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Carbon Bar

With the exception of one person, no one seems to have actually gone and there are tried the food. It seems ridiculous to make all kinds of assumptions and comments before at least trying the place. And does knowing how much the renovations cost add to our understanding and appreciation of the food and service. After all this is chowhound, not architectural digest. So, I was there on the first night. The place looks fantastic. It was packed. Nonetheless the service was stellar, which in my experience is incredibly unusual for a first night (really first night - no soft opening, no family and friends tryout). That's courageous and a really kudo to the Nota Bene staff, some of whom were there for the opening. I was with 2 friends, we probably tried most of the bbq items. Generally good (no misses), some outstanding items (ribs, brisket). Good cocktails at the bar. In other words, for a first nighter with a packed crowd, really amazing they pulled it off. And yes, prices are a bit steep, but the quality was there...as was the first class service. AAA bbq is just down the street with much cheaper prices if you don't mind the amateurish service and the often mia menu. Will post more detail later if anyone wants me to.

Dec 16, 2013
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
2

Canard a la presse in Toronto?

I had pressed duck last year in a very traditional restaurant called Via Veneto in Barcelona. When I arrived (at 10 p.m.) I was the first there, by the time I left (around 1:30 a.m.) almost every table had ordered the duck! I know Daniel's (New York) was serving it, but here is an idea closer to home. I've seen it on the menu at chinese restaurants in hong kong and san francisco. I wouldn't be surprised if you called around a bit and found that a more upscale chinese restaurant (probably in Markham) might have some version on their menu or would prepare something for you.

Mar 01, 2013
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Nota Bene - Any Comments

Well said Ukers, agree with all of your comments, both food and decor. I was surprised with some of the other contributors (poor) service experience. I have only had competent and sometimes outstanding service, and have gone regularly since it opened. While an off night can occur in any restaurant or with any serving staff, my sense at Nota Bene is that they have a well-trained and highly disciplined staff, and it shows.

Feb 20, 2013
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cafe Boulud or Splendido ?

Definitely Splendido. Victor (the chef) is at the top of his game, and that combined with the comfortable ambience and normally flawless service level makes it a great choice for a special dinner. I would let them know when making the reservation that it is for a birthday dinner, just for that extra little bit of attention. As for Cafe Boulud, reviews have been mixed as was my own experience there. It seems to suffer from the typical problems that expensive hotel restaurants often have - inconsistency in both service and food, and an intractable approach to special requests. My suggestion is to wait a few months or more to see if Boulud finds it's mojo - to me it has a lot of work to do to live up to the standards of its New York brethren.

Jan 16, 2013
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

New Pizzeria Libretto location opening on the Danforth

As another east ender living 5 minutes from PLEast, I was interested in all of the hype surrounding the "second coming". First, let me state that I am not a huge pizza fan, having had too much mediocre stuff in my teenage years, it is normally not my food of choice. However, with two foodie sons, one of whom is living in New Haven which arguably (at least according to him) has the best pizza on the eastern seaboard, if not the whole U.S., it was inevitable that we would succumb to the siren call of Libretto. And succumb we did, all in all a (qualified) positive experience. So here's what we loved:
-Reservation - it was a smooth, positive experience. Now, making a reservation for a restaurant is generally no big deal, but given the often long lineups at west end Libretto, and the legendary (2 hour or more) line-ups at New Haven's best (Pepe's, Sally's), I was grateful to be quickly and efficiently shown to our table when we arrived
-Service - responsive, friendly and accommodating. However, they have "overstaffed" for the opening, so service may not be as spot on in a few weeks
-Starters- we started with the calamari and the charcuterie plate, both of which were good, and I very much liked the pizza dough/bread with the charcuterie plate. It was not the best charcuterie plate in the city by a long shot, but hey this is a pizza joint so I was impressed.
-Pizzas - we tried 4 - duck confit, mushroom, pork belly and papa luigi with tomato, speck, gorgonzola and red pepper. Yes, I get that they are done in an 850 degree oven straight from Italy that blister those pizzas to perfection in 90 seconds. Also, the ingredients are first rate, for example the pork belly pizza comes with smoked tomato ragoût, mozzarella, bomba, caramelized onions and lemon thyme. Wow.

And here's what we felt was not so positive:

The pizzas, I have to say, were good not great. First, I didn't think the duck confit pizza worked, the ingredients didn't meld well for some reason. Sometimes less is more with ingredients. As for the other pizzas, (and here's my qualifier), if you like the style of Libretto pizzas - chewy, wet in the middle, not a lot of char, and a crust that is neither thin nor thick, you are going to love them. If you prefer more char, a crisper crust or other style, you may be somewhat disappointed given all the buzz about this place. Also, the panna cotta which several people on this posting thought was terrrific, I felt was quite ordinary, the consistency was tougher than it should be, and the flavour was MIA.

