CLOSED: Prohibition Gastrohouse (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 696 Queen Street East
Type of Meal: Dinner

It gets busy at Prohibition Gastrohouse. So, if you’re going on the weekend, do yourself a favour and make a reservation. Of course, it’s not difficult to see why people are drawn to the bar - their “hooch hour”, offered from 4-7pm and 10-midnight, gets you any beer (draft or bottle), house wine or liquor for only $5.09. And the bar keeps up with all the demand with ease; we quickly received each round of drinks ordered.

Their food is another matter. With “Gastrohouse” in one’s name, you’d think the food would be just as great. Of course, I wasn’t expecting fine dining but perhaps a rung above pub food would be nice.

My organic bison burger ($13) was a disaster. The first one I received (pictured below) appeared burnt on the outside but upon biting into it, the patty was clearly raw on the inside. Although the waitress had warned me that bison, being a leaner meat, wouldn't be completely cooked through, I still wanted it medium (not rare).

So, it got sent back and I received another burger about 10 minutes later (the waitress was apologetic and put in a rush order). This one was still rarer than the medium I wanted, but at least edible. Something about their cooking surface is off as this patty also had a burnt ring around it so the char masked any of the meat flavour I hope to enjoy. Luckily, they provide a pail of great artisan condiments so I resorted to using plenty of the jalapeno relish to give the burger flavour.

Prohibition’s sandwiches aren’t accompanied with sides so we ordered three to share. For me, they were the highlight of the meal and if I ever return would just order a few in lieu of a main. The ultimate mac and cheese ($9) was delicious with a sharp cheddar and gruyere mixed in a rich truffle cream. The pasta are larger spirals with great crevices that holds in the fragrant buttery sauce.

The DF (duck fat) frites ($3) were also good arriving with shoestring thinness, great potato flavour and crisp crust. They are definitely not as good as Beer Bistro’s duck fat fries, which are much longer and seasoned well, but Prohibition’s fries were still enjoyable.

The organic green salad ($8) was decent with a pleasant balsamic dressing.

Two of my friends also ordered sandwiches and they looked much better done than the bison burger. The double decker club ($12) had a good helping of pulled chicken, prosciutto, grana padano cheese, basil, tomato and lettuce. My friend just found it a bit heavy as they buttered and grilled the sourdough bread instead of toasting.

The other had the pulled pork grilled cheese ($13), which actually sounded more indulgent than it looks. For this sandwich, Prohibition uses duck fat pulled pork confit, gooey cheddar and flavour it with BBQ sauce mixed with a raspberry jalapeno compote. She seemed to enjoy it.

My last friend tried the fungi flatbread ($13) which smelled fantastic from the fragrant truffle oil. It was topped with big mushroom pieces and plenty of cheese (chevre, pecorino romano and mozzarella). In the end, she thought it was okay.

All in all, Prohibition Gastrohouse has a great vibe and the drink prices are hard to beat. So, it would be a great location for pre or post-dinner drinks or maybe even a meal of mac n’ cheese with salad. But, don’t expect too much “gastro” from this neighbourhood joint.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!