lobster Guac again and omg, $17.95. That is so expensive! Totally not worth it. And the description says that the crisp tortillas would be warm. They so weren’t! The whole dish was cold!
The second appetizer that we shared was the Caramelized Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin. This app was so-so. Not extremely tasty, but passable. The tomatoes in the dish were extremely hot; so hot that when I placed one on the crostini that it burned my mouth and I had to spit it out immediately (I hope no one at the party saw this lol). Compared to the first appetizer, this one was the peak of summer and the lobster guac was the arctic. The goat cheese was good though, but not creamy enough. (Notice how I love creamy dips?) The crostini was extremely crunchy and so-so. The presentation of the app was cute though.
We shared a portion of ”BLT Mussels” which turned out to be a huge pot full of them! I was impressed how the black pot seemed bottomless. They also served a giant pretzel beside it that was very flavourful. The whole BLT/bacon flavour was a little hard to discern, but I did enjoy this dish due to the sheer number of mussels. Sometimes restaurants will cheap out and give you minimal shells and even several that are empty, but this portion was extremely generous.
One of our friends ordered the “Buttermilk Fried Chicken” that was pretty good. She gave me a piece since the dish was too large for her to finish alone. The chicken meat was very dense and nicely fried. It wasn’t too salty.
Lastly, what is a birthday dinner celebration without cake? The three of us birthday gals each ordered their “Flourless Chocolate Cake”. Despite practically vowing in my previous post at the Rosedale Diner that I would never order another flourless cake due to the flourless cakes I tried at the Rosedale Diner and Richmond Station, I read an online review that Reds serves an impeccably moist flourless cake.
So we took the plunge and ordered it. Wow, best decision ever! This dessert redeemed the whole night as the cake was perfectly chocolaty, moist, and so decadent! It was so rich that by the time I forked my way through the middle, it was feeling very full. However, after resting for half a minute and taking another bite, it was just so delicious. The mousse on the top tasted like cold ice cream and the wafer was crunchy and thin. I highly recommend this dish if that’s all you order at Reds.
I spent $51 in total that night for my 3 shareables, dessert, and drink. (Tip was a mandatory 18% tacked on to the bill since we were a big group.) The dessert was definitely worth it and I loved trying out the unique and delicious-sounding apps. I was left a little disappointed on the whole with the restaurant, though. The service was not a problem, it was quite good. One thing that I do have to note is that, since they knew we were a party celebrating 3 birthdays, it would have been really nice if they showed some sort of appreciation for us by giving us free dessert, or at least a candle on the top of the cakes that we ordered ourselves. It’s not everyday that you have 3 beeeaaautiful ladies celebrating at the same time together. When we celebrated our 1-3-5 birthday at Gabby’s, I’ll always remember how they gave us complimentary birthday cake slices to honour our birthdays. Maybe I’m asking too much, but it sure would have been a nice touch.
The rest of the night was spent walking around downtown and viewing the art for Nuit Blanche. I’ve attended this all-night celebration almost every year since it began 6 years ago. Here’s a quick photo collage of what we saw that night.
I’m super grateful for the friendship that we’ve shared from the day we met at frosh in university over 6 years ago. I am truly thankful for the food that we had even despite my pickiness haha. It was fun to walk around and see art downtown as well. Can’t wait for next year’s 1-3-5!
Check out Holly‘s review of the night!