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Beer Bistro - tips and suggestions please

You are paying pint prices for volumes well less than a pint. DeKoenink is something like $5 for 250ml. Pretty steep in my book.

Oct 04, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Beer Bistro - tips and suggestions please

Embee, I absolutely agree. They have definitely set themselves up that way. I just don't fall for the hype.

Oct 02, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto Star Review of One in Hazelton Hotel

Good grief. I think being an insider clouds your perception of what us outsiders are looking for.

Pataki basically echoed the review by the Chow's own Ren Horace. Only Ren's was better written.

Oct 02, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Beer Bistro - tips and suggestions please

When it comes to beer joints, I stick with the general rule that you're better off not going for the fancy fare. Stick to some fries (fabulous at the BB) and a burger or tartare... the more bistro like things. The minute a beer place mentions truffles, I take that as a flashing beacon saying "DO NOT ORDER", no matter how drunk I am.

While I have had dinner there and enjoyed it, it certainly isn't top of my list to go out for a fine meal. It's the place I go if I'm hanging with the guys, drinking beer, needing some food before going to a Leaf game or getting loaded (*please drink responsibly - do not drink and drive - sponsored by MADD!) before hitting other activities.

Gnocchi, fava beans, salad. No way Hose-Ay!

Surprised they weren't better on the beer advice though. Someone should give that waiter a spank.

Oct 02, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Beer Bistro - tips and suggestions please

I'm a big fan of the BB. It is a great place to kick back for a couple pints or settle in for the night to see how many of the offerings you can get in on one night. Overall I tend to end up there at least 2 or 3 times a month with various sets of friends.

Upfront, the beer is on the more expensive side, but the selection is fantastic. So if selection and novelty is what you're looking for, this is the place for you.

The food is also pretty good. Everything from small appetizers to more inexpensive fare, all the way up to the fancy stuff. I've enjoyed most of it.....especially the steak tartare, the burger and the Pulled Pork Sandwich. They do switch up the menus, so not sure if it is there now.

Service can be awesome to inattentive, depending on how packed the place can be, which usually happens with the after work suit crowd, not that that should deter you as things are pretty fluid and you can grab a table or spot at the bar relatively quickly.

Good luck, have fun.

Oct 01, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dinner after Cirque du Soleil...Port Lands on Cherry Street

A few choices if Leslieville is your destination....Tomi Kro, I always enjoy a visit there. Weezies is a pretty great spot, nice and casual, decent wine and decent prices. There is a new Italian spot, right beside Kubo Radio...can't recall the name, but it's pretty decent as well. Hmmm..beyond that, it's Friday night and my brain has gone blank.

Sep 14, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Lalot Closed?

I never really had an issue with the portion size.....but then again, I tended to go over board and order half the menu anyway. The portions may have been small, but the flavour was definitely never skimpy.

Sep 14, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Lalot Closed?

The closing of Lalot is a sad, sad affair. The girl and I introduced many a friend to Lalot, many of whom introduced others. Never a bad word about the food or service. If that location was just around the corner, they would have had to beat them away with bats.

Let's hope they return in the future.

Sep 13, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Leslieville Brick St. Bakery opening Saturday!

Free 1/2 baguette...how can I say no??? Luckily Simon's been closeby in the Distillery ever since I moved, so I'm happy to keep going there. Enjoy his fine baking all you Leslievillers. I highly recommend his sausage rolls and eccles cakes. Deeeee-lish

Sep 12, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Citizen

Merlot143

Very wise choices indeed. Obviously sticking to uncooked/raw food is the way to go at the Citizen. I may have to keep that in mind if they're still open next summer and I'm craving cold food.

Sep 12, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Citizen

I have to say upfront....I really wanted to like the Citizen. I really, really, really wanted to like the Citizen. In fact, after my first visit there, I kept on my rose coloured glasses, thinking that this restaurant will get things ship shape in no time resulting in a great place to roll in for a great meal every week or so. Alas, disappointment reigns.

To start, the decor is ok. The booths are comfortable enough, the stain glass..well, not so great. The cake displays that are empty and sticking out like a sore thumb.....no idea what those are for. The place definitely reeks of Restaurant Makeover quick fix and slap dash. That's fine, considering this location has been turned over more often than underwear on a two week canoe trip. I'd make sure it would be a going concern before glamming it up myself. And if you look about that block, the glammers aren't going to be rushing to Queen/Broadview. Don't get me wrong, I love my grunge, in fact, too much gentrification makes me want to move, but I digress.

