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Posted November 27, 2013 by samuek in Food Joints

Touro Brazilian Steakhouse & My Thoughts on Buffets


There are certain places I patron only for special occasions.  I do this because there is typically a large group and we need something for everyone.  This way you don’t have to listen to your absurdly picky aunt complain about the selection or suffer through a family friend who always publicly points out every negative detail possible.  You know what I mean, we all have them in our circles.

The places I am referring to are buffets.  Now, there are definitely levels of buffets, which to me now writing this sounds absurd.  There is however levels whether I like it or not.  Maybe not as scientifically accurate as Ron Burgundy’s Positionality but levels none the less.

At one end of the spectrum, I see the typical Chinese buffet and the AYCE sushi joint that all offer to effectively fill you up for a value with mediocre versions of some beloved dishes.

Then there are the Indian and hotel buffets that provide a tease of flavour and experience that their a la carte counterparts provide.

Each of these play a crucial part in our dining experiences but there are some I enjoy far above others.

These exist at the other end and are usually high end hotels looking for additional revenue and Brazilian Steakhouses.

Any of you addicted gamblers and Dragonfly obsessed dancers (yes that is me at times) know Brasa and Copacapana, the latter of which has music on their website…sigh.  These buffets hold court over the others in my mind.  Well, at least in my predominately carnivore mind.

In the GTA there was first Rodeo, then Copacapana and now Touro Churrasecera.

Touro is a grandiose Richmond Hill venue broken up into 7 unique sections including the Lounge Bar, a beautiful self serve wine dispensing Lounge, the dining room,  a Zen Garden outdoor patio, a traditional patio, the dining room and a glassed in private dining room.

Of the 7 I found the lounge to be the most interesting.  Highlighted with red accents, the lounge boasts self-serve wine dispensers which actually have a diverse selection of wines.  If you have not seen them, there are chest high horizontal dispensers that allow you to insert a pre-paid card, purchased at the bar to sample many wines in one night at portions as low as 1oz.  This works brilliantly for sampling high end wines before you buy like the wonderful 2010 Cakebread Cellars Touro boasts.

Try 2009 if you get a chance.

I imagine being out with a group of friends, in the lounge, sampling the whole list at an ounce each and using it to break up the night.

I have used the system in many hotels including my summer spot Grand Hyatt in Montreal however, though I love the system, the wine selection is usually horrendous. Not so at Touro, where the resident sommelier takes pride in his selection.

On a separate note, I would not expect a buffet to have any talent behind the bar but when served a Caipirinha, a killer Brazilian drink made with cachaca sugar and lime I was blown away.  Strong though balanced and straight pleasing, I could order 15 and tip my cabbie obscenely for getting me home.

I would say Touro, when it comes to buffet destinations, definitely tries to pull off a non-buffet experience and in most of their rooms, pulls this off.  Go to the lounge, sample some great wines, order a caipirinha and enjoy your time in Richmond Hill.




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