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One of the best comment by a food critic - Amy Pateki on Susur Lee's 'Bent'

I am always surprised that people take food critics seriously. They talk like they possess some objective truth that only they and a few select chosen ones are blessed with.

Matters of taste are just opinions and Pataki is entitled to hers. Some will agree, some won't. Only way to know if you like the taste of something is to try it yourself. Matters of taste are incapable of being objectively right.

I haven't tried this place, but I have never been persuaded to go or not go somewhere based on what someone I don't even know thinks of it. As an art form capable of being entertaining I don't get food critics, but they have huge followings so I am likely in a minority.

J

Oct 17, 2012
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Terroni - Pizzeria Libretto - QMP....Can Pizza be this good?

As others have said, if you are waiting an hour at QMP or Libretto you are doing it wrong, book a reservation.

QMP has the closest crust to Naples and the South of Italy of any Neapolitan pizza in Toronto in my opinion, and I have tried them all. Libretto is second best, Terroni is not even close.

Don't get me wrong, I like Terroni's pizza (and Mercatto,etc), but for those of use who crave that authentic crust, QMP is the best.

Oh and if they have their meatballs or polenta fries apps, magnificent. Can't wait for their west end location to open so they are closer to high park.

J

Oct 17, 2012
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Langdon Hall's world's best restaurant rating - What a joke!!! Sacrilegious and insulting!!

Actually the 'panels' are broken into regions. Each panel has 31 members, there are 27 panels (regions). Each members on the panel has 7 votes to cast, 3 of which must be for restaurants outside their region (meaning they can vote for a maximum of 4 restaurants in their region), other than that they can vote for whatever restaurant in the world they wish. Canada is part of a region that includes all of Canada and the 'mid' USA.

Knowing all that, what about the initial statement? Is LH's placement on the list at #77 (or at all) a 'joke' or 'sacrilegious'? I see it as an opinion, nothing more, nothing less. The OP clearly is of a different opinion, which he is entitled to. People like to debate food like there is a correct answer. I don't. In the end their are opinions, and when it comes to food, they vary far and wide in my experience.

I am not sure what cause there is to get worked up about the opinion of some group, the majority of whom we don't know or dine with. Who cares. They won't be picking my next meal.

J

p.s. I also miss the old Splendido, but all good things must end it seems.

Apr 17, 2011
JPJ in Food Media & News

Looking for Barbarian's steak spice in York Region

Loblaw's sells it.

J

Feb 10, 2011
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Gabardine - Rod Bowers' new spot (long)

Bowers is listed as the executive chef on chefdb: http://chefdb.com/pl/23106/The-Gabard...

I suspect he was hired as a consultant to help build the menu.

I went for lunch last week and had the beet risotto, it was very good. Service as reported is so-so. On a positive note one of our party had a gluten allergy and the waitress was very knowledgeable about what they could and could not order on the menu.

J

Feb 08, 2011
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best foodie experience in Toronto?

Black Hoof's charcuterie.

George's tasting menu.

A meal at Haisai (alright its not quite in Toronto).

J

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The Black Hoof
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Jan 26, 2011
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Canadian Wine Content Only Please

I would add Organized Crime, Kacaba (there award winning Syrah), Featherstone, Stratus, and Le Clos Jordanne (their award winning pinots).

The claim that no Ontario wines can measure up against the established wine producing regions in the world is simply wrong. Niagara produces some great world stage wines (I am a huge fan of Foreign Affair particularly).

J

Dec 19, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Splendido- No!

Rest assured, there is nothing wrong with Splendido. I dined there regularly before the 'change over' and have continued to dine there regularly since. The quality of the food and service is as exceptional as ever.

Anyone who decides not to go because someone posts a negative and vague review on chowhound is missing out.

J

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Splendido
88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

Sep 05, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gilead Cafe serving dinner in new year

Ate there a few weeks ago with the wife and two other couples.

It was excellent. My favourite dish of the night was the pork belly.

It has a really nice relaxed atmosphere.

J

Aug 23, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Is the new Oliver & Bonacini Café in the old Shopsies (Front St.) open yet?

Went there for brunch two weeks ago.

Sat on the patio, it was huge and the decor was well done. The glass they used as a partition really cut down the street noise, you can carry on a conversation without a problem notwithstanding heavy traffic.

Both my wife and I quite liked the decor inside as well. It does a good job of straddling the line between downtown 'hip' and casual.

The service was decent, but the place was fairly empty, no idea what it would be like if they got slammed.

I had poached eggs served on polenta with spicy lamb sausage. My wife had the eggs benedict served with potatoes.