However, at the end of the day, it is a pizza joint after all, and keeping this in mind it is a fine, well-run operation, serving good ingredients in a fun, high energy environment. A great addition to the Danforth. Hope they do well.

Nov 25, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Now available: Chicago-style deep dish pizza - downtown Toronto

I laughed when I read all the messages on reheating the pizza. Yes, I tossed it, I don't like reheated pizza, it never tastes the same, and I never eat it cold in the morning for breakfast either. But really, folks, why would I or anyone fork over $40 and end up having to cook or reheat a pizza, and investing in a pizza stone, and convection oven no less. Isn't that what I paid for, i.e. a fresh, hot pizza?

Oct 27, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Off the Hook

Again, different from my experience, food was good, not great, but comparable or better to other fish and chips place, service was adequate. Maybe it's deteriorated since I went which was shortly after it opened. However, I am curious now, I've had several people in the neighbourhood tell me they enjoyed their meal there, so as I live right around the corner will try once more and see what happens. If any of the service issues both millygirl and haggisdragon experienced occurs, I will certainly speak up and see what kind of response I get. Will report back.

Oct 27, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Now available: Chicago-style deep dish pizza - downtown Toronto

Thanks, for the comments, Luv to Eat, TorontoJo and Canadian Beaver, wish I had heeded your advice about delivery. I did take one bite of the cold pizza, which is not a fair basis on which to make a judgement unfortunately. I will leave to others who have a better experience than I to provide a more proper assessment. As a postscript I did receive another email with a half-hearted apology and then again repeating that dispatch showed the pizza being delivered 30 minutes before it actually showed up, followed by this statement: "it does appear he (the driver) may have provided him (dispatch) with incorrect information which was in turn, provided to you". Ya think??!! Anyways they offered me a "credit" for future purchases which is cold pizza to me, as I will never use orderit.ca again. I am encouraged by your responses to this as it bodes well for Toronto's often complacent attitudes to bad service or poor food. If we show our mettle by speaking up about these situations, things can only get better

Oct 26, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Now available: Chicago-style deep dish pizza - downtown Toronto

Jesse, chef behind the deep dish pizza asked for feedback, happy to provide my experience yesterday. Despite my misgivings (I share Luv to Eat's concerns about delivered pizza), I ordered a classic pizza ($25). Promised delivery within an hour. After about 90 minutes (6:39 p.m.), I wrote an email asking where it was. At 6:50 p.m. a "customer" service guy at orderit.ca called to ask how I was "enjoying my meal". I told him it hadn't been delivered yet, he insisted it had at 6;30 p.m. A couple of minutes after I hung up, the pizza arrived - cold. I called back to be told that the pizza had been delivered at 6:30 p.m. Now I am not sure in what alternate universe orderit.ca exists where time stands still at 6;30 and it's ok to deliver pizzas cold, but to me nothing says customer service like being told you are a liar. So Jesse, the pizza looked good (despite one piece having flipped on its side from the tender care of the driver). Unfortunately I had to heave it in the garbage and I am out $40, which includes tip and delivery (since I paid by Visa in advance, fool that I am), and "customer" service insisted there would be no refund. So best of luck in your pizza endeavour, I am sure you make good pizzas but heaven knows I'll never have one.

Oct 26, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Off the Hook

I had a very different experience than haggisdragon, and for the record, I am not a "friend" of the owner. First of all, I am not sure why anyone would want to order poutine in a fish and chip place, but as for the f/c, I found the batter crisp and ungreasy, and I liked the idea of organic and gluten free options, as well as the different types of fish available, some of which you don't often or ever see like red snapper, and some interesting sauces, not just tartar. I selected the curry sauce which was interesting and a nice change up from tartar, but not sure if it was the best choice for the fish (halibut) that I chose. Can't remember how the fries or cole slaw was, but obviously not memorable enough to comment. However, I think the fish and chips were solid, especially compared to other choices in this city. And you gotta love the name. Curiously, the predecessor restaurant was another fish and chips place called Deep Blue Sea, which didn't last long but was good as well. Hopefully this will last a little longer, nice addition to that part of Danforth and Broadview in my opinion.

Oct 21, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Newbie to Prince Edward Island - Where to Eat in Charlottetown

First trip to Prince Edward Island, coming from Toronto, via Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail!! Would appreciate any recos for Charlottetown where I will be for two days (breakfasts, lunches, dinners). Thanks in advance!

