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SAHIL 3 took a short walk YOU, our dining critics

We chose Vero Trattoria, an Italian restaurant that has been a feature on Bayview for the past seven years. My wife and I have enjoyed eating there several times over the years. Under new ownership for the past two, Vero’s quality has been maintained.

Our other critics were Nick Basaliga, who made the move to Leaside a couple of years ago and  Barbara Carter, my wife. Barbara and I have been Leasiders since 1979. In July, 2015 we sold our house and moved into SAHIL on Bayview. Nick and his wife, Barbara, are our neighbours and new friends.

Being a cold January night, something well back from the door was selected. Vera’s warm wood décor has been in place since its inception. Ambiance is always important to me and Vero’s doesn’t disappoint.

Nick Basaliga, Barbara Carter and Barry Thomas at Vero Trattoria.

From left, Nick Basaliga, Barbara Carter and Barry Thomas. We give $100 to help pay for a meal for three Leasiders at any restaurant in our area, the M4G postal code, which includes Leaside, Bennington Heights and the Leaside Business Park (known also as the industrial area).

Each night Vero has a special, so being Tuesday it was 50 percent off selected Ontario wines. Since I was on antibiotics and not drinking, the others selected Bricklayers Merlot. Strange name, but generally approved of. Other nightly specials are Mondays for pizza and Wednesdays when kids 10 and under eat free.

We selected three appetizers, grilled calamari, bruschetta and the Vero Signature salad. We shared and the opinions were all very positive, including Nick’s: “The calamari is not at all rubbery”. The bruschetta was fresh, and unlike in some places it was nicely portioned, so it didn’t fill you up before the main course. Barbara’s Signature salad was a mixed bag of “field greens, grapes, tomato, bacon, candied nuts, toasted goat cheese and aged balsamic.” It was very good.

The night’s special was halibut. This is a great fish, but have you tried buying it? Wretchedly expensive, but this special was fairly priced, so Barbara ordered it. Nick went with the tiger shrimp and scallop capellini. I’m originally from the Maritimes, so I chose the jumbo diver scallops.

Like the appetizers, we tried to share, but it’s tough when you have something you really like.

The halibut was raved about, moist and tasty, with the cream sauce adding to it, as opposed to being overpowering. Barbara is not a fish fan, but she really liked it. A little bit of sharing gave us all a taste.

Nick’s tiger shrimp and scallop capellini fared a little less well. Although he enjoyed the dish, he felt the capellini might have been a bit dry and possibly could have used a little more garlic.

Barbara was very happy with her taste and didn’t share Nick’s comments.

Me? I was busily finishing off my main, the diver scallops, so that I hopefully wouldn’t have to share it.

What is a diver scallop? It is one that has been harvested by divers, as opposed to a machine. They are generally bigger and less gritty.

The scallops were very good, but the accompaniments were outstanding. There was crispy corn mash (a first for me), farm-gate vegetables, roasted pepper sauce and maple syrup. For a meat lover like me to say the whole plate could have been only the accompaniments is high praise.

Room for dessert? Of course, we had room. Walking from our new apartment at SAHIL, we felt a little less guilty about this extra indulgence.

There are four desserts on the menu, so we ordered three. Nick had the lemon tart, Barbara, the tiramisu and I the “decadent” chocolate duo. All were shared, but since I have an aversion to lemon desserts, I passed on the tart (more for the other two). Barbara very much liked her tiramisu and commented that it was not boozy. My chocolate duo was chocolatey in the extreme and nicely accented with a dollop of sweet cream. Nick liked the lemon tart, but he did find the crust to be a bit hard to cut.

Seeing as we had ordered three of the four desserts, our waiter brought us a complimentary fourth, the salted caramel cheesecake. Even though this was a baked cheesecake, it was very light and all of us made quick work of this delightful “gift”.

The meal was finished off with very good cappuccino, decaf, of course, as everyone wanted a good night’s sleep.

To sum up our evening was a winner. Although Barbara and I have enjoyed Vero Trattoria on several other occasions, we felt that this was the best experience we have had there and it cements itself as our “go to” Italian restaurant. The fact that it is a short walking distance from our SAHIL home, makes it doubly attractive.