Showing posts with label onion rings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label onion rings. Show all posts

Prime on Avenue (Toronto)


Kosher steakhouses are rare in Toronto. So, when the legendary Barberian opened Prime of Avenue, a Cor certified kosher eatery, along the suburb stretch of uptown Toronto, it’s large gleaming black sign and swanky interior certainly caught my attention. Just be mindful of their operating hours: in keeping with Shabbat customs, Prime is closed on Friday and Saturday, days that are generally busy days for other restaurants.

Their page of appetizers enticed; indeed, diners can easily mix-and-match these smaller plates to make a full meal. The pulled brisket tacos ($26) are ideal if you’re in the mood for beef but in smaller portions. Two flour shells were stuffed with chunks of flavourful and tender brisket, pico de gallo, guacamole and pickled onions. Pieces of smoked potato chips, placed on a top, were an excellent addition enhancing the otherwise soft savoury tacos with some crunch.


Although the eggplant ($20) sounded like a lighter dish, the roasted eggplant was roasted with so much oil that it became so crispy you’d swear it’s deep fried. Regardless, if you don’t mind the oiliness, the starter has fantastic flavours: the creamy eggplant layered with nutty tahini, crunchy pine nuts, and sweet pomegranate. These were all roasted together so the tahini was warm and the flavours melted into the eggplant.


With such a strong start to the meal, the execution of our main, a cote de boeuf ($85), was a letdown. At first glance, the huge 22oz bone-in rib steak looked impressive, with beautiful sear marks and a nicely caramelized surface. It was also a wise decision to share the main, as the actual bone was not overly thick so we were left with a substantial portion of beef. However, upon cutting through the “medium rare” steak, it’d be better classified as a poorly done blue. While the outer ring was seared and cooked through, the centre was very rare, to the point that it was difficult to cut through and I could smell and taste the rareness. Note to Prime: the metallic taste of half-cooked beef is awful and the slightly off smell is even worse.


Rarely do I return dishes to the kitchen, but in this instance it was inedible. Steak is only good when it’s prepared correctly, so I politely asked for it to be re-fired. In about 10 minutes it was returned and nicely re-plated. At that point, it was an actual medium rare steak. Sadly, even with it cooked correctly, it wasn’t great. The steak was barely seasoned and lacked flavour. Perhaps it’s because Prime provides sauce on the side and I should have told them I wouldn’t actually be using any of it. My personal preference is to keep it simple with a nice piece of meat – salt and pepper is all you need to avoid covering up the meat’s natural flavours. It was especially disappointing since Barberian is known for their great rub. Surely, this can be shared with Prime?   

Moreover, the 28 days aged Black Angus tasted pretty young - if that's the proper way to describe aged meats – and didn’t have that depth of flavour you’d expect from the cut. While it was still good, it was nowhere close to the Barberian fame; if I closed my eyes, I’d swear I’d be eating at the Keg.

Steaks do arrive with a small portion of bone marrow, which also needed more seasoning but was thankfully cooked through. It went nicely smeared on a piece of toasted baguette that comes with their complimentary bread and pickle starter, such a staple at traditional steakhouses. In an effort to reduce food waste, Prime should consider decreasing the portion size of the platter and simply ask diners if they’d like a re-fill if it’s been picked clean.


The sides ($10 each) were good, especially the onion rings, which were nice and chunky with a lovely crispy coating. The sautéed green beans, spinach, and swiss chard with scallions puree was a great combination and cooked nicely so the vegetables retained their freshness. Our table had mixed thoughts on the French fries. Generally, they’d be better if the potatoes were cut thinner and then double fried (as they weren’t overly crispy and tasted almost baked).


While Prime on Avenue doesn't tout itself as a steakhouse, its connection to Barberian can’t stop me from judging it as one. It makes the average cote de boeuf seem worse, which is such a shame as everything else was actually very tasty. Nonetheless, the restaurant is a welcomed addition to Avenue and I’ll likely return to try their burger, salmon, or perhaps a collection of appetizers. But, the steak, no thanks.  

