Fabbrica - misses it's Mark...

OK so I wanted to treat my mom on mommy's day to a nice dining experience and what better way to do that than to take her to Fabbrica, Mr. Top Chef Canada's newest restaurant at the shops at Don Mills.  She lives in the area already and so I thought we could spend the day browsing through the promenade of shops and then when hungry, we could feast at this new north of Bloor hot spot. 
Mark McEwan, the visionary behind this latest addition to his repertoire, has already a collection of notable restos such as the upscale North 44, Bymark and One, his namesake grocery store (McEwan) as well as a cookbook and is also a TV personality on the Food Network and the chief host of Top Chef Canada so there were high expectations for this dining experience.
The space was designed by Italian resto experts Giannone Petricone Associates who also were behind famed Italian spots like (Terroni, Osteria Ciceri e Tria).  
Fabbrica which means “factory” in Italian, incorporates elements of airiness and openness as well as industrial design in it with a rusticness to it.  Of course there are aspects that are truly Italian such as the curing room where perfect chachuterie hangs from the ceiling and pickled veggies line the walls and also a wood-burning oven to make Neapolitan-style pizza that are reminiscent of a Pizza Libretto or QMP. 
And while there is complimentary valet parking, be prepared to pay for this dining experience.
My mom and I started with something that we both had never had which was the Peperoni della nonna.  To be honest, I thought we were getting some form of pepperoni as in the cured meat and it was a bit of a surprise.  It was actually cured cherry peppers, anchovy, olives, capers, and bocconcini - it was no chacuterie from the curing room!  These peppers had a nice kick to it and it was a bit too punchy for my mom until the waitress brought bread over and it became the perfect companion together.
For entrees - my mother ordered the decadent fettuchini with crab and poached egg and the panna cotta which was beautifully presented  For a main that was $27, the portion was reasonable.  My mom enjoyed it however when I sampled it, it was very bland and tasteless, especially in contrast with the punchy and colourful appetizer we just had.  The panchetta added some flavour as did the yolk of the poached egg, but really there wasn't anything outstanding about this. The pasta was cooked just right, the creamy sauce wasn't too heavy, aside from the presentation, the dish wasn't too memorable.
I ordered one of my favourite pizzas which was the prochiutto and argula pizza.  I enjoyed it as the perfectly shaved prochiutto mixes really well with the crispiness and bitterness of the argula creating a good balance.  Is this pizza better than the one at Libretto or QMP... no but it's a good alternative especially when you're in the area and they also take reservations here!!

Our highlight of the meal was our dessert.  We ordered the tiramisu and the genius pastry chef Sabine Gradauer makes a deconstructed tiramisu ($9).  The presentation is innovative and the taste is just delicious.  My mom especially loved the crystallized caramel thin layers on top of the frothy whipped cream and the shot of "frappucino" alongside. It's a surprise as the shot glass has whipped cream on top and as you dig deeper you're surprised by the cold coffee granita . It's innovative and so much fun to eat!
Overall, I believe that this restaurant may have missed it's "Mark" as it's Mr. Top Chef himself's resto but I know it's early days so I may have to come back and experience it again (with a companion that can foot the bill perhaps!)
*** stars
49 Karl Fraser Road (Shops at Don Mills - @Lawerence)
Toronto, ON M3C 1P8
(416) 391-0307
Fabbrica on Urbanspoon

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