CLOSED: Lisa Marie (Toronto)

With the Elvis Presley motif on the wall, it’s clear where the inspiration for Lisa Marie’s name came from. As Kitchen Project notes, the King enjoyed Southern stick-to-your-rib food, exactly what the restaurant serves. But, where Elvis didn’t like strange foreign sounding ingredients, Lisa Marie uses things like kimchi or queso fresco, extremely popular ingredients in their own native lands, to jazz up the King’s favourites.

As part of the Summerlicious menu ($28 for dinner, regular prices listed in post below), kimchi was used in the Alabama tailgaters ($11) and Seoul fried chicken ($19); both meaty dishes filled with flavours. The tailgaters have nothing in common with the steak of the swamps, rather is sliced beef and aged cheddar, rolled up and wrapped in bacon. They’re salty and tender, not as heavy as I expected. Although the kimchi became lost, there was a light chili garlic sauce on the green beans, which helped to cut through the grease.

A pile of cabbage kimchi sat beside the Seoul fried chicken. If it’s too spicy, the sweet red sauce covering the dish helps calm the sting. The bone-in pieces of chicken were juicy and the breading substantial enough to withstand the thick glaze so it retained its crispiness.

Soft creamy queso fresco made its way inside the flautas ($9), combined with white cheddar cheese for the stringiness. The tortillas cylinders were crispy to contrast against the molten cheese, it was a nice starter topped with crema and a refreshing roasted tomatillo sauce.

Lisa Marie’s carne asada ($19) incorporated tons of char on the pichana steak, yet remained a moist medium inside. The smoky meat was complimented by creamy guacamole, heirloom cherry tomato salsa and of course the soft crumbled queso fresco. Of all the dishes we had that evening, it was actually the lightest, even incorporating grilled shishito peppers for a further portion of vegetables.

I can’t leave Lisa Marie without having some pad thai fries ($5) - fries tossed in a very spicy pad thai sauce with crunchy raw bean sprouts to cool the zing. They’re normally fantastic, but were lukewarm that evening so a tad less impressive.

Elvis must really have a SWEET tooth, as all the desserts were fairly sugary. After one spoonful, I couldn’t have more. The Elvis ($7) is like a Southern trifle, boozy zambaglione dotted with bananas and French toast. Of the three being offered, it was the tastiest to me.

The small skillet was really cute for the s’mores, but its heat did little to melt the milk chocolate chips on the bottom. Mixed with Nutella and topped with toasted marshmallows, I assure you it’s as sweet as it sounds. The graham crackers were closer to a hard shortbread, so all together the dish really didn’t remind me of s’mores at all.

You certainly need a cup of milk after having a bite of the homemade Oreo: a crunchy chocolate cookie filled with the sweet cream that’s synonymous with the famed cookie.

Although the desserts weren’t for me, all the savoury dishes from Lisa Marie’s Summerlicious dishes were absolutely delicious. Everything was full of flavour and certainly stick-to-your-ribs - you’re not leaving hungry… the King would approve.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Is Summerlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Summerlicious - $28
Regular menu - $37 - Alabama tailgaters ($11), fried chicken ($19) and dessert ($7)
Savings - $9 or 24%
How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 638 Queen Street West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!

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