CLOSED: Uncle Mikey's (Toronto)

If you arrive at Uncle Mikey’s between 5-7pm, get ready for an affordable meal. Not surprisingly, their happy menu offers drink specials ranging from $6-$8, the soju negroni ($8) strong enough that you’ll feel buzzed after a few. The soju works great in the drink, giving it a smoother finish with the same kick.

There’s also a selection of small plates. The kimchi jeon ($5), an onion and cabbage pancake, is made with glutinous rice flour and spread thinly so the centre is chewy while the outer edges turn crispy. No kimchi is in the batter, rather the vinegary and spicy flavours come from a dipping sauce so even a non-spicy food eater can enjoy the plate.  The chicken wings ($5) were also hot from the fryer and quickly tossed in a lightly sweetened sauce. Pieces of pickled choyote (a neutral vegetable) helps cut through the greasiness of both dishes.

From their regular menu, the kimchi rice bowl ($9.50) is a nod to bibimbap, but not nearly as good since it doesn’t arrive in a hot stone bowl. Yet, it still has all the tastes and textures of bibimbap, including thinly sliced sesame oil laced cucumber, nori slivers, scallions, and crispy onions. Interestingly, Uncle Mikey uses stewed kimchi, which is mellower and heartier than the raw version. For an extra richness, we added an onsen egg ($2.50) where the yolk is creamy and cooked through.

Oh boy was the oxtail gnocchi ($15) good … crispy deep-fried nuggets slathered into a thick shredded oxtail ragu. Even though they were burning hot, I couldn’t eat these cheesy nuggets fast enough - in a flash, the delicious gnocchi were done! The meaty pulled ragu was also tasty and is a versatile sauce that could go on almost anything.

Uncle Mikey’s has a “hipster” vibe. If you’ve watched Shameless, their depiction of hipster places is extreme, but I’ve encountered my share of bad service from “too cool” attitudes and annoying clientele; so, while this draws some people to a restaurant, it’s a feature I have reservations about. Luckily, our waitress Emma put me at ease, her welcoming attitude brought a light-hearted feel to the dinner – almost like we were stepping into cool Uncle Mikey’s home.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1597 Dundas 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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