I found my dish a little bland, it had heat from the sausage but it lacked basic seasoning (really salt, given that the heat from the lamb sausage made pepper redundant). My experience is that polenta needs fairly heavy seasoning, whoever made this had a very light hand, too light. Still, the polenta was very creamy, the eggs were perfectly poached and the sausage was good.

My wife's eggs benedict were very good. The Hollandaise was creamy and tangy, the eggs perfectly poached but the star was the cheddar biscuit it was served on, it was exceptionally good. The potatoes were your basic paprika dusted home fries, but they were executed well, except I suspect they are deep fried due to their texture. They were crispy and well seasoned. I would prefer if they pan fried them on did them on a flat top.

J

Aug 09, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Rosewater Room

I went to two weddings at the Rosewater Room last year.

Service was very good, professional and personable. The food at both the weddings I attended was good. There were a few things that were very good (a root vegetable soup, a carpaccio, a marinated rib eye a few of the appetizers). The only thing I didn't like was a salad that had the ubiquitous raspberry vinegarette. Simply a bad choice in my opinion, I don't think I have ever enjoyed a raspberry vinegarette. Certainly it was much better than anything I have ever had at wedding halls.

My wife and I are very close with one of the couples who were married and know generally what they spent. For that price point it is a very good deal for downtown Toronto.

J

Aug 04, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dinner Recommendation - Must-Have for one night in Toronto

Hashimoto...but its not easy to get a reservation...but at least you can make one.

J

Jul 30, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Diner at the new Thompson Hotel

Went three times around the time it opened (I live very close to it) and was of the same opinion. Tried the burger, fish and chips and the macaroni, all were good (not great but above average). Every time I was there however it was empty.

Today, the wife and I met friends for brunch there and I have no hesitation in saying that it was one of the worst experiences I have had in some time at a restaurant.

First, it took nearly 10 minutes to seat us despite there being 3 open tables of 4 clearly visible. Once seated we were left sitting there for 20 minutes while hipster waitresses stood around talking to each other. After I flagged down the floor manager and he took our drink order, he said he would send someone right over. 10 minutes later the floor manager brought us the wrong drinks and we still had not seen a waitress. One finally came 10 minutes later and took our order. When I asked her how long it might be she said it wouldn't be 'ASAP', whatever that was supposed to mean (I took it to mean a long time). After sitting around with no refills for sometime we flagged down the floor manager again and told him he got our drink order wrong last time and gave him another chance. Managed to get the right drinks this time. Didn't see service again until almost an hour later when 2 of us got our food. Mine (basic breakfast) was cold, the eggs overcooked, the bacon was flabby. Instead of homefries we were given basic fries. The fries were cold.

Flagged down the floor manager again and asked what was going on, he said this was the first day they were this busy (place was about 80% full) and that they were still working out the kinks. The kitchen was particularly struggling he said (understatement of the year).

10 minutes later the BLT one of our party ordered showed up, a second one (ordered without mayo) had to be redone (they put mayo on it). It showed up 20 minutes later after we had all finished eating.

The BLT's were decent, but it's a sandwich, and it took almost 2 hours to make.

We were there for 2 1/2 hours give or take. In the end they comp'd our drinks and one of the sandwiches - I didn't want to pay at all. Honestly we only stayed because it was incredible to watch. I have never seen so many people leave a restaurant while waiting for their food. It was like watching a live version of Kitchen Nightmares.

Bottom line, the kitchen being slammed doesn't explain why the serving staff spends more time standing around gabbing at each other, rather than trying to woo customers with good service. Further, the place wasn't nearly busy enough to explain the kitchen issues.

I would stay clear of this mess for a while, at their prices ($12 for a basic breakfast) it is not even close to being worth it. I wouldn't go back there for free.

J

Jul 25, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Madeline / old Susur CLOSED?

If the price doesn't match their enjoyment or expectation of the dish than I call that an opinion on the quality of the dish compared to the price. When I encounter that I call it overpriced, not over-rated. This was my experience for instance at Buca, the food was good but not worth the prices being charged imo. A price to quality comparison is individual and subjective, I know the price, I taste the food and I figure out whether I would pay X amount for it. Comparing your opinion of someone's food to the general good opinion of it and calling it over-rated, suggests somehow that the people who liked it got it wrong, not sure how you can say that.

Semantics aside we start to get into some pretty unhelpful speculation when we begin to talk about what many 'Chinese foodies' would think of Susur's dishes. What is our representative sampling here: 5, 10 maybe 20 people? Maybe the 'chinese foodie' wasn't Susur's target audience anyway, maybe he was just cooking for people, no matter what their culinary background, who might like his cooking. Given his success, that appears to be working for him.

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Susur
601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

Buca
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

May 13, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Madeline / old Susur CLOSED?

