For months now I’ve been wanting to try Cinq 01, a new-ish Toufik Sarwa hot-spot restaurant on College St. Well, recently on a rainy Saturday night, I finally got a chance to. From the minute you walk in, the ambiance of the restaurant envelops you into a stylish, yet cozy cocoon of white leather couches, wooden tables, and dimmed lights. Perfect place for a date, I thought. But don’t do it spontaneously, like we did, or you might not get a table, as this still fairly new restaurant books up in advance, especially on the weekends. Thankfully, our ever accomodating host Toufik Sarwa was on hand to get us a table before the 9pm rush – wasn’t a big deal for us, but if you’d like to lounge for a while – reserving a table is highly recommended.
While waiting for our food, I scanned Cinq 01’s well-heeled clientele – mostly twenty-thirty-somethings with a good sense of style, hence don’t come wearing flip flops or Uggs, or you might feel slightly out of place. Service was quick and efficient, but not very friendly – while the hostess and the owner were nice and attentive, our server seemed a bit rushed or distracted. Oh well, I don’t like being bothered at dinner anyway.
On to the food. Le boyfriend’s choice for the night was as simple as it gets – Steak and Frites ($29), which came with a side of greens. I really liked the tender strips of meat, and the crispiness of fries, but he wasn’t wowed. I particularly enjoyed the bitterness of the mixed greens, which complimented the meat quite well. For my meal, I went with Croque Monsieur ($15), which, to me, tasted more like a grilled cheese sandwich. I do realize that Croque Monsieur is a sort of a grilled cheese and ham sandwich, but the ones I’ve tried before (in Paris and in Toronto) usually came on a different type of bread – less Wonder, more Sourdough. The word “croquer” in French, means to crunch, and the bread on my Cinq 01 Monsieur wasn’t all that crunchy. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it! The gruyère cheese was plentiful and deeelicious, and the salad dressing had just the right amount of tartness to balance out my greasy sandwich.
I do wish we had some time to try their deserts, as I’ve heard that they are actually the best part of the experience. But I suppose, that gives me a reason to come back. All in all, we had a good time at Cinq 01, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the staff does their best to make you feel welcome. I can’t judge the food much, as we only had time to try two dishes this time around, but we both walked away satisfied and not at all disappointed with our dinner. If you are in the College and Bathurst area, Cinq 01 is a stylish place to see and be seen.