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Lunch at Thuet- not given option of ice water [moved from Ontario board]

Oh please, give it a rest. If you are offered flat or sparkling you have to realize they are talking bottled water. All you have to do is ask for tap water. The BIG clue is when it comes to the table IN A BOTTLE, you might reasonably assume that it is bottled water. At that point you can still ask to send it back and get tap water. Sheesh!

Dec 15, 2007
Ron Carver in Not About Food

Cluck Grunt and Low Review

If anyone thinks that you can go to any BBQ house and get meat right out of the smoker you must be smoking more than meat.

It takes HOURS AND HOURS to smoke meat. Even the best Southern bbq joints smoke the meats then hold them one way or another. When food takes 8 hours or more to cook it ain't gonna go from the fire to the plate!

Nov 20, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chatto seems to like Cluck, Grunt, and Low

I've read many negative comments about the meat not being smoked on site. If the food is good then who cares? Have you seen the size of some of these smokers? What about the smoke and smells? If I lived nearby I wouldn't appreciate the cooking smells 24 hours a day (and proper smoking requires many many hours). And if I owned the place I would have to think about paying $100 a square foot for prime retails space to house the smokers. Like I said, I only care about what's on my plate.

Aug 26, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chatto seems to like Cluck, Grunt, and Low

Chummy is fine. Jacob Richler gets right into the kitchen with some of his chef buddies, but I don't think he or Chatto or any food writer worth his salt would last very long if the public thought their reviews were tainted by favouritism. I think they speak volumes by what they don't review. They don't HAVE to review every place, and I've seen situations where someone who is "chummy" with a food writer opened a place that sucked. The reviewer only mentioned that it was open, but didn't do a review. Add to that places that don't get any review and I think that speaks for itself. Besides, I would rather read reviews of places I might like to go, not places to stay away from.

Aug 26, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Emma's Back Porch

Thanks to all who confirmed my terrible experience with the service. I was wondering if it was just me. The comments by everyone make perfect sense regarding the view, etc. It's the same principle that says never eat at the revolving (revolting) restaurant at a tourist attraction. But I still wonder why management, who must get complaints, NEVER DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE SERVICE??? The food (if you ever actually get what you order), is not bad at all for a roadhouse type place. Like me, a lot of people say they will never go back. Maybe it will become one of those places that, to quote Yogi Bera, "is so busy nobody goes there anymore."

Aug 05, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tako Sushi (Oakville)

Thanks for the tip. Might go tonight.

Aug 03, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tako Sushi (Oakville)

Despite the unfortunate name which conjures up images of uni on corn chips, my 3 visits have been most enjoyable.

Having long suffered sub-standard sushi joints in the 905, I was ready to resign myself to having to travel to Toronto for a decent raw fish fix. Sure, I go downtown quite a lot to dine, but I've always yearned for decent place to pop into when the craving hits.

Each subsequent visit reinforced the good impressions. A very friendly greeting and offer of a table, though I always sit at the bar. Excellent choice for tea is served - a green tea with roasted rice evident in flavor and presentation really hits the spot. Gen Mai Chat (sp?) is what they call it.

The efficiency and skill of the chef(s) belay the fears that such young men could have even the most rudimentary skills required, but the knife work and presentation, while certainly short of the talents of downtown masters more than double their ages), is none the less impressive. Most apparent is that they genuinely care about the food.

After answering some of my questions and taking my order they graciously noted that I know something about sushi, and began to turn it up a notch. First off they offered an off the menu upgrade from the basic Maguro (tuna) to Toro (fatty tuna belly). They explained that they did not have enough to list it as a special, so I felt quite honored. IT WAS ORGASMIC! How can you not LOVE something so fatty that it literally melts in your mouth, while at the same time pumping you full of those oh so good for you Omega-3 guys? This is the foi gras of sushi.

Item after item did not disappoint, and suggestions to try other items were all good. Most notable was a paper thin sliced whitefish (sorry, can't recall the name), that was as delicate to the eye as to the palate.

Deftly executed soups, crisp simple salads with just the right dressings all hit the high notes.

They seemed to enjoy making the food as much as I enjoyed eating it. As for the ground floor basics, the gari was good, and the chef proudly pointed out to me that they make their own wasabi, grinding it from fresh horseradish instead of reconstituting the green paste as is the defacto standard at almost every "Korean-Japanese" sushi joint on Bloor or Queen Street. Rice was cooked to proper doneness and flavoured perfectly with rice wine vinegar.

