Showing posts with label bone in ribeye. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bone in ribeye. Show all posts

The Octagon (Thornhill)

Residents of Thornhill will be familiar with the octagonal building gracing the corner of Yonge and Clark. First starting as the Copper Kettle, the restaurant was renamed to The Octagon in 1974 and converted to a high-end steakhouse. I love their Victorian dining room draped in rich wood and jewel tones – something about the historical décor makes me feel like I’m in a steakhouse. If you want privacy, ask for a table situated in their small private enclaves that can seat six.

Although their Caesar salad ($17.95/person with minimum 2-person order) looked overly dressed, it tasted surprisingly light having a thinner consistency and enough citrus incorporated into the freshly made dressing. It’s a decadent treat, but hand whipped Caesar salad made table side is a staple for me when visiting steak houses.

The escargots ($14.95) were traditionally prepared, arriving hot in the individually held clay baking dish and swimming in brandy laced garlic butter.

Of course, each table also gets a brimming pickle and olive tray (thankfully, their pickles weren’t overly mushy and I loved the heat of the chili… especially after the meal to act as a palette cleanser) and basket of garlic bread.  

Unlike other fine dining steakhouses, the Octagon offers “lighter” mains where the proteins are a normal serving and arrives with vegetables (no starches). The 6oz. New York strip steak ($32.95) would have been a tad tiny on its own, but augmenting it with a piece of my husband’s massive bone-in rib steak ($65.95) was perfect – enough for me and not leaving him with meat sweats.

Prepared using a charcoal broiled method, the steaks have lovely grill marks and a light smoky aroma. The meat is juicy and oozes with metallic beef flavour … you know you’re in a place that specializes in steak.     

Unlike some of the newer high-end competitors, the Octagon’s regular-sized mains also come with sides – large meaty mushrooms and a choice of starch (baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, fries or rice). It’s a tad more “economical”, saving you enough to splurge for dessert.

Their coconut cream pie ($11.95) is the best I’ve had in the city: a silky coconut custard held in a pie crust lined with chocolate so its crispiness is retained. On top, plenty of neutral whipped cream and white chocolate shavings for sweetness. It’s not an overly heavy dessert but should still be shared.

Some things are institutions for a reason – overly ornate interiors, large portions of food and expertly prepared traditional menus. The Octagon has it all, long live the steakhouse.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Thornhill, Canada
 Address: 7529 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!

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Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

The Octagon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barberians Steakhouse (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 7 Elm Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

When a restaurant’s been in business for over 50 years, you know they’re doing something right. Started in 1959, Barberian’s is a steakhouse institution. Their dining room proudly displays Canadian history with a mixture of sculptures, paintings and artifacts; from  paintings by the Group of Seven, a copy of the Globe and Mail from 1867 and pre-Confederation currency from the Hudson’s Bay Company, there’s a lot to be seen if you’re a museum, art or history buff.  But, none of this matters to me, what draws me to Barberians is their meat – all 16 ounces of it to be exact.

Their menu is stocked with traditional classics - no there isn’t the wagyu beef you’ll find at Jacobs - just the timeless cuts of meats that were probably around 50 years ago. The lack of choice isn’t a concern for me, give me an aged black angus bone-in ribeye any day, it will always be my favourite.

First to arrive is a basket of hot garlic bread and pickled vegetables (a collection of carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, a cauliflower floret and a jalapeño for whoever is brave enough to try it). I’m glad they leave the dish of vegetables with you throughout the meal, they really helped to break through the heaviness of the steak when I just need a refreshing sharp crunch.

After seeing the table beside get their salads and the enormous portions, my husband and I split a Caesar ($10.25; half portion pictured below). Unlike Harbour 60, it’s not done table-side but encompasses all the elements of a good classic – thick super garlicky dressing, smothered with grated parmesan, cool fresh romaine leaves and crisp croutons. It did lack bacon bits, but I don’t mind this given I’ve never been a huge fan of bacon.

For my first visit I had to go with the house specialty… the rib steak (available in 16 or 24 oz portions). Opting for the smaller one ($49.75), it nevertheless was a hulking piece of beef. Barberians is known for their steak seasoning, a secret blend that has been used since its inception and can even be purchased to take home. I have no idea what’s in it, but it adds just enough flavour to the steak without becoming overly salty so that the natural meat juices still stood out. As with the typical rib eye, it was wonderfully tender from the marbling and cooked to the perfect medium rare doneness. In my opinion, it wasn’t as good as the one I’ve had at Harbour 60 but any difference is slight as both were a delight.

We were offered a choice of rice, baked potato or fries with the steak (note there’s a $7.75 supplement for mashed potatoes) so you could get away with ordering just a steak without paying extra for sides. Although the fries were good (I snuck some off the plate of a fellow diner), nothing goes better with steak than a loaded potato. The condiments arrive table side allowing patrons to customize as they please - I packed mine with sour cream, chives and feta cheese (an interesting option which adds a bit of briny richness to it).

Despite the fact that I had to give away a portion of my steak after starting to get meat sweats, I was actually craving something sweet to end the meal. So our table of four decided to share an order of hot apple beignets with vanilla ice cream ($10.25). As with all of Barberian’s portion sizes, the dessert was more than enough to satisfy all of us with the dish having two full sized beignets and two scoops of ice cream.  Inside each beignet was a large thick slice of apple, which reduced the batter ratio and helped to lighten the dessert. Covered with cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with finely chopped walnuts this is my type of dessert.

It’s a steakhouse where you can arrive clad in suit or sweat shirt and feel equally welcomed. During our Sunday visit, the place was packed but there was never a moment we felt unattended to. Although the steak at Barberian’s wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, there’s something about their atmosphere that is so enjoyable and embracing that it’s certainly the one I’ll return to. Here’s to hoping that it will continue to be around for many years to come. 

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!