Showing posts with label beef brisket. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef brisket. Show all posts

CLOSED: Adamson Barbeque (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Right off the bat I’ll pre-empt the emails by saying – yes, I have heard about all the anti-masking antics and how the owner ignored city regulations and allowed customers to continue to dine in their restaurant. Does this bother me? A little, as I do believe there are a group of vulnerable people living in our society that needs us to sacrifice our freedoms to protect them.

Does it mean I won’t ever eat at Adamson Barbeque again? No. This pandemic has been a trying time for many people, especially for small businesses that are employing others who are trying to survive. How people react to stress can differ – fight, flight, or freeze. Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue, responded with fight. And in any fight, there are oppositions. I, for one, am staying neutral in this battle. Perhaps for the simple fact that Adamson makes damn good barbeque. At a level I’ve yet to find readily available in my neighbourhood.

I challenge you to think otherwise once you’ve had one of their pork spareribs ($20/lb; 4 large-sized ribs). Why so many restaurants use baby back ribs is beyond me. Sure, the order may look impressive with a half rack or the full thing, but I’m one for quality over quantity. I’d much rather have four AMAZING juicy ribs than ten okay ones any day.

What makes this cut particularly suited for barbeque is that there’s a layer of fat that runs throughout the meat. Think of it as the marbling you find with rib eye. And that layer of fat keeps everything juicy while it’s being cooked so the ribs develop a lovely smoke ring while being tender. And it doesn’t fall off the bone, so that you can eat it off the bone. For me, that’s all part of the enjoyment of having ribs. A greasy rib followed by some of the crispy pickles and I’m a happy camper. We’re definitely getting two pounds of this next time.

Another characteristic of an Adamson product is the absence of powerful sauces. The ribs aren’t slathered in a sticky sauce; there is a bit of a glaze and an underlying garlicky rub, but it’s not in your face. Yet somehow, it’s just enough seasoning to make it work.

Even their pulled pork ($16/lb; enough for 3 really stuffed sandwiches) isn’t drenched in sauce. Instead, the portion is wrapped in butcher’s paper, so all the delicious juices are kept inside and when opened releases the most heavenly smell into the room. The pork arrives in large chunks enhanced with a light tangy vinegar so you can easily eat forkfuls plain.

Or you can wrap them in the delicious white bread that comes with the order. I swear there must be some dairy product used in the dough - I wish I could order it by the loaf. Top with some of the thinly sliced pickled onions and it’s fantastic.

We usually have a couple forkfuls of the pulled pork fresh on delivery day, then let it steep in its juices and intensify overnight to make delicious sandwiches the following day. The leftover pork reheats nicely in the pan with some barbeque sauce thrown in to keep it moist.

I’m still not sold that I actually enjoy beef brisket ($30/lb; ~7 slices), my husband informs me that I likely just don’t like first cut portion of the meat. It’s the cut that you think of when you picture brisket – uniform rectangular slices of beef. It also happens to be the leanest portion so that it’s flavourful but seems dry, especially after having a pork rib to start. Next time, we’re going to see if we can get slices from the point cut, which happens to have more marbling.

Nonetheless, brisket does make for good leftovers – our third dinner from this meaty weekend feast. Re-heating it with sauce for about four hours in the slow cooker really breaks up the remaining beef fibers.    

While we had every intention of getting the corn bread ($20 for 8 pieces) and freezing half to enjoy later. We somehow consumed the entire batch within five days – they make for a great snack or even dessert after a quick nuke in the microwave to get them soft again. Wow is Adamson’s corn bread good.

Out of all the media-fueled frenzy, Adamson Barbeque has been temporarily shutdown from doing takeout and has pivoted to catering instead. It’s a boon for barbeque fans across the GTA, we can now get fantastic barbeque (and more) delivered to our homes on weekends. And as for all the haters: keep calm and eat barbeque.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations

 Delivery: store delivery

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

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The Abbot Pub and Fare (Toronto)

Having recently moved, the change in location means a new local watering hole and a whole slew of fresh establishments to dine at. In the area, there’s a fair number of casual eateries and regardless of the evening, pubs such as The Abbot are filled. Rain, snow, cold weather … nothing will stop North Yorkers from getting a cold glass of ale (or in my case, wine).

As the calamari ($12) was presented, the tell-tale perfect rings signified frozen seafood. Get ready for the shriveled insides and coating that falls off, I thought to myself. Surprisingly, my worries didn’t materialize and the appetizer was decent – the calamari relatively plump and the light crispy coating adhered just fine on the seafood.

It doesn’t seem fair to write about a pub without trying a couple of their staples: fish and chips or a burger. Sadly, the staples are also what the Abbot seems to rest on their laurels with.

I’m told the thick oily batter on their fish and chips ($15) is a typical English style. For me, it’s too heavy and despite the pieces of fish actually being quite thick, still remained buried in coating; especially the ends that were so mummified I had to peel them off. Perhaps if the batter actually incorporated enough of the “Abbot Ale” or there was some other flavour incorporated into the coating it’d be better. Unfortunately, each piece of fish simply tasted like oil … the only respite was once I doused it with a liberal splashing of malt vinegar or added the respectable coleslaw to the mix.

The beef burger ($14 with an extra $2 for cheddar and caramelized onions) looked impressive with a thick patty, colourful garnishes and a fluffy buttered bun. Looks can be deceiving as upon biting through the bun everything was just… so … plain. Aside from the liberal squirt of ketchup, I really couldn’t taste much else. Despite being warned that their burgers are cooked to medium (the proper way any real burger should be prepared, in my mind), the actual patty arrived completely cooked through.  