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1960 Avenue Road

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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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Drums N Flats (Toronto)


It’s not until you visit Drums N Flats that you appreciate how their name is impeccably chosen: the restaurant’s theme focuses on music (during weekends they even feature live bands) and is known for their chicken wings. The concept of drums and flats can apply to both items.

Almost every table orders their chicken wings and it’s the first establishment I’ve visited that provides a choice of drums, flats, or a mixture. Aside from a host of seasoning options, if you like things really flavourful, for an extra $1 the wings are double dipped – tossed in sauce, BBQed again to finish off the cooking, and then tossed in another sauce to provide multiple flavour layers.

Having had the wings delivered and at the restaurant they are definitely better in person. For a single flavour the hot & honey ($14.99 for 1 pound) is a favourite, while for double dipped I enjoy the Honey Boo Boo combination ($15.99 for 1 pound), which starts with the honey garlic and then finishes with a mango jerk.


While I wouldn’t say these are the best chicken wings I’ve had in Toronto (I prefer larger ones), they do have a nice crispy exterior, the inside is relatively juicy, and the sauce is just enough without becoming too sticky. Plus, the buttermilk dill dressing is really tasty and for an additional $1 the tossed house side salad is great for balancing off the wing’s greasiness.


For a more sinful side, get the beefsteak onion rings ($8.99). They are a nice thick cut so you don’t feel like you’re just eating batter, and the coating is thick enough for crunch but not overpowering. Plus, they are tasty enough by itself that you don’t need any of the jerk mayonnaise.


If wings aren’t your thing, their burgers are pretty good. The kid rock ($12.99) tastes like a Big Mac (is it their secret special sauce?) crossed with a Whopper due to the lettuce, cheese, and pickles fixings. Personally, I’d order the Big Mick instead as the single patty is pretty thin so a double patty would hold up better against the soft bun.


During the summer their patio adjoining the bar is a great place to hang out. In the winter, it’s closed off with wood panelled walls to make the space resemble a retro basement … it’s cheeky and homey feeling, which matches Drums N Flats laid back vibe. It’s a bar that has a real neighbourhood feel: a place where people can chill, listen to music, and munch on tasty wings.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1980 Avenue Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Drums N Flats Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


CLOSED: The Burger Cellar (Toronto)


Tucking into a burger is much easier during the summer – there’s always the option to make them myself on the barbeque. With the mercury dropping, the smell of charred meat brings me back to the warmer months. So, when I need a burger pick-me-up, I head to Burger Cellar, a purveyor of high quality customizable burgers with a variety of toppings to choose from. Aside from the fixings, the restaurant also allows diners to select the:
  • Protein: Black Angus (prices below), turkey (additional $2), prime grade beef (additional $4), or organic bison (additional $6); and
  • Bun: the classic soft brioche, whole wheat, pretzel bun, or gluten free.
Their ultimate burger ($11.95) is a bit messy to eat, but the fresh garlicky kick from the bruschetta really makes the sandwich. Along with generous dollops of creamy goat cheese, a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction, roasted garlic aioli, plenty of salty crispy onions, and the traditional fixings (tomato, lettuce, pickle, and onion), it makes for a great burger. Even when the beef patty is cooked through, it still tastes juicy thanks, in part, to everything else.


Surprisingly, the duck dynasty ($11.95) isn’t as heavy as it sounds. While there’s a decent helping of barbeque duck confit on the beef patty, the coleslaw, crispy onions, and traditional garnishes helps keep it light. Don’t get me wrong, with melted cheddar, chipotle mayo, and duck confit, it is a richer burger but won’t leave you feeling sick.


While the toppings on the angry burger ($12.95) sound very spicy: jalapeño havarti, sherry peppercorn bacon, crispy jalapeños, and buffalo sauce laced mayonnaise, the heat isn’t overwhelming. If anything, the peppercorn crusted bacon is the most sting inducing. I love how the flavours work together and makes for a flavourful sandwich.


