Gelato Disappointment at La Viziatta

La VizziataLocation: 2470 Yonge Street, Toronto
Website: None

La Viziatta might be the oddest gelato shop I’ve ever been to.  It’s inside a video game store.

I don’t mean that they’re neighbours, or that they sell gelato on one floor and games on another.  I mean that it’s a video game store with a gelato counter.

La Vizziata

But sure, why not?  I’m sure the costs to operate a business in a high-traffic spot like  Yonge and Eglinton are quite high.  So if you can split them with someone else, you may as well go for it.

And they have an interesting assortment of flavours, including the one that brought me here: peanut butter and jelly.

La Vizziata

Sadly, it’s not nearly as amazing as you’d hope.  The gelato isn’t particularly creamy, the peanut butter flavour is fairly anemic, and the “jelly” is actually an overly sweet syrup rather than jam or jelly.  None of the elements are particularly offensive — I ate it all, and if you put another cup in front of me I’d eat that too — but nothing is as tasty as it should be.

Of course, it’s hard not to compare it to the PB and J flavour at Bang Bang, which is almost unfair — that might just be one of the best scoops of ice cream that I’ve ever had.  It’s the exact opposite of what they’re serving here: it’s super rich, it has an intense peanut butter flavour, and the balance with the jam is absolutely perfect.

A Mixed Bag at Tabule

TabuleLocation: 2009 Yonge Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://tabule.ca/

I like Tabule a lot; it’s probably one of the better Middle Eastern restaurants in the city, though this particular visit wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring.

The starter was fantastic, at least — we got the sampler platter, which came with hummus, babaganuj, and tabule.  The creamy hummus had a nice garlicky bite without overwhelming, the tabule was fresh and zingy, and the babaganuj had a mild smokiness that really set it apart.  It comes with a basket of soft, toasty pita bread.  It’s great.

Tabule

My main wasn’t quite as good.  I got the eggplant, which comes served on mujaddara, a Middle Eastern rice dish with lentils and fried onions.

The eggplant was perfectly cooked; that particular vegetable can easily be mushy, but in this dish it had a satisfyingly firm texture and an amazing creaminess.  I think it might have been some of the most well-prepared eggplant I’ve ever had.

But while it and the rice were both quite tasty, the whole dish was one-note rich; the tahini sauce didn’t do much to contrast with the eggplant and the rice.  Something with some sweetness or acidity would have really rounded things out — as delicious as it was, I was getting tired of eating it by the end of the plate.

Tabule

I had the kunafa for dessert, which was a more unambiguous failure.  I actually had this on a previous visit, and that time it had a really great balance of creaminess and crispiness, without being overly sweet.  This time?  Not so much.

But to quote LeVar Burton: you don’t have to take my word for it.  Here’s a side-by-side of the the one I just had, and the one I was served on my last visit.

Tabule

Yikes.  And it was as bad as it looked — it was absolute mush all the way through, with an unpleasantly intense, throat-burning sweetness.