I neither loved nor disliked Susur. I had some great dishes there, I had some failures there. I would say I liked his food overall, I liked the high notes enough to put up with the low ones. I also liked the fact that Susur took some chances, even when it fell flat. He must have known he would get criticized. When he opened Shang he had to listen to food critics who didn't have a fraction of his cooking knowledge complain that his restaurant wasn't 'Chinese' enough...that's helpful.

I can't use the term over rated as it applies to food, I either like it or I don't. The fact I don't like it doesn't make it over rated. Some of Susur's dishes that I didn't like were liked by my dining companions. When it comes to something as subjective as taste, how can you say one person or a group of people have taste that is over rating the food? Its a subjective opinion.

In terms of subjective opinions the food critics on Top Chef Masters appear to think Susur's food is good enough to give him the top score any chef has scored on that show yet. Combined they must have over 100 years of dining experiences, if that matters at all.

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Susur
601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

May 13, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Does anybody think Colborne Lane is lame molecular gastronomy the way I do?

You are seriously posting about your Colborne Lane experience 2 years ago, and comparing it to El Bulli, the Fat Duck and Noma? Now that is funny.

The reality is that Colborne Lane is not a molecular gastronomy restuarant, it is a restaurant that ocassiocally uses some minor molecular gastronomy. I say the less the better as it is often used in a gimmicky way and not to heighten flavour. The food imo is good, with some dishes excelling and others failing to rise above adequate. I honestly don't remember seeing post after post hailing Colborne Lane as the new molecular gastronomy hot spot. I do remember numerous threads where people beat to death the issue of the food. Search for them and you will find that some people liked it, and some did not, like most restaurants discussed here. I don't think anyone suggested it be comparede against some of the top 10 restaurants in the world.

Of course, this would matter if this thread was really about the food at Colborne Lane, sounds like that is not the case.

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Colborne Lane
45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

Apr 14, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Double smoked Bacon

The Healthy Butcher on Queen Street West, just east of Portland.

There house double smoked bacon is addictive like crack (not that I have tried crack, but...well you know what I mean).

It is seriously awesome.

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The Healthy Butcher
565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

Mar 30, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Black Hoof Cafe - Review with Pics

Thanks for this. The takeout platter is a great idea. Got to say I loved the Hoof but had no plans of returning as it's not 1-2 hour wait good for me personally. Not to mention my experience was similar to your review, all the charcuterie was awesome good, but some of the surrounding players were not up to snuff. Knowing I can get just the meat without the wait...priceless.

Mar 16, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Queen and Beaver

Put me in the pro-Q&B camp.

I have eaten there probably about a dozen times now and the food was always very good. The one exception was a slightly overly chewy "cheese scone" in a venison pot au feu. Had a number of very good dishes here, the burger is a well opined success, the fish and chips are very good, the short rib is rich and satisfying as it the potted duck. Really liked the cod's tongue I had a few months back, have not seen it served in Toronto before (not saying it hasn't). I have to say that some of the opposite experiences about the food here are surprising. Differences of taste/opinion are expected and natural, but when people use terms like "rancid", "burned" and "inedible" I certainly would have thought I would have encountered this in my many, many visits. Just lucky I guess.

Service has never been an issue for me.

My only complaint would be getting sat at one of the tables with a large lip around it so I can spend my time ramming my knees into it, trying to get my legs underneath. Why these "character tables" are put in restaurants where comfort should be key is a mystery. Buca has a large one in their restaurant, if you are any taller than 5'7" good luck getting your legs comfortably under it.

Mar 16, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Is anyone eating steak at the Tulip on Queen?

I ate there a few years back and the steak was (a) overpriced and (b) not good.

As for sides, nothing sticks out as memorable, good or bad.

Mar 16, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Which restaurant for romantic date in Toronto

I think your age does matter a little. My wife and I are in our 30's (her early, me less early!) by comparison.

For instance, Auberge du Pommier is a very nice romantic restaurant, but there is no doubt that it attracts an older crowd. If you want romantic and hip then it would not be a great choice. That being said, it is quiet (old people make less noise - haha), romantic and the food is normally very good.

Personally, I think if you want romantic, think a smaller restaurant. As for your choices so far I would say that Harbord is the best one, but noisy. Gio Rana's - not a fan, the food is a let down imo. Trevor Kitchen and Bar - the food is inconsistent, it could be great, other nights not so much - it is also noisy. Zucca's food is not good imo.

Scaramouche is often suggested, I will say if you can get a table by the windows the view is great. The food is always great and the service impeccable. I personally find it too noisy to be romantic but other people's opinions differ.

La Palette in Kensington is very cozy as is the Niagara Street Cafe on Niagara south of King St. Both have very good food and normally good service (though not at the level of Scaramouche).

