On a warm summer night in August, a small group of 20 somethings gather in Poutini’s, cooling off with mason jarred sangrias - a sweet but only temporary relief from the sweltering heat. What's brought these 12 people together is a new monthly dinner party called TBD.
Daniel Gutter and Sukko Stach pace feverishly back and forth on the second floor rooftop, making sure every last detail is in place. It’s only their second dinner, but the pair who both work in the restaurant business, have this down. “We want to provide Torontonians with an intimate, casual, always changing and exceptional dining experience. We’re not the only ones in the city doing it, but that’s ok because there’s plenty of room for all of us” Daniel says, and he's right. Toronto has seen its fair share of pop ups, Charlie’s Burgers for one, but what’s different about TBD, are the two young, ambitious and creative guys driving it.
Sukko says where they actually got the idea for TBD may surprise you - “we read about the trend of culinary students in Paris cooking in their apartments as practice, and we asked ourselves if we could do that in Toronto. Since we aren’t chefs, our first challenge was, who would cook for us? Given that we had no money, we thought to approach sous-chefs that would do it for self promotion, and the opportunity to showcase themselves.” And so far it’s worked. Dinner one saw Grace’s Dustin Gallagher serve up seven courses, while back at dinner two, the chefs at Poutini’s are putting out a hearty five. As people take their seats around the wooden picnic table, and introduce themselves to one another, Dan and Sukko pour distilled water from old liquour bottles, just one of the many small details that don't go unnoticed. There are the paper fans on the table, the mismatched cutlery, the floral plates, and the secondhand champagne flutes still engraved with the previous owners names.
Each course proved more impressive than the next. Dinner started with what else, poutine, topped with tender confit pork shoulder, Poutini's gravy, curds and fried sage. The plates were licked clean. Next was a sweetbread salad. The sweetbreads were grilled on the bbq and platted beside heirloom tomatoes, smoked bread, arugula and chimichurri. Then came the Rowe Farms duck duo, which included a confit leg, seared breast, blistered peas and Ontario corn. Fourth course, beer sorbet with pineapple juice and hop sugar. And dessert, Kate's pudding chomeur, with maple brown sugar and some very spicy vanilla cayenne ice cream. Each dish was paired with a wine. The beer sorbet came with a Steam Whistle and dessert came with a sparkling apple cider. It's no surprise by the end of the mammoth meal all the guests were stuffed and there may have also been some reports of meat sweats.
TBD dinner two came in at $75 per person, the reason it drew a younger foodie crowd. The other nights have been more expensive. The boys indicate that's the plan – some will be more high end than others. It’s all to be determined. To sign up for their monthly email go to www.tbdtoronto.com