In spite of the restaurant’s Italian name and it’s food voice the speaks full blown Italian, Chef Rob Gentile cooks more “Canadian” than most chefs in the nation. In fact, Buca is one of the finest examples anywhere in Canada of how our restaurants have evolved. He, his Buca team led by Executive Chef, Andrew DeCosta-Clark and Chef de Cuisine Jorge Fiestas; Bar Buca’s Francis Bermejo and Buca Yorkville’s Kris Lee are all culinary nationalists and share his personalized suppliers list is a who’s who of Canadian farmers/foragers/fishers.
Rob and I first met out in the country near Stratford, Ontario one very cold winter’s day when he was taking his staff on a ‘road tour’ to see where their products come from. He buys his pork from Church Hill Farm and, in his honour, the owners Max and Vicki Lass had a nose to tail feast. It was extraordinary.
Rob is an avid a supporter of sustainable foraging and you’ll often discover products like myrica gale, perfumed Arctic roses, tiny green alder cones and honey from the hives they’ve hung along the St. Lawrence River on his menus. His creations simply pop with flavour and he is a master of textures!
Buca menus change every day. One morning he may be picking up his first harvest of a particularly elusive Italian herb he’s had grown in his private Cookstown garden. On another day he’ll have sourced wild hare from Quebec to braise and combine with foie gras to stuff into hand made agnolotti dal plin (you can bet that flour comes from the Prairies) that are garnished with preserved immature elderberries and swirled with thick, balsamic-like apple mosto cotta from the Eastern Townships.
If there was one dish that stands out is the spectacular carpaccio piemontese made from the exceedingly rare Piedmontese cattle raised on a farm in northwest of Toronto. It’s garnished with house-made caciotta fresca, a fresh cow’s milk cheese that melts into the dish, some crisp cinnamon cap mushrooms that lend a great textural contrast, bits of fermented garlic and Balconville apple vinegar. Brilliant!
Buca antipasti is house cured salumi, assorted local and imported cheese and seasonal preserves. Bigoli is made from hand-cranked duck egg pasta with duck ragu, venetian spices, the richness of mascarpone and the taste of summer basil.
The artistry continues with desserts among which is a seriously rum-soaked, light-as-air baba that’s served with lavender flower infused whipped cream and freshly preserved Okanagan cherries. This beautiful cake just quivered it was so delicate.
Contact Buca at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.
Contactez Buca directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre Journée des terroirs réservation.
Buca Osteria & Enoteca
604 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1M6