Aug 02, 2011
soko in Atlantic Canada

Hammersmiths

I've been there twice, highly recommend it. Menu is limited to a few breakfast items - omelettes, sausages (chicken and pork), bacon hash, steak and eggs, breakfast pastries, and perhaps a sandwich. However, everything tastes homemade, cooked to order and is extremely tasty. If they have the strawberry lemonade, definitely go for it. Great addition to that neighbourhood.

Jul 29, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need a Danforth Greek recommendation

Generally, all the Greek restaurants on the Danforth are family friendly, and do basically offer up the same menu items. So I don't think you are going to find anything "special", but I do think that Pantheon still offers a slight step up from others (I particularly like their fresh fish and Greeek wine selections) and many of the other menu items are solid. Avli does a decent job on their Greek pies (rabbit, chicken and lamb), and many like Mezes small plates for selection and ok quality.

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Avli
401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

Mezes
456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

Jul 20, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

"The Combine Eatery" opening soon

Apparently it opened yesterday. Found one reference with pics and review of menu, but not sure if this is just PR or legitimately independent. Anyone tried it yet, I will head over in next few days and post a review if no one else beats me to it. Here is the review http://notable.ca/restaurants/Now-Ope...

Jul 12, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best take out for lunch in Toronto...want to impress!

Depending on where you are serving lunch downtown, I would choose a good restaurant nearby and ask them if they would put together a "take-out" lunch, regardless of whether they normally do so. For example, if it is anywhere around the queen/university area, I would contact Nota Bene, which probably could do, if they are willing a fabulous luncheon of food items that would travel well, perhaps a series of small appetizers would also work well. I would probably avoid pizza as that usually suffers from travel time to serving time.

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Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

May 17, 2011
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

FIRST TRIP TO MONTREAL

Hmmm, Celfie. Maybe I am not good at navigating this board, but I don't see anything on first page that talks to not to be missed experiences. I also did a search on the board and couldn't find anything. can you be more specific or point me to a link. Much appreciated.

Feb 08, 2011
soko in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

FIRST TRIP TO MONTREAL

Fellow Chowhounders, please help. First trip to Montreal and there are three of us including an adventurous 14 year old chowhounder in training. What are the "not to be missed" dining/eating experiences in Montreal? I know about the wonderful Smoked Meat and of course Bagels, and I've heard about Pied de Cochon. So, what would you recommend? We're staying in Old Montreal. Really appreciate this!

Feb 08, 2011
soko in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Birthday dinner for wife at "kid-friendly" restaurant?

I think there are many restaurants you could choose that are non-chain. Since you live in the east end, most of the Greek places on the Danforth are definitely kid-friendly. For something a notch above the typical souvlaki joints, you could try Pantheon (my choice) or Avli. Pantheon has a decent wine list (upscale greek selections), and I find the fresh whole fish usually dependable.

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Avli
401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

Jul 20, 2010
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Meat Pies - looking for wholesale source

You can try Saucier foods - www.saucierfoods.com - they make both small and large meat pies ranging from quebec tourtieres to chicken, duck and other fillings. They sell wholesale and also at a couple of the farmer's markets (Withrow and Trinity Bellwoods). Good luck in your search.

Jun 27, 2010
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Good Jewish Deli - House made pastrami and sauerkraut

Saucier products are available in some stores around the city like Scheffler's deli in St. Lawrence Market, Bruno's, the Big Carrot and the Butcher Shop, but the best way if you are looking for something specific is to go to their website (which is where I found the store locations). They have all their products listed and if you hit "order now" button I think you can send an email and they will either let you know where to get what you want or deliver it to you. I can attest to the meat pies (especially the free range chicken), the pates en croute and the crab and smoked salmon mousse.

Dec 01, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good take out/take home pate?

Yes, I believe you are correct, also duck pate, and I believe a rabbit pate is also made.

Sep 28, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Recommendation for fine dining in Danforth, Leaside or Leslieville area???

There are a few places. The first one that comes to mind is the Globe Restaurant on Danforth Ave., just east of Broadview - www.globebistro.com

Also, an excellent French Bistro - Batifole Restaurant on Gerrard, near Carlaw www.batifole.ca

A few to consider in Leslieville (good but not necessarily "fine dining") include Edward Levesque Kitchen, the Citizen and Table 17

Sep 25, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good take out/take home pate?

A quick update on take out/take home pates. Local producer Saucier Foods has a range of pates (duck breast, pork, creton etc.) available at Wychwood, Trinity Bellwoods and Withrow Farmer's Markets. Check out the attached photo I got, they are really good, some are en croute (no need for crackers!). Not sure if you can order them directly www.saucierfoods.com, but you can call and find out.