Sides are purchased separately and there are plenty of options. The tried and true fries ($4.95) appeared as long slices of skin-on skinny potatoes, but on both visits were lukewarm and bordering stale. Their sweet potato fries ($7.45) were much fresher, arriving crispy and hot with a side of chipotle mayo.


The Burger Cellar does make excellent beer-battered onion rings ($4.95), each a manageable size with enough coating for crunch but not overly heavy. Cut into thicker slices, it gave the onion rings a nice sweet flavour so the vegetable doesn’t get lost in the batter. 


During the winter, I like their French onion soup ($6.95). While it could be a touch hotter, the beef stock is flavourful thanks to the red wine and herbs and incorporates huge chunks of caramelized balsamic onions. Moreover, with the hefty portion of melted cheese on top, the soup hits the spot.  


For something lighter, their Caesar salad ($5.95) is always a good option. The dressing is a bit light on the garlic, but with some fresh cracked pepper it’s nonetheless a decent salad.


While the menu promotes the house-made flaky buttery crust used in the chocolate pecan pie ($6.95), what arrives has very little crust and is so flat that it can hardly be classified as flaky. Burger Cellar doesn’t skimp on the pecans; the nuts dominate the dessert so it’s more like eating sticky pecans doused in a caramel chocolate sauce than really a pie. I would have liked a better balance of pastry, but if you love nuts, this is the one for you.


Winter doesn’t need to be a barbeque-free season. Thanks to Burger Cellar, I can still get my juicy burger fix.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3391 Yonge Street
 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

The Burger Cellar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Fring's Revisited (Toronto)


My last visit to Fring’s was shortly after it opened. After hearing all the hype about the restaurant, I had to experience it in person, secretly hoping to get a glimpse of Drake. Since that first weeknight visit was so busy and loud, I readied myself for a night of drinking and music. Strangely, this return Friday visit was much quieter: we were seated at the bar (surrounding areas had some empty tables) and there was no live performance. Alas, there was still no Drake.

The menu has completely changed and now offers more items. Arriving as crispy golden spheres, the crab cakes ($24) were delicious with plenty of lump crab meat and not much other filler. The sweet seafood was the dominant taste with an herby tomatillo verde and cooling sour cream for contrast. It’s a great starter to share or something to nibble on even if you're there just for drinks.  


In fact, they have a few good options for sharing. The beef short rib tacos ($16) also arrive four to an order and incorporate a fair amount of juicy tender beef held in a crispy wonton shell. Unlike other tacos that tend to be messy, Fring’s was easier to devour as it relied less on sauces for flavouring and more on ingredients like creamy avocado, spicy mango pineapple salsa, sour cream, and a slice of red chili.


While the actual grilled skirt steak ($28) was merely decent – unfortunately, the meat was overdone and the flavours somewhat covered by the chimichurri and thick slices of red pepper - the accompanying Parmesan polenta “croutons” were delectable like a traditional crispy polenta but much creamier and cheesier. 


We had added a side of quinoa crusted onion rings ($10), thinking they’d go great with the steak. At first glance, they looked good – plenty of crispy crust and not overly oily. Then when you bite in and are met with the mealy tasteless crust, the perception changes. When I slathered enough chilli mint yogurt chutney on the onion ring it was a bit better, too bad there was so little of the condiment. Note to self: quinoa and onion rings do not mix.


Thankfully, the tried and true roasted Brussels sprouts ($12) didn’t disappoint. There was enough bacon to make it sinful while still keeping the dish predominantly vegetables, the pearl onions providing a bit of sweetness, and to cut through the typical sweet maple glaze was a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme.


