I don’t want to provoke an argument, particularly not one of those regional disputes where someone tries to suggest one place is better than another. Toronto is a city full of neighbourhoods, ethnicities, communities, and nothing stands still because it’s a dynamic city. Not only is the skyline encumbered with construction cranes, testimony to the ongoing growth transforming the place, but every street has the capacity to confuse with new places. It’s impossible to keep up with them.
Tonight I’m writing about Gourmet Schnitzel House, the restaurant that’s earned a place in my heart and gulp maybe a place on my waistline as well. Tonight I overate, and while I started out thinking I’d pursue a path of moderation, I let my appetite get the better of me, sigh, again.
Maybe it’s because ancestral voices call to me, singing songs of my ancient home, Magyarország, aka Hungary. I don’t literally mean music, so much as the scents and sights on your plate that go with this breath-takingly simple menu. Everything they offer is executed brilliantly.
I can say that because I’ve tried them all.
Tonight I had their Cordon Bleu Schnitzel, other nights I’m having Goulash Soup, or Cabbage Rolls, or Chicken Paprikas. The schnitzel that’s made here is unlike any I’ve encountered in a Toronto Hungarian restaurant (and I’ve tried a great many). I’ve long been conflicted about Hungarian cuisine (someday we can discuss the mixed joys of Töpörtyű, something I never liked as a child). Most of the schnitzels I encountered around Toronto in Hungarian restaurants were a troubling experience, a celebration of the same fatty excess.
Imagine my joy to discover a new approach in the Gourmet Schnitzel House. These schnitzels are less fatty than any I’ve ever encountered because their process suspends them vertically, while they drip, losing most of their fat. They’re then served dry and crispy.
I was stunned at how beautifully the smoked ham and emmental mixed in my Schnitzel tonight, much subtler than other such Schnitzels I’ve encountered. I recall a dinner long ago at the Austrian House on Beverley (where I think the same one was called the “Franz Josef Schnitzel”), or Tarogato, or so many others, where I struggled to finish those greasy behemoths.
Madness! I didn’t slow down for a moment. I had dessert too. I passed up the ice cream that could have decorated my warm Apple Strudel, and insanely finished off my wife’s Palacsinta too. The coffee accompanying dessert is the best coffee I’ve had in weeks, muscular without any bitterness.
Such are the blessings of this little corner of Toronto, the Cliffside – Bluffs part of Scarborough. Gourmet Schnitzel House can be found on Kingston Rd a couple of blocks west of Midland, licensed. Here’s their website where you can view the menu, hours and contact information.