Visit 1. OK...it was hot outside. Inside was hot too. No A/C? Guess not, though the fans whipping air within 12 inches of my face did help to keep the sweat down. Unfortunately, it also made my eyes water. Get some A/C willya. The menu seemed interesting enough, I picked the sardine appie and the risotto. Now, I love sardines, they're pretty fabulous done right. I was expecting them to be fresh... nope. They were however, incredibly salty. Yes, I know, they're sardines!!! But these puppies were incredible. That salt burn in my mouth was pretty intense. I'd recommend lightening them up, just a thought. The salsa and bread that came with it were just fine, thank you kindly. I then moved on to the risotto. At first, I thought I was suffering the after effects from the sardines, but no. It was very salty. The texture was great, everything else was great....but can I remember what was in it? Nope....just salt. I did alert the manager, who mentioned that the "pasta water" hasn't been perfected yet. Ummm....ok.....get on that buddy. As I was simply starving, I did finish about two thirds of it. What can I say, I wasn't about to stick around for another 30 minutes inconveniencing my guest as something else was prepared. He did take it off my bill without my asking. At this point I didn't bother with dessert, it was time to go get some water. The wine list is pretty good, we stuck with a nicely chilled white wine.....can't recall what, but it was pretty good. Just what was needed on a hot, hot night in a hot, hot restaurant.

Visit 2. This time, it was me, my girl and another couple. The weather was quite pleasant and comfortable, so we strolled on over the bridge and hit the Citizen for my second try. Again, the place was pretty warm......not quite sure why, but it was just on the warm side of comfortable. It was also pretty empty, and we were there at 8pm or so, it never did pick up. We settled in and ordered our wine. Unfortunately, when it arrived, it was much like the restaurant, on the warm side. THE WARM SIDE!!!! Our waitress suggested putting it in the fridge.......I nodded rather eagerly at that suggestion, and knowing our boozehound tendencies, told her to throw another one in as well. OK...so here we go.

My guests..well two of them had the risotto. See Visit 1 above. Salty, salty, salty. And this time around, cold, cold, cold. The presentation was crap as well, it looked like it was just slopped in, risotto running up and over the sides. Great, the wine is hot, the food is cold and looks like gruel. My girl, being the forthright person she is, called later to say how disappointing the experience was. Umm...he mentioned the pasta water again. Dude, fix it, STAT!!!! He did offer a drink or appie the next time we went. Well, I know I won't be going again. My other guest had the sardines. Yes, I did warn him, but he went for it. He couldn't get through them. He then had the pasta with green beans.....which was like the risotto, cold. It too, was just slopped in....no presentation whatsoever. Crikey! I was starting to feel like an eejit for recommending this place.

What did I have? Well I can't remember the appetizer. Why you ask? Well, I ordered the duck confit as my main. This is one of my favourite dishes. Done well, nothing makes DowntownJoe feel more contented. When my main arrived....I was shocked. Total, complete, goggle-eyed shocked! This wasn't duck confit, it was sparrow confit. On my plate was one...yes...ONE!!! miniscule, overdone, stringy duck leg. I just couldn't believe it. So...appetizer, sides...whatever.....this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I just couldn't wait to get out of this place.

This place has been receiving a great deal of hype lately. Lots of pretty decent reviews from more learned folks than I. All I can say is, that was then, this is now. The Citizen is a definite no return for me. The mistakes they're making are beyond basic. I would have expected the service and food to be improving with time. The exact opposite is the case. Save your dosh and go somewhere that knows what they're doing. What am I saying, save your dosh and go somewhere that will at least give you hot food and a decent amount of it. If you go to the Citizen, why not just stay home, order in some KFC and flush the leftover $150 down the toilet. You and your stomach will feel better about it.

Sep 12, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Prohibition/Booze Emporium Review

I have to admit, my experience was completely different. My expectation was that being a gastropub, Prohibition would be swank, hip and have something other than pub food. What a complete mistake that is!!!

Basically, this place has all the feel of a rocker bar that will pretty much close up in about 3 months. It's completely skidsville.

Those switches on the side of the booth were interesting, except any attempt at using them resulted in zero service. I perused the wine/drinks list...ummm.....may as well be ordering from a very low end restaurant...nothing interesting at all.

Eventually, I picked a bottle of red to share with my 3 companions. The waitress appears, 4 chunky, very inappropriate glasses in hand, struggles to open the bottle and then finally manages to pour the wine. As I go to drink there is lipstick smeared all over my glass..umm...great. I ask for a new glass, it arrives and I pour my wine in.....guess I should have inspected it first, as this one has a toothpick in it. At this point, I should have just walked out the door, but being the polite boy I am, I again alert our waitress. Alas, she offers us as replacement a glass of house red or a round of shots. Well, being no dummy, we take the shots. They arrive after we drink the rest of the wine....all 5 of them. Obviously, our waitress decided she was to be included in the event, as she hadn't been doing enough of them behind the bar already.

All I can say is don't even bother with this dump. I can't wait for it to close and something decent pop in. Gastropub? I'd rather go to Dangerous Dan's down the street.

Sep 12, 2007
DowntownJoe in Ontario (inc. Toronto)