One dish that just wouldn’t arrive was the grilled octopus ($26). Unlike my previous dinner experience at Fring’s, our waitress kept an eye on the dish, coming by to provide us with updates. In the meantime, she provided complimentary truffle fries ($20) and another order of crab cakes (likely from hearing our moans of deliciousness) to keep us placated. Upon receiving the fries, I realized why a side of spuds would cost $20. In lieu of truffle oil, the chefs dust on real black truffles instead. Along with the Parmesan cheese, it makes for flavourful fries!


In the end, we decided to replace the octopus with fried chicken and waffles ($26); plate after plate kept whizzing by so they seemed popular and looked tasty. Although the chicken were pieces of boneless chicken breast, they were still tender; the batter spiced enough for taste, but could still handle the sweet and spicy maple syrup glaze.


The Hong Kong egg waffle was cold and soft, not terrible but definitely doesn’t do the accompaniment justice. Note to restaurants: if you’re going to use the bubble waffle, these need to be made-to-order as it really doesn’t lend itself to sitting around.

As a nice gesture, due to the long wait for the octopus, Fring’s also gave us the replacement chicken and waffles on a complimentary basis. Needless to say, we left terribly full (the walk back to a car a welcomed exercise to help start digest the mass of food), since the one octopus dish was replaced with three heavier items.

Compared to the first dinner, service has improved – staff were more attentive and there were no delays at clearing dirty dishes. Of course, due to waiting around for the octopus, dinner wasn’t a shorter affair (the meal still lasted three hours), but on a weekend I don’t mind hanging out over another drink … with or without Drake.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 445 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Fring's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mahony's Po-boy Shop (New Orleans)

Location: New Orleans, USA
Address: 3454 Magazine Street
Website: http://mahonyspoboys.com/
Type of Meal: Lunch



After seeing Mahony's Po-boy Shop featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, it became a must-do during our visit to New Orleans. There are many po-boy institutions in the city but what sets Mahony’s apart is there inventive creations. Sure, you can eat the traditional fried oyster and shrimps variety but they also have alligator sausage, hamburger and French fries with roast beef gravy amongst others.

Between the four of us, we ordered two of the large po-boys (a little more than a foot long each) with sides to share. Their award winning creation, the peacemaker ($14.95 for a regular or $21.95 for a large) enticed us with the promise of fried oysters, bacon, real cheddar cheese slices, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. The bite sized oysters were lightly dusted with corn meal adding nice crunch. Surprisingly, the flavour that stood out the most for me was the cheddar and for some reason the bacon became lost with everything else. The peacemaker is a good sandwich but needed another sauce for my taste, luckily the hot sauce on the table helped satisfy that a bit.


Although it didn't win any accolades, the favourite for our table was the grilled jumbo shrimp ($14.95 for a regular or $21.95 for a large). Topped with juicy cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes and remoulade sauce it was such a great combination with the smoky char from the juicy shrimp, crunch from the tomatoes and the flavourful spicy sauce. The remoulade is essentially Louisiana’s take on tartar sauce except with a kick from the addition of cayenne pepper, paprika and/or hot sauce. This sandwich was not dressed, so doesn’t include the traditional lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayonnaise combination but had more than enough flavours and textures in it. Why isn’t this winning any prizes?


On the side, we ordered the small creole coleslaw ($1.95) dressed in a light mayo based sauce with a bit of seasoning. For me, it needed a bit more creole seasoning and the addition of this coleslaw (with more seasoning) on the peacemaker may have been an even better combination; alas, I ate the sandwich before I could try it.


Meanwhile, the small order of onion rings ($2.75) was gigantic compared to the coleslaw (says something about trying to eat “healthier”). Mahony must have used Vidalia onions as they were light and slightly sweet. Rather than thick rings, these were in a thin shredded form, lightly battered and topped with a liberal sprinkling of sea salt. I’m normally not a huge fan of onion rings but these were good. I could simply munch on them even as a snack.


Seeing Mahony’s was my one and only experience having a po-boy, I can’t comment on how it compares with the other popular shops. But, if Emeril Lagasse stands behind it, you know it can’t be that bad.

Overall mark - 7 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!

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