My wife and I had a really nice "date" at Simple Bistro on Mount Pleasant recently. The food is excellent, well priced and the service was friendly, warm and timely. I actually went after reading good reviews here and I have to agree that this may be one of Toronto's best new spots in the last couple years. It actually made me feel better about some recent closings of some personal favs (and the painful death rattles of some others).

Have fun!

Mar 08, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Authentic Spanish Tapas

Second Torito: fun, casual and good tapas.

I actually prefer Torito to Cava.

Mar 08, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cheesemongers in TO . . . any hidden gems?

I think Cheese Boutique is still the best place for buying local cheeses, their selection can't be beat, and they make their own cheese as well. Their prices are reasonable. If you are buying expensive imported cheese their mark-up isn't the issue, its the cost of the cheese. Their local stuff costs no more than anywhere else in my experience.

That being said I also really like About Cheese and would highly recommend them. They have a great selection of cheeses from Ontario and Quebec. Helps that they are right by a Cumbraes, its convenient foodie shopping.

Mar 03, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Amuse Bouche Restaurant: Definitely not amused

I think you have hit the nail on the head when you indicate that the tasting menu might have been part of the problem. I generally find that many good Toronto restaurants fall flat on tasting menus. As for why they bother, I can only surmise in their minds they are trying. That being said, its certainly not something a restaurant can use as an excuse. Did you complain at all, and if so, what if any response did you get?

Feb 27, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Paul Boehmer’s Ossington Restaurant Opens Soon

Agree with you 100%.

The only pretentiousness I can perceive is the pretentious preaching of people who speak out against those that are putting their money where their mouth is. Last time I checked, people were free to buy property so they can open more "acceptable" businesses in the area. Boehmer has invested in the community, has anyone criticizing his business venture done so? Boehmer is providing business stimulus and employment opportunities during a time when many people are cutting back. What are the whiners giving to the community other than an unhealthy dose of trendy soap box preaching about the over gentrification of these precious areas that used to be bright stars on the crime rate index map prior to businesses like Boehmer's moving in.

I say put your money where your mouth is.

I wish him luck and will definitely dine there once he opens.

Feb 10, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Winterlicious at Canoe

I actually have enjoyed munching away at the bar there. The sliders are a perfect pairing with...well with anything really they are just damn good!

As for the cassoulet, best to pretend that never happened!

Feb 05, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Winterlicious at Canoe

I hate <insert season here>licious.

I love Canoe.

I would suggest you give Canoe another chance. I know paying full prices for a meal at a place that let you down once already is not something that immediately jumps to mind as a good idea. That being said, you have to trust that the literally hundreds of positive comments about Canoe on this board and practically unanimous praise from food critics around the world are representative of the norm and your depressing experience the exception.

Generally, I found 'licious meals to be substandard almost everywhere, that is why I won't go anymore. It's not an excuse really, if a restaurants joins they should keep the quality up, the reality is they don't. I would rather pay full price and get the real deal.

BTW that cassoulet sounds like a terrible concept to me, not sure what the intention was behind it. Anyway it is a rare miss for a restaurant known for making quality ingredients shine in dishes that are not overly fussed.

Feb 04, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anyone been to Rosebud lately?

That sucks. Bowers handed over the Rosebud kitchen last year to Matt Cowan. The food was never as great but it was still good/decent and the service was nothing like what has been described here. Cowan has bounced around quite a bit, his last stint being at the ill advised Locavore on Avenue Road. This guy seems to be around for a lot of restaurant death rattles. Bowers might of come in to change the locks!

What was it that Jim Morrison said, it's better to burn out than fade away...too bad the Rosebud didn't burn out. I have seen this before with other formerly good restaurants and its always sad.

Feb 02, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anyone been to Rosebud lately?

Wow that is so sad to hear. Thank god it is closing, if you look search on this board for prior posts you will see the Rosebud once enjoyed a reliably good reputation.

As I said, I have been literally dozens of times without an incident although I was never as crazy about the food after Bowers left the kitchen.

What you describe is literally like a bizarro world version of the Rosebud I knew. RIP.

Feb 02, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anyone been to Rosebud lately?

I know what you mean. For many of us Rosebud was a definite "go to" place. Never had a bad dish there, let alone a bad meal.

Last time I went was in November and it was still good, but the food was never as spectacular as it was before Bowers opened the Citizen. My fondest memories will be of the many dinners and "luppers" I had there before Bowers turned his focus to the Citizen and then to, well whatever it is he is doing now - saw him on that show marriage under construction, looks like he is taking a "family time-out".

The Citizen was definitely sold to Crawford, the Rosebud was for sale a few weeks ago for $95,000.00, not sure if it sold or not.

Sad to see it go, but hopefully Bowers will open another spot in the future. I would go in a heartbeat.

Jan 30, 2010
JPJ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)