Compare this to the disgusting crap (carp?) served at a Trafagar Road establishment which fully embraced the ill conceived and short lived government mandate to freeze all raw fish for X hours at one temperature, or less time at absolute zero.

Aug 02, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Emma's Back Porch

Emma’s Back Porch – It’s all in the name.

After hearing about how great this place is supposed to be I finally checked it out on 2 occasions.

The place is a typical roadhouse style restaurant distinguished by a fabulous patio/deck right on Lake Ontario.

The menu is typical roadhouse fare, but does offer much more than your standard burgers and wings, and augmented by daily specials. Suffice it to say that the food is generally pretty good. Nothing spectacular, nothing in particular to want to go back for, (except for the view), but nicely done. HOWEVER, the service is absolutely horrendous!

They seem to be very busy and I can pretty much guarantee that this is NOT because of the food or service, but the location and patio.

On our first visit for lunch we were seated outside as per our request. The lady ordered a sandwich and I the pasta special. Our orders were delivered in reasonable time, but I got a salad instead of the pasta. The waitress took it back and returned about 10-15 minutes later with ANOTHER wrong order! I had to call her back because she just dumped it in front of me and left quickly. When I told her it was wrong again she rolled her eyes!! –like I was the problem?? When I said to her “How difficult can it be to get the daily special, she retorts back in a surly voice “ Well haven’t YOU ever made a mistake?” “Not the same one twice in a row.” I replied and she just stormed off. At this point the lady was done half her large sandwich, and offered the rest to me saying she was full anyway. It was a grilled chicken breast thing and was quite nice and tasty. My comments to management were received with indifference.

On the next visit the patio was full and we were asked to give a name and wait at the bar. The tables inside were almost all empty so I asked if we could sit while we waited. No, was the response. Nice eh? So we just walked over to an empty booth and seated ourselves. The waitress took our drink order and never returned. TWO MORE servers asked us for our order and we told them that we had already ordered. The third one asked who took our order. When we described who it was she said, “I’d better get it for you.” And she did. We finished the drinks just before they called us for the table outside.

The waitress took our drink order. I asked for a vodka/soda with extra lemon and lime wedges. When she finally brought it there was no fruit at all, not even the wedge of lime one normally gets without asking. I could see a pattern on this and the previous visit so we left, vowing never to return.

Aug 02, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cluck, Grunt and Low

I went there the same day they screwed up the opening time. Very annoying. I finally got to eat and here's my 2 cents.
The meats are all smoked by Mark Tuet (Tuet Cuisine) offsite at his restaurant. I guess that's why there's no smoke smell. On the menu he's apparently responsible for some wild turkey ice cream dessert. Sorry, not for me. I guess I shouldn't judge without trying, but just the thought of turkey flavored ice cream puts me off.

We ordered a couple of half rack entries (each comes with 2 sides).

The beef ribs were spectacular. The pork ribs were a touch dry, but very tasty. This is REAL BBQ as done in various southern US s. Most Canadians think the meat should fall off the bone. The BBQ cognoscenti refer to this as stew on bones. Boiling meat is considered sacrilege! Why boil off all the flavor and fat???

The potato salad was tasty but the pots were not cooked enough - still crunchy. At least the waitress noticed I didn't eat much and offered to get me something else. Then the chef guy came over to apologize and said it won't happen again. Gave us 10% off the whole bill. Nice. Cole Slaw was great but I thought a bit slippery.

I was ready to hate the Caesar salad because of the bacon bits or whatever meat it was in there (crispy like bacon), but it was spectacular - smoky flavor all through the entire salad.
But the best was tonight - PULLED PORK sandwich. For ages I've been drooling watching food shows as they showed how they make it then rip it apart. Never had it before and finally got some. Of course I have no reference for what it should be like, but the meat was smoky, sweet and lusciously decadent. LOVED IT!

Yeah, they need to get it together and I hope they do. Normally I would give a place one chance only - I mean, if you're open I should expect no excuses. But this isn't fine dining, and except for as noted it was very good, so I'll be back to see if it all comes together.

Jul 20, 2007
Ron Carver in Ontario (inc. Toronto)