Maybe it was an off evening and the cooks simply forgot to dip into the spices. Somehow, both dishes were so bland – even the tartar sauce could only add so much interest to the fish and chips. I know what you’re thinking, there’s salt on the table, just sprinkle it on. Sure, this helps a bit but I’m a firm believer that what makes a dish good is the layering of flavours (i.e. having spices incorporated into the beef patty and sauce on the burger bun) so that everything works together. Moreover, making a dish taste good relies more than just salt … that’s just table stakes.

Another visit yielded tastier meals. The chicken and waffle ($20), a special for the evening, had an amazing side: the bacon and Brussels sprouts hash was bang on in terms of flavours as the slivers of vegetable and soft bacon melded together into a wonderful accompaniment. I could have easily had a large plate of the hash as a meal.

Although showing promise, the chicken and waffles just wasn’t executed very well. The coating on the chicken was nicely seasoned (the saltiness pairing nicely with the maple bourbon glaze) and the meat was juicy, yet the breading fell off as soon as the knife pierced through. Chicken meat with hard crispy shards of coating anyone? The buttermilk waffle was made with a delicious batter, but so dense it could have been pancakes; the soft cake-like texture good on its own, but much too heavy for fried chicken.

The sole dish I’d order again is the beef brisket ($22). Each thick slice of meat so tender and flavourful, having been braised in beer. It’s a real "stick to your ribs" comfort dish paired with buttery scallion mashed potatoes. Mmm… meat and potatoes, perhaps this is what pub fare is all about.

The Abbot does offer a great rendition of sticky toffee pudding ($8), served hot in a ramekin that keeps all the buttery syrup soaked into the soft cakey cinnamon bread. Yet, the syrup isn’t overpowering – just sweet enough to bring justice to the dessert, but balanced out by the neutral whipped cream on top that adds a creaminess to everything.

What I’ve learnt from attending the local restaurant: forget about the fried dishes, go for the meat and potatoes. And by all means, save room for dessert!

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3367 Yonge Street

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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!

Is That It? I Want More!

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The Abbot Pub & Fare Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Carbon Bar Revisited (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 99 Queen Street East
Type of Meal: Dinner

Earlier in the year, I dined at Carbon Bar when it first opened (for a description of the restaurant and to read about my experience go here). Recently, I heard on weekends they hire a DJ and the restaurant transforms into a lounge afterwards. During the winter, anywhere that minimizes outdoor travel times is welcomed, so a return visit was in order.

But, before the drinking festivities began, eating a substantial dinner seemed to be the responsible choice. Since the beef brisket ($22) was the highlight of my last meal it had to be ordered. Again, it was smoky, flavourful and tender – everything you’d want brisket to be. This time the dish was larger (albeit the price has also risen by $3) and contained various cuts of brisket ranging from marbled to lean.

The first fatty marbled slices were heaven, the meat was so soft and tender that it melted on the tongue. I didn’t even need the sweet molasses BBQ sauce as the brisket’s natural juices were so delicious. If you’ll be trying more than one slice, I suggest having the lean one first as after enjoying the marbled delight everything else pales in comparison.

More meat was in order, this time the dry-aged hanger steak ($27). Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the steak was very tender for this tougher cut of beef. Simply seasoned, the natural flavours of the beef shone through. An ample portion of hollandaise was included on the side if diners needed something saucy. The sauce itself was decent, but with so many rich ingredients donning the plate, I personally would have preferred something lighter (such as chimichurri).

Unlike the other dishes, the hanger steak had sides included. A pile of starchy smashed and fried potatoes that was tossed with some tart kimchi. Topping the mound was a fried egg whose runny yolk covered the potatoes in a gooey sauce. And a few soshito peppers as well. This was certainly a varied dish – with different cultural influences and a combination that makes it satisfying for brunch or dinner.

Not reading the menu properly, we also ordered a side of soshito peppers ($8). But, I enjoyed these non-spicy peppers so happily munched on more of them. The fire roasted eggplant dip which accompanied the bar snack was rather mild and forgettable, perhaps a dash of cayenne pepper or garlic would be a nice addition.

The TCB slaw ($4) is a side worth getting. It’s everything I enjoy about coleslaw – crunchy vegetables and a predominantly vinegar based sauce with a touch of creaminess. At Carbon Bar they also sprinkled crushed corn nuts on top which adds even more crunch to everything.

Lastly, was the side of collard greens ($5), this time simply dressed with a dollop of butter rather than stewed in a tomato sauce. There was still enough flavour to it and the leafy greens retaining some of its freshness. Another great side to pair with hunks of meat.

Perhaps it was the holiday season, but the restaurant really didn’t pick up after dinner. We moved over to the lounge area but the promised DJ and beats never happened. Nonetheless, some cocktails were sampled. The most impressive was the black mamba margarita ($16) which was set a blaze at the table. It’s a strong drink, not exactly my taste, made with charcoal infused tequila, Bowmore scotch, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lime and a sea salt rim.

The volstead ($13) suited me better with a gin base, Amaro nino herbal liqueur, agave syrup, cucumber juice, lime and orange bitters. It was very refreshing and helped to alleviate the full feeling I had after all the meat.

A cocktail that’s perfect for the holidays is the borealis sour ($14). Despite the name, there’s nothing sour about it … if anything it’s sweet from the maple whiskey. Mixed with rye, banana liqueur and topped with a foamy egg white sprinkled with spices it’s a nice alternative to dessert.

Alas, I wasn’t able to work the calories off with music and dancing. But, the visit to Carbon Bar allowed me to have some great conversations and catch up with friends. And really, that is what the holidays is all about. Additionally, I feel the restaurant has improved since my first visit – for example, offering various cuts of brisket on one plate. So, it’s been awarded another 0.5 to round off their score to an eight.

Overall mark - 8 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!