“Pink Sky at night, sailors delight,” with a promise of fair weather in the morning.
Pink Sky, the restaurant, is an absolute delight on our first Saturday night after lock-down. It’s been some time since we have seen so many happy faces in one room. The sense of excitement is palpable. Even the servers are bubbly as they enthusiastically guide us through the menu. The large room itself is designed in several sections which lends itself to a social and cozier ambience. We’re seated in the Bar area, at what I call the Frank Sinatra table: you can see the door; there are no other tables around you; you can watch the bartender mix your drink; and the booth itself is spacious. Our seat offers the best people-watching in the place.
Sara Waxman: Like most folks who have been eating their own cooking for the past few years, in a restaurant I want something different. The Daily Catch Menu and the Dinner menu are inspirational. A few PEI oysters, with a splash of flavour from a trio of seasonings, sets the tone for our dinner from the seas.
Adam Waxman: Out of the traffic and into a booth. The service here is so attentive with conviviality and enthusiasm. I forgot how much I enjoy going out. Everyone seems so happy to be dining here. The kitchen appears as a theatre. Red drapes and lighting evoke a proscenium framing a stage of seafood and an ensemble of chefs.
SW: The kitchen smokes Ontario white fish, chops and mixes it with sour cream, chopped chives, lemon, cucumber, capers and adds a dill pickle to the plate. All these strong accoutrements almost overpower the taste of the delicate fish. Sophisticated toasted baguette with a drizzle of olive oil is the pain du jour, and erases all my thoughts of a good poppy seed bagel.
AW: I would not have thought to order the smoked white fish, but it was recommended, and I’m happy we obliged. The subtle smoke and the delicate meaty texture make me want to just scoop it all up. This is not my Bubbie’s white fish. I’m looking at the wine list. These are each versatile enough whites that I would enjoy pairing any (or all) of them with this dish. And the bread! Toasted, crunchy and buttered, ah, to hell with my diet, I need another order of these baguettes. I’m really enjoying this white fish and baguette together.
The Ceviche packs a citric punch. It’s a refreshing medley of textures from the cool pop-in-your-mouth scallops to the mint and coriander, the vibrant mango and kick of pepper. It’s paired with chili lime chips. While I could snack on these chips all day, I do feel they are too overpowering to pair with this ceviche. The two are not complimentary, but rather are in competition with each other.
SW: An interlude with a glass of sparkling rose is a palate refresher while we negotiate the main courses. Our perky server describes each dish in luxurious detail. Shall we try the Grilled Littleneck Clams? Or how about going all-out-decadent with Truffle Lobster Mac and Cheese. We have chosen well, we say, as we admire the Cioppino, brought straight from the oven to table in its own baking dish.
AW: This is a hearty, robust Cioppino. Lots of ingredients, lots of flavour, chock full of plump Argentine shrimp, mussels, clams, white fish, and more of that toasted baguette that I love. It’s generously portioned and I really enjoy a dish like this, in which each new bite reveals a different ingredient, a different note. I feel like the chef enjoys this dish too. It’s very satisfying, and particularly warming on a cold night. However, I would have preferred a lighter hand with the salt, because that salt-acid balance with the tomato broth is too much for me.
SW: I am intrigued by the selection of whole fish which includes some species rarely seen hereabouts, so I meander through the long room to the kitchen. Almost a dozen cooks are organized at their own stations. You won’t find the raw bar next to the steak and burger grill, or near the stoves where our seafood is cooked. On the large ice counter where the fish and seafood await the canny hands of the chef, I find a whole New Zealand Madai, a medium size firm white fish, and am eager to enjoy it. It comes grilled simply with lemon and olive oil, what I call the “less is more” method. Salsa Verde brings out the unique subtle flavour of the fish.
AW: I agree. I quite enjoy a fish that has been carefully charcoal grilled versus one that has been broiled or baked. It is so tender, and has that subtle charcoal essence that just kicks it up a notch and begs for a wine pairing. The salsa verde adds a freshly cut garden quality that is very clean, very tasty.
SW: Convincing myself that I have eaten a light meal, I won’t say goodnight before dessert, and happily order a slice of Ginger Cake, topped with poached pear and Mascarpone Chantilly. Our server deftly pours toffee sauce on the plate, and I begin to appreciate the carefully layered flavours here.
AW: I don’t need to be strong-armed to try the Chocolate Mousse. Decadent chocolate olive oil cake is rich, velvety, and apparently, I have to share it. The toasted almond ice cream is a luscious contrast that, for our lasts bites, together with the cake, puts a mellifluous exclamation on a lovely evening.
SW: Wait, what’s this. Something is happening here. Pink Sky is changing its personality. The lights are dimming, the music track is changing and getting louder, and the tables are “turning.”
AW: There’s a great vibe here, and while we may be wrapping up, for those filing in now, the night has just begun.
Pink Sky, 480 King St West, Toronto, 647-660-0999
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Publisher of DINE and Destinations magazine.