Sep 22, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Table 17 Quick Review

Last night my SO and I decided to escape the hordes descending on Riverdale for Taste of the Danforth and headed down to Queen Street East for dinner at Table 17. In a nutshell, service was very good and attentive from beginning to end (even though the restaurant was quite packed by the time we left), and the food competent and tasty. The restaurant's menu is set up for traditional apps and mains, as well as additional dishes that can be shared.

Quick summary of the dishes:

-Hot Balls (a selection of deep fried "balls" containing rice or goat cheese or crab stuffing, each with their own corresponding sauce, e.g. crab balls had a mayo sauce, goat cheese, a honey sauce). Nice, filling and good to share. However, aside from the goat cheese balls, the flavours were muted and overwhelmed by the breading.

-Salad of Heirloom Greens - fine, but nothing special

-Diver of Poached Scallos - An app, consisted of one scallop with some greens. My SO enjoyed it

-Pea Soup - a puree with whole peas scattered throughout, this was very good but extremely rich (load enough butter and cream and anything tastes better!)

-Ontario Rabbit and Fingerling Potatoes - a braised dish, with a generous portion of bunny, with a slightly too sweet sauce and boiled fingerling potatoes. Overall, I like it.

-Cheescake with Blueberry Sauce - short on the sauce, again nothing special

Nonetheless, both of us enjoyed our meal, and think it a great choice for a bistro supper if you live nearby or find yourself in this neck of the city. As one small bonus, there was a sheet of wines (separate from the regular wine list) that had been discounted. We had a great Argentinean cab sauv blend that was knocked down 25%.

Aug 08, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bill's Lobster...fact check. (moved from Ontario board)

The explanation you received is legitimate (provided they are indeed only selling bycatch). Atlantic Halibut is long lived and slow to mature, so it is vulnerable to overfishing, and stocks are depleted. Bycatch is an issue as it creates continued pressure on the species, and studies have shown that there are indeed low/moderate levels of Atlantic Halibut bycatch.

White Hake, Cusk, Atlantic Cod, Dogfish, and several other species are caught in association with Atlantic Halibut. There is little information about how much of the halibut is kept for sale or discarded.

Although there is continuing development of specialized gear to better target particular species, adoption is slow in the commercial fishery, and impacts are minimal so far.

So, bottom line is that the bycatch argument is possible, but are they truly selling it? No way to know for sure. It is also possible that their supplier has told them it is "bycatch" when in fact it isn't. The fishing industry is rife with scams of one kind or another, usually selling lower cost fish masquerading as higher priced stock. As consumers it is very difficult for us to detect these frauds, and in this case to know whether we are purchasing in a responsible manner.

My advice is that if you are concerned about the Atlantic Halibut fishery, you should avoid purchasing it, regardless of what you are told. As long as there is a market for it, and consumers are purchasing the stocks, there will continue to be the temptation to overfish to the point of extinction.

.

Jul 29, 2009
soko in General Topics

Best of the Farmer's Markets

What products have you found outstanding at the different farmer's markets around Toronto? This could include prepared foods like meat pies, pastries and breads, or fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and chesses. Are there specific vendors/markets that you find provide consistently high or outstanding quality?

Jul 19, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good take out/take home pate?

For something local and artisanal, check out Saucier Foods. They have a variety of game pates as well as a very rich foie gras pate. If you go to their website, you can find where they are carried or order directly from them - www.saucierfoods.com

Mar 26, 2009
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

George - Award winning dish tasted

Thanks for the review. George has been on my list to try for a long time, I look forward to trying it shortly. I was unclear about your comments on the tasting menu, is the "pre-arranged" menu different from their regular tasting menu? Did you call and request specific dishes, or was it left in the hands of the chef? One comment on your dessert wine. Very sweet desserts will tend to make wine taste tannic and bitter, so you should make sure the sweetness and acidity of the wine balances with the dessert. I know that is hard to sometimes figure out, but I've also found that some not so sweet wines actually work better with dessert, like a cabernet sauvignon with chocolate or a gewurz with ice cream or fruit desserts. Just my two cents on that subject.

Nov 12, 2007
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Imperial Torte ....mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Is that the same as a Sacher Torte? If it is, you can find it at Konditor http://www.konditor.ca on Queen west.

Nov 01, 2007
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for Lobster rolls in Toronto - for lunch

Have you checked out Canoe Restaurant, I believe they have it on the lunch menu

Aug 01, 2007
soko in Ontario (inc. Toronto)