Showing posts with label fritto misto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fritto misto. Show all posts

Jokers Theatre & Comedy Club (Richmond Hill)


A new Richmond Hill destination, Jokers Theatre and Comedy Club, provides a slew of entertainment options: comedy shows (we’re advised it is the only place for comedy in Richmond Hill), magic shows, and live band karaoke.

With its infancy comes growing pains, which stemmed from a malfunctioning printer, so the kitchen and bar weren’t aware they were receiving orders. Ultimately, this resulted in a 20-minute wait for drinks and over an hour wait for food, during a July visit.

At first, we didn’t mind waiting for food as their martinis ($15 each) were so satisfying. The French martini was dangerously smooth thanks to the sweet Chambord and pineapple juice mixed with the vodka, a lovely summery drink. The Lychee Loves Lips martini was a bit stronger with the addition of lychee liqueur to the vodka. Although, I was a little disappointed to a lemon slice garnishing the drink instead of lychee. Even a canned lychee would really add to the experience.

As much as we loved the drinks, after waiting 45 minutes, we finally asked someone to check on the food. It was then they discovered the kitchen hadn’t received our order and quick fired a complimentary bruschetta (not offered on their regular menu) to keep us satisfied while our meal was being prepared. We were thankful to have something to tie us over.    

I imagine they were rushing to send out food as the frito misto ($19) needed better draining to remove the excess oil and create a crispier flour coating. At least they were well seasoned, and the first bites super crispy and wonderfully hot. Being a frito misto, or a mixture of fried seafood, ideally the appetizer should contain more than a few shrimps. Alternatively, Jokers should consider dropping the scant crustacean and relabel this as fried calamari instead.

With two simple tweaks, the burger ($19) could shine as it was tasty and incorporated fresh ingredients. Firstly, cook the beef to medium so the thick patty isn’t so hard. Otherwise, if pink beef is not in the cards, chefs should form looser patties (so they are less dense) or switch it up and use two thinner patties instead. Secondly, nix the romaine (or at least the rib portion of the lettuce leaf) as the hard and uneven surface area causes the patty to slip and soft brioche bun to break. There’s a reason why ice burg is so widely used. At least the fries were hot and crispy.

My friend noted her steak was cooked to the requested medium rare but had a burnt taste. We figure it stems from two causes: either the pan/grill wasn’t properly cleaned between uses (in this case, make sure they are cleaned) or the black pepper sauce covering the steak was burnt. If it’s the later reason, to ensure the steak doesn’t cool off or overcook, present the steak at the table first and let the customer know the sauce is being prepared again and will be brought separately. I would much rather wait for the sauce than have burnt tasting steak.

Hopefully, as the restaurant matures, they will develop stronger front-of-the-house management or staff will become more cognizant of operations and communicate better. Indeed, businesses are reliant on technology, which causes havoc when there are issues, but seasoned personnel can mitigate or reduce the aftereffects.

For example, I’m surprised it took us checking on our food for Jokers to figure out the kitchen wasn’t getting orders. When they are approaching a busy dinner period and food isn’t being ordered or coming out of the kitchen, shouldn’t someone notice – either the kitchen, our server, or management?

With the drinks, even after technology issues were resolved, we noticed my friend’s second martini sitting at the bar for ~10 minutes before it was finally brought over. Our server was helping serve the Le Petit Chef dinner, but there were other people milling around the bar. Given Jokers operates two venues in one, management needs to be on the lookout for ready-to-serve drinks and food and/or servers need to communicate and ask others to cover when they are serving during Le Petit Chef periods.

It's a shame we didn’t have a better experience as I’m really rooting for Jokers to do well – everyone is so friendly and hospitable that I’d love to go more often. I love that there’s ample free parking and both comedy nights we attended left us in stiches. Plus, I’m a huge fan of magic shows and have been known to belt out songs, so I feel like there’s so much more of Jokers to experience. The only dilemma… to eat dinner or not?  

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10
Disclaimer: The comedy show was complimentary, although we paid for the meal. Rest assured, as noted in the mission statement, I will always provide my honest opinion. 

How To Find Them
 Location: Richmond Hill, Canada
 Address: 115 York Boulevard

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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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CLOSED: Piazzetta Trattoria (Toronto) for delivery

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

During a cold evening, my husband and I love dining at Piazzetta Trattoria. The heat from their wood-burning pizza oven is like a welcoming hug as you enter the door, as the smells of bread, melting cheese, and marinara mingles in the air. It’s such a comforting environment … the staff’s friendly greeting and you’re seated with a basket of warm bread in front of you in no time.

Piazzetta’s pizza boxes are emblazoned with a picture of that front door, but as I lift the cover, I’m waiting for the blast of intoxicating heat like entering the front door, sadly it isn’t there. It’s an experience that’s difficult to replicate with delivery.

We are delighted by the containers of jalapeno and habanero hot sauces that arrive with the pizzas. These tarte and slightly spicy sauces, the consistency of chutney, is the reason we order pizza from Piazzetta. So much so, that we even added jar of the jalapeno sauce ($8.99) for home use – these are great on tacos/quesadillas as well.  

The pizza’s crust seems even thinner than what you’d find dining in, to the point it becomes too crispy, losing that slight chewiness, and morphs into a flatbread. Yet, they still load on the toppings: the pizza Bolognese ($19) covered with plenty of ground beef and mozzarella, both not overly salty so that it doesn’t overwhelm the thin crust.

An interesting dilemma arises with whether there’s enough tomato sauce on a pizza that’s considered Bolognese. I felt there wasn’t enough, the pizza tasting more like a burger than a lovely ragu. Yet, I appreciated that the crust wasn’t soggy… perhaps a few dollops of sauce over the beef, after the pizza is cooked, could create something that’s the best of both worlds?

The cheese that was strongest in the quattro formaggi ($19) was the gorgonzola, although you could tell there was plenty of mozzarella and fior di latte included as well, given the cheese formed a layer that was equally as thick as the crust. Consider pre-heating the oven when the delivery is on its way, as this pizza really benefits from a quick broil to melt the cheese and toast the parmigiano so you’ll get a lovely cheesy aroma.

The burrata ($18 for one person) is always a great add-on. Despite the menu noting the smaller serving is for one, the tennis ball sized sphere of cheese easily feeds two as an appetizer and arrives simply on thick tomato slices topped with plenty of basil and olive oil.

Really any of their appetizers can easily satisfy 2-3 people or work as a main for one person. The fritto misto ($18 for one person) is an array of deep-fried calamari rings, chunks of white fish, headless sardines, and shrimp. Being lightly coated in flour the starter isn’t overly heavy, but given the coating is light it could use a sprinkling of salt after being fried to allow it to be eaten solo without the marinara dipping sauce.  

While Piazzetta’s insalata di Cesare ($12) looks like it’s hardly dressed, you can certainly taste the savoury Caesar dressing that has a nice balance of acidity. Incidentally, that freshness was a perfect complement for the fritto misto, toning down the fried affair.

Two popular mains that I see ordered all the time at Piazzetta is their lasagna al forno ($20) and the pollo alla limone ($25). At the restaurant, the lasagna is baked in the pizza oven and brought bubbling to the table in the cooking dish. Of course, this isn’t possible with delivery and could be why the dish tastes less creamy as the tomato sauce doesn’t continue to cook down and combine with the cheese. It doesn’t mean the lasagna’s not delicious – the pasta is nice and silky; the tomato sauce laced with fine ground beef is uber fresh and the dish incorporates enough cheese to satisfy – it just doesn’t seem as decadent.

I was a little worried the lemon chicken (or pollo alla limone) would be too citrusy, but my fears were abated. The combination of white wine, olive oil, and lemon was well composed, and the chicken breast incorporated a bit of flour to allow the runny sauce to stick on without saturating the meat. After the heavier starters, this gentler main with sauteed vegetables and creamy roasted potatoes was the perfect progression.

Having had dinner delivered on two occasions, the heartier mains like pasta and chicken definitely travelled better than the thinner pizzas. The tin foil containers really help retain the heat and are also great for storing leftovers and reheating in the oven. And trust me, with Piazzetta’s portions you’ll have something available the next day, the perfect excuse to not cook again, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of cooking. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3441 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
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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!

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